Mads Würtz Schmidt took victory on stage six of Tirreno-Adriatico 2021, out-sprinting the rest of his breakaway partners after the break managed to hold off the peloton all the way to the line.
Würtz Schmidt (Israel Start-Up Nation) was the fastest and the strongest out of the five riders in the original break with Brent Van Moer (Lotto-Soudal) and Simone Velasco (Gazprom-RusVelo) filling the remaining podium slots at the finish.
The escape took a while to go at the start of the stage and the pace was high throughout, but the six-man break worked well together and managed to hold off the peloton by over a minute, with Würtz Schmidt able to triumph in the sprint.
Behind the peloton was led in by former Belgian champion, Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) ahead of Davide Ballerini (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) and Elia Viviani (Cofidis).
Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) holds onto the overall lead by 1-15 over Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) going into the final stage.
How it happened
Stage six of Tirreno-Adriatico 2021 started in the town of Castelraimondo before heading over a few lumps and bumps on the roads then finishing on the coast at Lido di Fermo where the race took on laps of the finishing circuit, finishing after 169km.
The break went away with Würtz Schmidt, Velasco, Jan Bakelants (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Emils Liepins (Trek-Segafredo), Van Moer and Nelson Oliveira (Movistar Team) and got a maximum gap of around seven minutes.
Back in the bunch the pace was high all day with Deceuninck – Quick-Step, UAE Team Emirates, Total Direct Energie, and Alpecin-Fenix all working hard for their leaders and sprinters which saw the time gap start to tick down.
With 50km to go, though, Eolo-Kometa came to the front to try and drag the break back after missing it, as the gap continued to drop.
21km to go saw a mechanical for Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious) with his whole team sitting up and waiting for the rider who is third overall.
Meanwhile, the break’s advantage was going up as the peloton seemed to give up the chase, with the gap rising to 2-46 with 20km to go. Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) went on the attack moments later to try and bridge to the riders at the head of the race.
UAE Team Emirates returned to the front with 15km to go along with Cofidis, Movistar and DSM, but the gap was still over two minutes to the break.
Oliveira started drilling the pace in the break with 9km to go as they hit the 2km climb on the final lap of the finishing circuit, dropping the Latvian sprinter, Liepins. Further back Küng was reeled in by the chasing peloton.
As Küng was caught, Natnael Tesfatsion (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) attacked along with Luxembourgish champion Kevin Geniets (Groupama-FDJ) with 8km to go with a 1-50 gap to close, but they were brought back with 2.5km to go.
The break made it to the line with Oliveira opening up the sprint early but it was Würtz Schmidt who came over the top holding off Van Moer and Velasco to take his first victory on the road that wasn’t a time trial.
Pogačar holds onto the overall lead by 1-15 over Van Aert going into the final stage time trial around San Benedetto del Tronto.
Tirreno-Adriatico 2021, stage six: Castelraimondo – Lido di Fermo (169km)
1. Mads Würtz Schmidt (Den) Israel Start-Up Nation, in 3-42-09
2. Brent Van Moer (Bel) Lotto-Soudal
3. Simone Velasco (Ita) Gazprom-RusVelo
4. Jan Bakelants (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
5. Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team, all at same time
6. Emils Liepins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo, at 25 seconds
7. Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix, at 1-09
8. Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
9. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis
10. Max Kanter (Ger) Team DSM, all at same time
General classification after stage six
1. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, in 26-24-59
2. Wout van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma, at 1-15
3. Mikel Landa (Esp) Bahrain Victorious, at 3-00
4. Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos Grenadiers, at 3-30
5. Matteo Fabbro (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 3-54
6. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto-Soudal, at 4-30
7. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, at 4-42
8. Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSM, at 5-03
9. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, at 5-54
10. Simon Yates (GBr) Team BikeExchange, at 6-58