Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) took the final day time trial but was not able to take the overall title as Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) held on and took fourth on the final stage, only beaten by Van Aert, Küng (Groupama-FDJ) and Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers).
Küng held the lead for the vast majority of the day before the penultimate rider, Van Aert, crossed the line six seconds faster over the 10.1km course, taking his second win of the race.
Pogačar sealed the overall victory, best young rider’s jersey, and the mountains jersey with the Slovenian beating Van Aert by 1-03 in the final general classification.
How it happened
The final stage of Tirreno-Adriatico 2021 would once again be the now regularly featured 10.1km individual time trial around the coastal town of San Benedetto del Tronto, with Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) leading Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) by 1-15 on GC going into the final stage.
The pan-flat course on the Adriatic coast would no doubt see some fast times set with a host of accomplished time triallists among the field.
Michael Hepburn (Team BikeExchange) held the lead time for a while early on with a time of 11-33 (52.4kmh). But it was Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-Nippo) who came through eight seconds faster than Hepburn with an 11-24 (53.1kmh).
But Bettiol didn’t last long at the top as the European champion, Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) took the lead with an excellent time of 11-12 (54.1kmh).
While Küng’s time looked impressive, he still had to hope it would hold against the stage favourite and time trial world champion Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers). Küng continued to lead at the intermediate split as Ganna came through five seconds down.
Even with the Italian averaging around 550 watts after the split, he was not able to beat Küng as his time held by five seconds on the line.
Benjamin Thomas, Küng’s team-mate also pushed Ganna close, beating him at the split, but faded to 10 seconds behind Küng and five on Ganna.
British hopeful, Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) wasn’t able to emulate his fourth place in the 2020 Tirreno, slotting into eighth behind Küng.
João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) was level on time with Ganna at the intermediate split, the Portuguese rider fully invested in the ride. He came into the finish with a very strong fifth place just 18 seconds behind Kung, meaning he moved up one place on GC ahead of Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal).
Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) finished way down on the day losing over 50 seconds to Küng’s time, but Wout van Aert was looking to potentially challenge the Swiss rider after going 0.2 seconds faster than him at the split.
Van Aert did just that, beating Küng by six seconds and Ganna by 11 seconds. Overall leader Tadej Pogačar also continued to show his time trial prowess, finishing just a second off of the time of Ganna and 12 behind Van Aert, safely defending his blue jersey to take his first victory at Tirreno-Adriatico.
Pogačar took victory by 1-03 over Van Aert in second and a 3-57 gap back to third place, Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious).
Tirreno-Adriatico 2021, stage seven: San Benedetto del Tronto (10.1km, ITT)
1. Wout van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma, in 11-06
2. Stefan Küng (Sui) Groupama-FDJ, at 6 seconds
3. Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers, at 11s
4. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, at 12s
5. Benjamin Thomas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 16s
6. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education-Nippo, at 18s
7. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, at 24s
8. Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, at 26s
9. Michael Hepburn (Aus) Team BikeExchange, at 27s
10. Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Groupama-FDJ, at 28s
Final general classification
1. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, in 26-36-17
2. Wout van Aert (Bel) Team Junbo-Visma, at 1-03
3. Mikel Landa (Esp) Bahrain Victorious, at 3-57
4. Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos Grenadiers, at 4-13
5. Matteo Fabbro (Ita) Bora-Hangrohe, at 4-37
6. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, at 4-54
7. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto-Soudal, at 5-00
8. Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSM, at 5-50
9. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, at 6-30
10. Simon Yates (GBr) Team BikeExchange, at 7-45