Warren Barguil (Arkéa Samsic) produced an exceptional performance on the 155km stage to Fermo at Tirreno-Adriatico to win his first race of 2022.
The Frenchman attacked with 3km in the race left to go on a 750m climb at 21% gradient, leading the other riders trailing in his wake. A climbing specialist, Barguil displayed his true ability by holding onto the race lead as he grimaced through the pain and reached the finish line.
Xandro Meurisse (Alpecin-Fenix) and Simone Velasco (Astana-Qazaqstan) both performed commendably too, rounding off the podium in Fermo, while Tadej Pogačar now leads Remco Evenepoel in the GC by nine seconds despite taking a wrong turn in the race.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Stage five of Tirreno-Adriatico presented this year's Tappa dei Muri (Stage of the Walls), an intense 155km route with plenty of hills to test the rider's mettle, and an especially enticing double ascent to Fermo to finish.
Before the beginning of the race though, Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) pulled out with stomach problems, adding to the growing list of riders suffering with illness across Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Nice.
The opening 50km of the race featured a frenetic pace, with plenty of attacks and counter-attacks in the peloton to keep the group bunched together. Multiple riders kept attempting to create a breakaway group though, and they finally managed to make it stick after 60km.
At this point, the race settled down, with the multiple breakaway groups coming together to form a 12-man escape across the 20km flat section mid-way through the race. Their lead eventually stretched to nearly four minutes as they hit the steep climb to Monte Urano, with Francesco Gavazzi (Eolo-Kometa) accelerating to the summit for the KOM points.
The peloton gradually managed to bring that deficit down across the preceding 20km, with the pace quickening as they headed into the final 30km of the stage. This final part of the race gave the riders little chance to relax and take stock of the situation, with a undulating course ensuring they were either ascending or descending at all times.
The breakaway group of Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic), Benjamin Thomas (Cofidis), Nelson Oliveira (Movistar), Valentin Ferron (Total Energies), Jhonatan Restrepo (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli), Xandro Meurisse (Alpecin-Fenix) and Simone Velasco (Astana Qazaqstan), managed to drop a couple of riders, with Thomas leading the virtual GC as a result.
However, with 10km left in the race, the leaders lost time heading up the 2.2km climb on a 8.5% average gradient to Madona d'Ete as they failed to work together as a group, their lead dropping to 1-30. An attack by Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) also sped the pace of the peloton up, before Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates) took on the mantle to help out Tadej Pogačar.
While the breakaway reached Madona d'Ete, Remco Evenpoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) launched from nowhere, attacking from the peloton. Unsurprisingly, Pogačar followed to ensure he would hold onto the blue leader's jersey, but this wasn't without drama. Instead of turning right up a steep climb, Pogačar, Evenepoel and Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) managed to miss a corner and all but end their hopes of catching the leading riders.
At the same time, Warren Barguil (Arkéa Samsic) opened up a gap at the front of the race in an attack for the race win - on a 750m, 21% gradient climb, no less.
Barguil put the other riders to the sword upon reaching the summit of the most difficult climb, building up a gap of over 25 seconds, but the Frenchman still had another ascent to contend with, which he seemingly traversed with ease.
Dealing with the stone-paved streets of Fermo, Barguil reached the Piazza del Popolo first in an exceptional ride.
TIRRENO-ADRIATICO 2022, STAGE FIVE: SEFRO TO FERMO (155KM)
1. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkéa Samsic, in 3-39-53
2. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix, at 10 seconds
3. Simone Velasco (Ita) Astana-Qazaqstan, at 14s
4. Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar, at 15s
5. Richie Porte (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers, at 26s
6. Tadej Pogačar (Sloi) UAE Team Emirates, at 28s
7. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma, at same time
8. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar
9. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
10. Jai Hindley (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE FIVE
1.Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE-Team Emirates in 18-17-08
2. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 9 secs
3. Thymen Arensman (Ned) Team DSM, at 43 secs
4. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma, at 45 secs
5. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana-Qazaqstan, at 1 min
6. Richie Porte (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers
7. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 1-02
8. Jai Hindley (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 1-06
9. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar, at 1-11
10. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 1-14
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Ryan is a staff writer for Cycling Weekly, having joined the team in September 2021. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before making his way to cycling. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer.
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