World champion Julian Alaphilippe won an intense uphill sprint finish to take the second stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico in Italy on Thursday, his third win in the ‘Race of the Two Seas’. Dutch rider Mathieu van der Poel crossed second ahead of Belgian Wout Van Aert, who retains the overall lead, after the 202km run from Camaiore to Chiusdino in Tuscany. Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar was fourth with the same time.
“This first victory of the season is a relief for me,” said Frenchman Alaphilippe, who also won two stages in 2019.
Teammate Joao Almeida led the way in a group including English defending champion Simon Yates of the BikeExchange team before being reeled in towards the end of the long uphill climb.
“I was in a perfect situation with Almeida at the front,” continued Alaphilippe.
“Kasper Asgreen and Zdenek Stybar helped me position myself.
“I didn’t know what was going on behind me, but when I saw Joao ahead of me, I knew I would win.
“I could just focus on keeping my position. I went full gas when my time came.
“When Geraint Thomas made his move, I understood my time had come to make my move too, even though there was a headwind.
“It’s been a finale full of suspense, very intense. During the race, the rhythm was always very high.”
Alaphilippe has won two other races in Italy, the Milan-San Remo in 2019 and the road race world championships last year in Imola.
Jumbo-Visma rider Van Aert retains the race lead with a four-second advantage on Alaphilippe with Van der Poel third at eight seconds.
“It’s not a win, but a good result,” said Van Aert, who had won the opening stage.
“The third place is the maximum I could get today. When Julian accelerated I was already at my limit. He was the strongest today.
“We didn’t close it quickly but we kept the breakaway a short distance ahead of us. Joao Almeida survived for so long and it was a hard sprint.”
Friday’s third stage covers 219km from Monticiano in Tuscany with a climb to Poggio della Croce, followed by a flat run and a slight uphill finish to the line in the ancient Umbrian town of Gualdo Tadino.
STAGE 2 RESULTS
|1||ALAPHILIPPE Julian||Deceuninck – Quick Step||5:01:32|
|2||VAN DER POEL Mathieu||Alpecin-Fenix||0:00|
|3||VAN AERT Wout||Team Jumbo-Visma||0:00|
|4||POGAČAR Tadej||UAE-Team Emirates||0:00|
|5||ARANBURU Alex||Astana – Premier Tech||0:00|
|6||STANNARD Robert||Team BikeExchange||0:00|
|7||ALMEIDA João||Deceuninck – Quick Step||0:00|
|8||VAN AVERMAET Greg||AG2R Citroën Team||0:00|
|9||WELLENS Tim||Lotto Soudal||0:00|
|10||CICCONE Giulio||Trek – Segafredo||0:00|
|1||VAN AERT Wout||Team Jumbo-Visma||8:37:35|
|2||ALAPHILIPPE Julian||Deceuninck – Quick Step||0:04|
|3||VAN DER POEL Mathieu||Alpecin-Fenix||0:08|
|4||SIVAKOV Pavel||INEOS Grenadiers||0:11|
|5||LANDA Mikel||Bahrain – Victorious||0:13|
|6||VENDRAME Andrea||AG2R Citroën Team||0:14|
|7||STANNARD Robert||Team BikeExchange||0:14|
|8||ALMEIDA João||Deceuninck – Quick Step||0:14|
|9||POGAČAR Tadej||UAE-Team Emirates||0:14|
|10||ARANBURU Alex||Astana – Premier Tech||0:14|
RBA/AFP Photos: Bettini