Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 4 Preview

Friday, 8 March 2013

Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 4

Peter Sagan won stage 3 as predicted and just like the last time Sagan won in Tirreno, the following stage will end on Prati di Tivo. Last year Peter Sagan’s teammate Vincenzo Nibali soloed away on the final kilometers, but I seriously doubt Nibali will be able to repeat that victory this year.

As I mentioned in my overall preview for Tirreno-Adriatico, this is the strongest field in many years and compared to last year, most of the favorites have at least two or three strong riders to help on the climbs. Last year only Roman Kreuziger had a teammate in the final. That rider was Paolo Tiralongo who this year is helping Nibali, while Kreuziger himself is at Alberto Contador’s service. Confused? Let’s take a look at the favorites and their teams for the stage.

Team Saxo-Tinkoff
Leader: Alberto Contador
Support: Jesus Hernandez, Roman Kreuziger & Michael Rogers

Astana
Leader: Vincenzo Nibali
Support: Paolo Tiralongo, Janez Brajkovic & Fredrik Kessiakoff

Katusha
Leader: Joaquim ‘Purito’ Rodriguez
Support: Dani Moreno

Team Sky
Leader: Chris Froome
Support: Dario Cataldo, Rigoberto Uran & Sergio Henao

Cadel Evans is the only one of the five big favorites without a strong to help in the uphill sections and as you can see Team Sky are very strong. Last season they perfected how to ride the final climbs in stages races and we just saw how they took control in Paris-Nice. Prati di Tivo doesn’t have any steep, steep sections and that is just how Team Sky like it. Froome can put his team to work from the bottom of the climb and I doubt anybody will manage to get away until the last few kilometers. Astana too have a strong team but I think Brajkovic and Kessiakoff will drop before Uran and Henao.

Looking at the favorites, Purito is the only one set to top very soon; in the Ardennes Classics. Nibali is aiming at the Giro while Contador, Froome and Evans all are set for the Tour. Purito was in the leading group on Prati di Tivo last year, but since he wasn’t supposed to peak until the Giro, he lacked a bit in the end. This year it’s different. Purito started out Tirreno-Adriatico with this mind set on winning overall. He showed in Tour of Oman that he is in excellent shape already and knowing he has to take back the time he lost in TTT, he will be eager to get the 10 bonus seconds on the line. The bonus seconds are also the reason why I don’t think a break will make it. This race will probably be determined within a few seconds and naturally all the favorites want to win this stage. The way I see, Purito is the strongest of them right now. I’m sure Contador will put in a series of furious attacks but I doubt he will be able to drop Purito and Froome for good.

My outsider this time is Bauke Mollema. Blanco have a strong team in this race and Mollema can count on support from in-shape Tom-Jelte Slagter. In the final of stage 3, when Alberto Contador was in front of the peloton Bauke Mollema was right behind him and if the other favorites don’t manage to drop Mollema on Prati di Tivo, his fast finish could even give him the stage win.

Winnerpick: Joaquim ‘Purito’ Rodriguez
Joker: Bauke Mollema

For live coverage of the stage check out cyclingfans & steephills.

C-Cycling

Preview courtesy of C-Cycling. Remember you can follow Mikel Condé on Twitter as @mrconde

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{ 14 comments }

Samuel Gamester March 8, 2013 at 10:20 pm

Rodriguez and Froome will get a 30 second gap over Nibali, Evans and Contador, then Rodriguez will attack Froome in the final 500m and win by 5 sec. Contador will recover and finish 10 seconds down.
Or maybe not.

peloton.pl March 9, 2013 at 12:10 am

Isn’t Cadel Evans in quite comfortable position? He does not need to do any mind games. All required is to follow pace set by other leader’s gregarios. Of course it may not be enough for a win but to stay in contention yes.

The Inner Ring March 9, 2013 at 9:54 am

Yes, although he was a bit off the pace in the Strade Bianche. But he’s done well in this race several times.

DS March 9, 2013 at 5:42 am

You know what? I love Peter Sagan. I love his raw talent. I love his charisma. I love his humor.
This young man is a legend in the making. Unlike some of his rivals, (like today’s big star that was beaten), Peter Sagan seems to have a savvy and a swager that these men don’t have. It’s just great. For a long time now, we have been missing this raw talent combined with swager that make real hisotric figures. Now it is the time. Peter Sagan is writing history right now, lets enjoy it!

BTW, does Peter Sagan have definte nickname?? There seems to be a few going around. He needs just one!

Anonymous March 9, 2013 at 7:39 am

Peter The Great

The Inner Ring March 9, 2013 at 9:55 am

The Terminator is the one used on his bike.

Nobody has got the measure of him yet, neither his rivals nor the media who can’t speak Slovak to really understand the man.

Jay March 9, 2013 at 7:56 am

Green Thighed Monster

Andy March 9, 2013 at 9:04 am

I’m taking a chance on Joe Dombrowski today – 200-1 – and for good measure putting him in an each way double with Offredo at 80-1.

The Inner Ring March 9, 2013 at 9:53 am

Risky as be crashed the other day. He’s sore but ok, although rather than risk I think he’s certain to ride for Froome as a pace setter, a wagon in Sky’s mountain train.

Bundle March 9, 2013 at 9:17 am

Good analysis. The thing is, all this keeping in mind that we’re rehearsing for Pailhères, the Ventoux and Alpe d’Huez in July, that if Sky sets its usual uphill tchoo-tchoo to stifle any opposition, but we know that 7 times out of 8 Contador launches his vicious, upward-pedalling-danseuse, attacks all throughout the climb, will he be able to derail Froome’s brigade? I think Henao and Urán are GT contenders themselves so I don’t think so, but still, they’re a notch below Froome and Contador (not so sure about Henao, though). Could well be Contador keeps attacking, Froome following, and then everyone stopping and the Colombians rejoining to set the tempo. Which wouldn’t be very smart of Bertie (who
If I was Riis, I’d send Kreuziger on a breakaway on the Capanelle. Katusha has not the means to chase (Moreno is not that kind of gregario), and Sky would have to spend some of its plentiful resources on it

The Inner Ring March 9, 2013 at 9:57 am

Yes, the way to derail the Sky mountain train is to send riders up the road early. Easier said than done but we saw it last year in the Tour on the road to Porrentruy, the day Pinot won. A very fast start forced Sky to burn a lot of matches early on the stage in order to filter who could go up the road.

Anonymous March 9, 2013 at 11:52 am

Kreuziger had Tiralongo attacking last year in order for Horner and Nibali to chase him down. Didn’t really work tho as Nibali just countered when Tiralongo was caught.

Doctornurse March 10, 2013 at 10:10 am

Okay…So Froome continues to rattle the cycling cage with some superb form. I still hold that while Contador is clearly not at his peak fitness the fact that Froome just B L EW by him with 900m to go and THEN put 15sec into him was impressive. I think that AC looked better than in Oman, but Froome is on a mission. Some questions:

Will Froome have Henao and Uran at the TDF? I am concerned that with team SKY taking on the Giro, the TdF and the Classics to win, the quality of their domestique support in the TdF may be a bit lower than in 2012. But still, what Henao/Uran did (and Porte’s henchmen did in Paris Nice at the front of the peloton) was something to see. I think that the innovation that SKY is demonstrating is the importance of domestique development in stage racing. Essentially, they treat mountain domestiques like a sprinters leadout- Ensuring that they have a coordinated, experienced, professional team that all peaks simultaneously may trump individual brilliance, provided you have the legs.

Can Froome hold it? We all saw how he crashed and burned at the Vuelta last year after a fabulous Spring and Summer full of wonderful performances. He has clearly been on a high level since February, and will be expected to hold this until At least July- That is a big ask. If he is, then clearly he is onto some new training protocols (no insinuuations here) that the other contenders are not aware of, because now, the man is flying- I have NEVER seen anyone blow by AC like that uphill (not named Purito). I am an optimist, but jeez, SKY seems soooooo far ahead of everyone right now, no?

Can Saxo raise their game? While AC needs another 2k of explosion in his legs to compete, we KNOW that he can get himself ready. The question is can he get his domestiques to raise their games as well. I was NOT encouraged to see Kreuzinger dropped with what? 5k to go? He is going to have to get deomonstrably better (along with Roche, Rogers and his Spanish climbing armada) to stay with the SKY train. Alternatively, as was mentioned earlier, someone credible is going to have to go on a major flyer early in therace to burn the domestiques and draw Froome out- either way, AC has some real tactical thinking to do, because this is formidable…

Can Froome handle the pressure. NOW he REALLY is a fave for the TdF, and this does take a lot of pressure off of AC. Now Froome will have the cameras and the pressure of having to deliver with Sir Bradley as a domestique. I remember how Bradley almost cracked under the strain and cursed people out last year- Cadel threatened to cut someone’s head off. Can Froome handle it? Also Bradley had a ridiculous team last year feauturing the current WC, a 3X TTWC, a multiple TdF stage winner, some ridiculous climbing talent, etc, etc….If Froome’s support is not that quality and something goes wrong (like losing Sitsou), how will he react? I think oka, but the TdF is a strange thing…

Froome is exceptional and his team is wonderful. AC is not yet up to speed, but unless his domestiques can match SKY’s domestiques, his isolation and slight desperation we saw yesterday (He needed to make too many attacks) will likely be repeated again in July…

But what do you think?

Cheers!

Chrisman March 10, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Message to Contador re Christopher Froome – DON’T PISS HIM OFF!!

It’s sad to see Contador so castrated. I hope Bjarne is on the phone to Manuel’s Meat Supplies right now.

In all seriousness, Froome is out there to genuinely embarrass people. See how he put his head down and didn’t look back till the line? That’s not someone who wants to win, that’s someone who wants to absolutely bury people. He wants to break Contador. His tactics are clear – wait for Contador’s look-at-me-mummy attacks, laugh at them, and then show him how you attack when you got your big boy pants on.

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