A “dog’s breakfast” of a sprint finish in which “the favourite’s teams all got it wrong” was won with a delayed but daring dart for the line by Phil Bauhaus of Bahrain Victorious. Though the last hundred metres of Tirreno-Adriatico’s final stage looked chaotic on camera, everyone stayed upright, and all the riders made it home safely.
The circuit of San Benedetto del Tronto had promised neither a true Grand Tour-style processional finish, nor a full-blooded battle to the line either. With the General Classification, King of the Mountains, Points and Young Rider competitions all but sewn up - with three of them led by a certain Tadej Pogacar - and little chance of there being any changes elsewhere in the order, it was only the stage to play for. Plenty of teams - foremost among them QuickStep AlphaVinyl - had little to show for the first six stages and the pan-flat finish offered them their final chance.
With a number of sprinters abandoning early in the race, including Caleb Ewan and Elia Vivian, Alexander Kristoff of Team IWG named stage three’s victor, Tim Merlier as the rider to beat, as well as Mark Cavendish (QuickStep AlphaVinyl), Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain Victorious) and Giacomo Nizzolo (Israel PremierTech). Olav Kooij (Jumbo Visma), with two top-three places to his name, also had hopes of finishing the race on the highest of highs. Cavendish was looking to poach a win in order to keep up with team-mate Fabio Jakobsen in the race for a Tour de France spot.
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The first 80km of the stage offered up a few lumps and bumps of interest, before five 14.5km laps of the seafront town that traditionally welcomes the end of this race. Four chances for the riders to rehearse the narrow twists and turns they would have to negotiate in the finale, before the sprinter's teams took over.
The race found itself down five riders overnight. Among them were Tao Geoghegan Hart, who was clearly struggling yesterday and withdrew due to an infection, and Enric Mas, who crashed on the final descent of stage six.
The early kilometres saw a crash in the bunch that forced the unfortunate late abandons of Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education-EasyPost) and Mattia Bais (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli). Kooij was also caught up in it. Three riders then sashayed away for some of the TV spotlight at the front of the race. Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè) and Jorge Arcas (Movistar) went first, before being joined by Manuele Boaro of Astana Qazaqstan.
Alpecin-Fenix and Groupama-FDJ were tasked with the responsibility of not allowing them too long a length of rope. As the road rose towards Offida, under blissful blue skies the trio’s lead capped out at just north of three minutes. With Tadej Pogacar guarded by the bodies of his team, Manuele Boaro claimed the five mountains points on offer before the race entered the final circuits.
Three uneventful laps followed at a reasonable lick, ensuring the break’s lead gradually ticked down. With two laps left it was below a minute and by the bell, with the pace increasing, it was about handshake time as the leaders were reeled in.
A minor incident at the roundabout before the penultimate run under the flamme caught out one of Merlier’s teammates and took him out of lead-out contention.
Approaching the 5km banner and Groupama FDJ and Bahrain Victorious were the big teams at the front, for Demare and Bauhaus respectively, with Arkea Samsic, Lotto Soudal and Trek-Segafredo keeping their fastmen at or around the front as well. Pogacar briefly appeared at the front to ensure his title wasn’t about to go up in smoke.
3km to go and TotalEnergie took centre stage to give Edvald Boasson Hagen the best possible chance of a result.
The 1km pinch point we feared might cause chaos was negotiated safely, then they all weaved their way around the last left-right. Into a headwind on the narrow final straight nobody wanted to go early. It almost looked like no-one was going to go at all. Alexander Kristoff tried for the longest one, then Eddy Boss popped his head into the wind. Nizzolo looked like he had it, until Phil Bauhaus swung round them all on the right, hitting the front when it mattered most. Kaden Groves (Team BikeExchange Jayco) finished third for the second time at the Tirreno-Adriatico.
“The team worked really well to position me,” said Bauhaus in his post-race interview. “I thought with the headwind even 150m to go might be too early, so I decided to follow Demare, saw a space on the right side and went for it.”
Tadej Pogacar made it home safely to take his second Tirreno-Adriatico trident in a row. As much of a sure thing as the result was, “it’s not finished until you cross the line,” he said afterwards.
Pogacar had taken control of the overall standings with a solo victory launched 16km from the line on the sixth stage yesterday in Carpegna. The Slovenian looked imperious for UAE Team Emirates from the first day, and the win in Italy just reiterated his ominous form ahead of the Grand Tour season.
Completing the final GC podium were Jonas Vinegaard (Jumbo Visma) and Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious.) Quinn Simmons (Trek Segafredo) won the mountains competition.

‘They protected me all week!’ – Pogacar thanks team-mates after Tirreno-Adriatico success

1 - Phil Bauhaus (Bora-hansgrohe) 3'39"58s
2 - Giacomo Nizzolo (Israel PremierTech) ,,
3 - Kaden Groves (Team BikeExchange Jayco) ,,
4 - Davide Cimolai (Cofidis) ,,
5 - Alberto Dainese (Team DSM) ,,
6 - Alexander Kristoff (Intermarche - Wanty - Gobert Materiaux) ,,
7 - Edvald Boasson Hagen (TotalEnergies) ,,
8 - Olav Kooij (Jumbo Visma) ,,
9 - Arnaud Demare (Groupama FDJ) ,,
10 - Matteo Moschetti (Trek Segafredo) ,,
1 - Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 27'25"53s
2 - Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +0'01"52s
3 - Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) +0'02"33
4 - Richie Porte (Ineos Grenadiers) +0'02"44s
5 - Jai Hindley (Bora Hansgrohe) +0'03"05s
6 - Thymen Arensman (Team DSM) +0'03"16
7 - Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) +00'03"20s
8 - Thibaut Pinot (Groupama FDJ) +00'03"37s
9 - Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) +00'03"51s
10 - Giulio Ciccone (Trek Segafredo) +00'04"03s
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