Check in for one of the best stages in recent history, stage six of Tirreno-Adriatico.
The early season stage race has become the favorite test of March, with many Giro and Tour riders choosing to head to Italy instead of Paris-Nice. For teams with multiple leaders like BMC, who sent Cadel Evans to Italy and Teejay Vangarderen to France, the split works well, and it certainly makes for an exciting week and a half of racing very early in the year.
The sixth stage included almost 20 climbs, though none were massive peaks and cols, most were short and extremely steep, with some gradients going up to 30% The extended coverage from Eursport caught a number of those ascents, with riders opting to ride cassettes almost as big as a mountain bike and still needing to weave their way up the climb.
What the coverage didn’t catch was a number of riders off the back that walked up certain climbs, with many of them opting to hop into cars instead of finish the stage. Over 50 riders bagged it early on the day. A big part of that was the first monument of the season lurking on the horizon, with Milan-San Remo taking place this Sunday.
The repeated pitches did wonders for Vicenzo Nibali, who used the short climbs to launch an attack that brought him to take the overall victory. Chris Froome chose the wrong gearing and the wrong coat in the rain and cold, and the small mistakes resulted in a very long day in the saddle. Even the spritely Alberto Contador admitted he wasn’t prepared to the grades, especially in the wet, saying that his wheels were slipping every time he stood up. If you’ve seen Contador climb, folks, he stands a lot.
Here’s the entire Eurosport broadcast from the stage. In the strange event that you don’t have over an hour to spend on YouTube, just skim until you see people riding in zig zags, and then ’till the rain starts falling.