Wild winds could not prevent Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) from doubling up at Tirreno-Adriatico as the Slovenian grabbed the overall lead with another brilliant win on a shortened Stage 5.
Despite organisers reducing the final climb to Sarnano-Sassotetto due to weather concerns, it still packed a punch as Roglic emerged from a squabbling front group to charge home ahead of Giulio Ciccone (Trek–Segafredo) and Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers).
Roglic was propelled into the leader’s jersey courtesy of bonus seconds, with previous incumbent Lennard Kamna (Bora–hansgrohe) taking a credible fifth behind team-mate Jai Hindley.
Seven riders were involved when the first breakaway formed after a tight start: Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Erik Fetter (Eolo-Kometa), Davide Ballerini (Soudal-QuickStep), Simon Guglielmi (Arkea-Samsic), Florian Stork (Team DSM), Zdenek Stybar (Team Jayco AlUla) and Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo).
However they were never truly set free and when the driving rain added to an already unforgiving wind, their lead soon tumbled. Simmons was first to be caught, with the others soon picked off.
As the race weaved up and down, the wind was becoming a huge problem for the lighter riders in the peloton, with Remy Rochas (Cofidis) among those to struggle and having to unclip to avoid being blown off his bike.
‘Who is shoving me?!’ – Rochas almost blown off bike in crazy crosswinds
Ineos drove the pace towards the final climb – a shortened 10.7km ascent featuring gradients approaching 14% – before Movistar took up the pace as they looked to tee up Enric Mas.
But it was an attack by Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) with 4.6km remaining that teed up the spiciest of finales. The Italian appeared to have tamed the brutal crosswinds as his reluctant rivals strung out across the road, each daring another to set off in pursuit. Initially, no one did.
Caruso’s lead swelled to over 20 seconds as he chased a statement win but, just as it looked like he would be allowed to win unopposed, Mas attacked with 1.5km to go, dragging an army of contenders with him.
Just 800m later, Caruso was caught – and so began a remarkable game of cat-and-mouse, each rider aware of the powers of slipstream in such unfavourable conditions.
Hugh Carthy (EF Education-EasyPost) broke the mini stand-off with a quick flash, then Wilco Kelderman (Jumbo-Visma) made his move. Still no one could take control and as the race hit the final 100m, suddenly Ciccone and Geoghegan Hart had pulled away into a two-up sprint. At least, that was until Roglic appeared from deep, overhauling his rivals and taking the lead for a single second – a single second that happened to coincide with crossing the finish line.
Highlights: Roglic doubles up in wild winds on Stage 5, takes overall lead
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