Patrick Bevin leads Tirreno-Adriatico. The BMC Racing rider finished 5th in stage 2 of the race as Marcel Kittel of Katusha-Alpecin took his first win of the 2018 season. Bevin’s 5th place saw him leap up from third to overtake overnight leader and teammate Damiano Caruso.
Camaiore to Follonica saw the 153 remaining riders in Tirreno-Adriatico take on 167km of almost entirely pancake flat racing but for a rise at the beginning of the day that contained the only KOM points after 4.3km. The bulk of the day was illuminated by the presence of Alexandr Foliforov of Gazprom-Rusvelo, Jacopo Mosca of Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia and Guy Sagiv of the Israel Cycling Academy, who broke away early and were unchallenged in their breakaway bid.
In total the break managed to get a lead of 4.30mins over the peloton, but BMC Racing, taking control of the race with the blue jersey in their ranks, made pretty comfortable work of controlling matters. In the end Quick-Step Floors, Mitchelton-Scott and Katusha-Alpecin all issued their interest in contributing to pegging back the move and they duly crushed the breakaway’s advantage with precious little difficulty. The trio worked together efficiently but were caught with 8.6km of racing still remaining.
What might have been a standard day for the sprinters was almost not, however, as a massive crash at the front of the peloton brought down a number of riders. Problematically for those going down was the fact that the crash hadn’t occurred within the 3km to go mark, so any time lost would remain at the finish line unless they could come back together.
Kiwis Jack Bauer of Mitchelton-Scott, George Bennett of LottoNL-Jumbo and BMC Racing’s Patrick Bevin were all among the peloton of about 100 who did reunite though and proceed to hurl towards the line. EF Education First-Drapac led the field under the 1km to go banner before Katusha-Alpecin seized control of the pack and didn’t look back.
Despite having to unleash his sprint from a long way out, the determination to finally get that first win of the 2018 season won out as not even Peter Sagan of BORA-Hansgrohe who was finishing fast could get passed him.
Giacomo Nizzolo of Trek-Segafredo took third place, with Michal Kwiatkowski of Team Sky fourth. Patrick Bevin completed the top five though and did enough to secure the blue race leader’s jersey on countback, with overnight leader Damiano Caruso dropping to second and Greg van Avermaet climbing a place to third.
Bevin – it wasn’t the plan
After the stage Bevin reflected on being in the blue leader’s jersey, the first time he’s led a UCI World Tour event. “It’s really nice to be leading the race,” Bevin said. “It’s weird to take the jersey from a teammate and especially one who is here to lead the team. Of course, I don’t mind babysitting for a day, but as we head into tomorrow, nothing changes in terms of our plan.”
“It wasn’t the plan coming into the stage for me to go for the leader’s jersey, it came about as the stage went on. We didn’t have to do too much work, and my teammates geared me up to have a go at the sprint. We didn’t have a guy to sprint, and they were keen to let me have a go in the final.”
Bevin was one of the riders to get caught behind the crash that took down a large number of riders, and he revealed that it was a bit touch and go as to whether he’d even get the opportunity to mix it up in the sprint. “I only just got back on and was able to have a good run through the bunch because it was pretty spread out.”
“I have had moments in the past when I have had a good sprint, and as an amateur, I sprinted, but in the last couple of years, it hasn’t really been a priority. Today, was probably the first time in my whole career that I have had a teammate come to me and say that I should have a go and that they knew I could sprint. It’s a special feeling coming into a new team when you have some well-established riders trying to motivate you and letting you show what you’ve got.”
In the GC battle Bevin sits in the lead then with teammates Caruso, Van Avermaet and Rohan Dennis all on the same time. The nearest non-BMC rider to him is Mitchelton-Scott’s Daryl Impey who is fifth at 4 seconds, with Team Sky’s Michal Kwiatkowski, Geraint Thomas, Salvatore Puccio, Chris Froome and Jonathan Castroviejo sitting in positions 6-10 at 9 seconds.
Photo: LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2018