The 30-year-old became the first home rider since 2015 to notch up a stage victory at the “Race of the Two Seas”.
Tirreno-Adriatico continued with the longest stage of this edition, a 226km-long journey from Pomarance to Foligno, where Elia Viviani made it two in a row for Deceuninck – Quick-Step after capitalising on Zdenek Stybar’s flawless piloting and putting in a perfectly-timed sprint which saw him blast clear of the other favourites and add another win to his impressive palmares, which now counts 71 pro victories, a record among active Italian riders.
“I am very happy with this win and continuing my good form. This victory is important in my build-up to Milano-Sanremo not only confidence-wise, but also because it came in Italy with the national champion jersey on my shoulders. Having it is an honour, that’s why I’m trying to enjoy every single moment and give something to cheer about to all the Italian fans who come to see me”, a smiling Elia said after bringing the home nation’s first win in four years at Tirreno-Adriatico.
Before it came down to this thrilling bunch sprint, one rider stood out from the peloton, second-year pro Kasper Asgreen, who rode a steady tempo at the head of the pack behind the six escapees from the start of the stage, peeling off the front only after reeling in the remnants of the breakaway on the outskirts of Foligno, the town where in 1472 Dante’s masterpiece “La Divina Commedia” was printed for the first time.
A technical finale, spiced up by two bends and a corner, made positioning paramount going into the last kilometer and Elia Viviani jumped on the wheel of Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe) as he came out of the final corner and sped past his opponent at a maximum speed of 74.2km/h, pulling off his fourth victory of the season and the 17th of Deceuninck – Quick-Step, which tops both the team and wins classifications.
Viviani praised his teammates, who were once again prominent at the front and played an important role in his success as he became the first reigning Italian Champion in 15 years to score a stage win at the race: “The guys did a remarkable job and we remained calm at all times despite the break having a big advantage at one point. The tricky finish made things chaotic and Sagan came out first from the last bend, but I was in a good position thanks to Styby and had a powerful sprint, which helped me maintain my perfect start to the season, with victories in all the races I’ve started with Deceuninck – Quick-Step.”
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images