Van der Poel takes stunning victory, Yates retains GC lead –

Van der Poel takes stunning victory, Yates retains GC lead –

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Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) launched an unstoppable late move to win stage 7 of Tirreno-Adriatico on Sunday.

The Dutchman flew out of a group that was chasing down lone leader Matteo Fabbro (Bora-Hansgrohe) in the steep final kilometer of the race to tear past the young Italian and win by four seconds, the second stage victory for Alpecin-Fenix in two days.

Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) followed van der Poel’s move to take second, while Fabbro took a consolation prize of third place, having launched a solo attack on 20 kilometers to go and been looking odds-on to take the win.

“It was an incredible stage, much tougher than I expected,” Van der Poel said after the race. “The team did a great job getting me into the break. I knew I had to go full gas on the last climb before the finish, Fabbro was ahead of me and when I passed him I knew I had won. I am very happy for this victory that I have been looking for since the beginning of the Tirreno-Adriatico.”

Race-leader Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) finished in sixth in a small bunch that included GC rivals Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers). The trio finished on the same time, leaving Yates’ 16 seconds GC lead on Majka intact going into the final stage’s 10-kilometer time trial.

“It was a hard stage, the team did a great job controlling the race,” Yates said. “The race will be decided by the ITT. My main focus are Thomas and Majka, I think especially Majka is very good against the clock.”

The action of the stage played out on a finishing circuit of 25km that included two short but super-steep climbs. A break of 14, including van der Poel, Fabbro and Guerreiro, had gone clear early in the stage as Mitchelton-Scott controlled the peloton behind.

Guerreiro had sparked the selection with an attack on 35km to go that split down the breakaway as attacks also flew from van der Poel and Fabro, leaving a bunch of six at the front of the race with 25km remaining.

Fabbro attacked again at the start of the closing circuit and soon forged a gap over the five chasers, gaining nearly one minute. Attacks were also launching from the peloton behind, with Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) leading a small group in pursuit of the bunch that included van der Poel.

Fabbro had been riding strong through his solo escape and looked likely to snatch a surprise victory, only to start struggling as the final one-kilometer wall to the finish line loomed on the horizon.

Van der Poel attacked at the perfect moment from the chase group as the fragments of the peloton came close to making the bridge to them. The Dutchman flew out of the group with Guerreiro the only one able to respond. Van der Poel ripped past Fabro as if the young Italian was a stone, and continued to power away through the steep slope to the line to take the victory.

Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 7 Results

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