The Sarnano Sassotetto stage at Tirreno-Adriatico 2023 will surely be remembered as one of the most atypical uphill finishes in recent years. The main protagonist was infact a very strong headwind which characterised not only the final climb, shortened by a couple of kilometres due to the impossibility of reaching the summit, but the entire stage.
The riders, as always, tried boldly, even struggling to stay in the saddle sometimes, but they were pushed back, so much so that 17 riders made it to the top to sprint for the stage.
What was supposed to be the most selective stage turned out to be relatively similar to yesterday’s one in Tortoreto. One thing for sure, we are still pretty far from knowing who the winner of this Tirreno-Adriatico will be.
Although they knew that the wind would blow them all the way back, a good number of riders decided to give it a shot: Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) tried first, and his attack even seemed to be decisive for a while, only to be caught with 600 metres to go, then Enric Mas (Movistar), Hugh Carthy (EF Education-EasyPost), Wilco Kelderman (Jumbo-Visma), Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers) and, last but definitely not least, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma).
The Slovenian once again waited until his rivals had given it all and then, with his always perfect timing, went on to claim both stage win and Maglia Azzurra, thanks to the 10-second bonus gived to the winner. He’s today’s wind dominator.
So, with the Sarnano Sassotetto climb ‘neutralised’ by the wind, we find ourselves two stages from the end with a general classification as uncertain as ever. Primož Roglič looks down on everyone, it’s true, but behind him are 16 riders who dream of conquering the Trident. In fact, the top 10 in the GC are all within 31 seconds, the top 16 within 52 seconds, which means that the best is yet to come.
Tomorrow, for those who don’t know, is the stage of the Marche walls, the Osimo Stazione-Osimo, which includes an endless series of ups and downs, most notably the Muro di Costa del Borgo (2.3 km at 7.7%, but the central part of about one km constantly at 15%) with the last stretch even on gravel, to be repeated three times.
This means that absolute anarchy can be expected: you will need legs, you will need a solid team behind you, and you will need tactical intelligence. We can expect some fun, wind permitting. – www.giroditalia.it