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Tirreno-Adriatico (6) : Jan Bakelants (4th): "All of us deserved the victory"

Tirreno-Adriatico (6) : Jan Bakelants (4th): "All of us deserved the victory"

Most teams believed in the scenario with a bunch sprint at the end of the sixth stage in Tirreno-Adriatico (2.UWT, 10-16/03) in the Adriatic coast city Lido di Fermo. The hilly first race part in the hinterland of the 169 kilometer stage flattened out towards the finish line. After a first passage in Lido di Fermo, one lap of 30 kilometer and four laps of 11.2 kilometer had to be covered. The first sloping kilometer of the Muro di Monte Marino was part of the course at 3 kilometer before the finish line and offered also possibilities to attackers.

Despite the hard stage of the day before, there were many candidates to join the early breakaway. After several attempts, a group of six riders with Jan Bakelants received the freedom of the peloton. The advantage grew over 5 minutes. When it became clear that the sprinter's teams didn't invest enough manpower in the chase and with the Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert riders backing Bakelants in the peloton, the chances of the early breakaway grew noticeably.

Despite an advantage of more than 2 minutes with less than 10 kilometer to go, the collaboration in the breakaway with the rider from Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux was optimal until the sprint. Danish rider Mads Würtz Schmidt beat his four remaining breakaway companions and took the victory in the final bunch race of this Tirreno-Adriatico. Jan Bakelants finished fourth. On the final day, the time trialists and GC riders will battle for glory in a 10.1 kilometer time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto. Lorenzo Rota will start the final event in 22nd position in the provisional general classification.

Jan Bakelants:
« It's a pity that there's only one winner at the end of the day, because all of us worked hard for it and did their part of the job. Attacking on the last climb was not a good plan, because there was a head wind in the final 3 kilometer. In case of a sprint, we were evenly matched on paper. It was a strange finish with a chicane 300 meter before the line. I went through the corner in third position and came next to Mads Würtz Schmid, but in the end I just wasn't fast enough. »

« I motivated my breakaway companions to ignore the pace of the peloton and race full all day. From this morning before the start, I believed it was our only chance. I guess my breakaway companions are happy now about how I managed the breakaway. We definitely didn't receive a present and I dare to say that there were probably many riders suffering in the peloton as well. After a hard day in front of the race, we were all tired for the final. »

« I think I managed it well, although, still now I'm not convinced which tactics would have been best in the sprint. Of course I was hoping to get more out of this opportunity, but most of all I'm happy that I'll conclude this Tirreno-Adriatico with a nice performance. On the first day, I was disappointed to miss the mountains jersey, and in the stage towards Prati di Tivo I didn't succeed a second chance as I missed the breakaway. The parcours of the second stage suited me well, but I felt really bad. But thanks to a good mindset this morning, I managed to create the positive vibes before concluding the race tomorrow! »

Stage 6:
1.Mads Würtz Schmidt
2.Brent Van Moer
3.Simone Velasco
4.Jan Bakelants
17.Andrea Pasqualon +1:09
29.Pieter Vanspeybrouck
55.Lorenzo Rota
98.Loïc Vliegen
105.Jan Hirt
131.Aimé De Gendt

Provisional general classification:
1.Tadej Pogacar
2.Wout Van Aert +1:15
3.Mikel Landa +3:00
22.Lorenzo Rota +15:36
39.Jan Bakelants +25:25
79.Loïc Vliegen +43:34
82.Jan Hirt +44:05
85.Andrea Pasqualon +45:57
120.Pieter Vanspeybrouck +59:15
143.Aimé De Gendt +1:10:03