Quick-Step rider Julian Alaphilippe won stage six of the International Cycling Union Tirreno-Adriatico World Tour race today after a dramatic sprint for the line.
His victory followed back-to-back stage wins for Astana, the 26-year-old edging out Italy’s Davide Cimolai and team-mate Elia Viviani on the 195 kilometre course.
Early in the stage, five riders not including Alaphilippe broke away from the peleton and by the 15km mark they led by three and a half minutes.
At 35km, the gap was still more than three minutes and after 120km it was 2min 40sec, but the peloton caught up with the leaders with just 3km to go, resulting in a sprint for the line.
Alaphilippe took victory in 4:42.11.
So close was the stage, the top 63 riders were given the same time.
“I am not a sprinter but I know I can sprint well on a hard day like this,” the Frenchman said.
“With one lap to go, Elia Viviani asked me if I wanted to go for the sprint.
“I said, I’ll be your lead out man.
“Maz Richeze pulled hard and I just relayed him till the line.
“I’m really happy with this incredible victory.”
Great Britain’s Adam Yates – brother of 2018 Vuelta a Espana winner Simon – remains in the overall lead having finished 25th.
“The last kilometre was pretty much uphill,” he said.
“We know Alaphilippe can sprint on a road like this one.
“Maybe a couple of years ago I could have done it too, I’m just not so punchy any more.
“I hope to create a surprise tomorrow but the TT [time trial] doesn’t suit me and the gap isn’t big enough but I’ll do my best.”