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Just how strong is Filippo Ganna on the flats?
Stronger than most.
Late in Wednesday’s third stage at Tirreno-Adriatico, the Italian on Ineos Grenadiers was caught out of position in the back half of the peloton when Jumbo-Visma surged to the front as the bunch turned into heavy crosswinds.
It was a decisive moment in the stage. The Dutch-backed team massed at the front and unleashed all of its collective firepower to try to split the bunch with just under 15km to go.
Ganna, who started with the blue race leader’s jersey on his back, was out of position in the wrong side of the peloton. The Italian track gold medalist and world hour record-holder opened up the tank with a tremendous display of raw power to bridge across to the front.
“I lost the way with 15km to go but in the end with the legs I saved myself,” Ganna said in an understated way. “It was really windy, but we are safe with the position, and the guys did an amazing job.”
Even though the group came back together for a bunch sprint, Ganna’s demonstration did not go unnoticed.
Also read: Philipsen powers to much-needed win
Stage-winner Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin Deceuninck) was also caught in the back and hitched a ride on Ganna’s wheel to across reach the front.
“I was in pain in his slipstream,” Philipsen said. “Our teammate warned us of crosswinds in the final 10-11km. Jumbo-Visma were really strong, and I was quite far behind. I got on Ganna’s wheel and he managed to bridge to the first group. It was stressful.”
A fan posted a video on Twitter that highlights Ganna’s unbridled power.
Føretrøjeiklædte @GannaFilippo havde ikke i sinde at lade en lidt uheldig udgangsposition være skyld i, at han ikke kom med på første vifte, da Jumbo prøvede at køre sidevindsræs i #TirrenoAdriatico i dag 😬😬🏍️🏍️ pic.twitter.com/alceteqtNN
— Morten Thomsen (@maatte_T) March 8, 2023
Jumbo-Visma surged to the front Primož Roglič and Wout van Aert, with Magnus Sheffield, Tao Geoghegan Hart, and Thymen Arensman there for Ineos Grenadiers, along with Ben O’Connor (Ag2r-Citroën), Brandon McNulty and Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates), and Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty).
Sensing the urgency, Ganna picked his way through the bunch along the right side of the road, and then surged across to join the leaders after passing more than half of the Tirreno-Adriatico peloton on his own.
The move didn’t stick, but he made sure he defended his lead going into Thursday’s uphill kicker with a circuit finish to Tortoreto.
“I was behind. There was a lot of stress with wind in the final,” Ganna said. “We tried to take the gap but in the end, the bunch is back. We will see tomorrow if I can defend.”
Though Ganna was out of position in a key moment, he had the legs to quickly rectify things.
Along with his win in the opening time trial coupled with his demonstration Wednesday, Italy’s “Top Ganna” is confirming he’s in top form going into the northern classics where he hopes to play a bigger role this spring.
— Tirreno Adriatico (@TirrenAdriatico) March 8, 2023