Tirreno-Adriatico stage 3: Caleb Ewan scores win from bunch sprint in cobbled finale
No change to general classification with Filippo Ganna continuing to lead the ‘Race of Two Seas’
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
Caleb Ewan won the bunch sprint on stage 3 of the 2022 Tirreno-Adriatico.
In a hectic finale which saw stage 2 winner Tim Merilier (Alpecin-Fenix) and Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) not in position in the final 700m, the pint-sized Kiwi rider powered from a charging Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ).
Olav Kooij (Jumbo-Visma) who was second on the previous stage in a bunch sprint, came through in third.
“I’ve been coming for a few years and I’ve always had bad luck or of shape. It’s a race where I wanted to win,” commented Ewan. “I’m happy with the way the year is starting.”
While the early breakaway of six riders had rising star Taco van der Horn (Intermarché Wanty Gobert Matériaux) and a handful of other riders, their motivation was not enough to hold the big bunch that brought them back inside of 50km to go.
Looking to gain sprint points as well as precious bonus seconds, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) attacked the uphill intermediate sprint point. For a moment world champion Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) looked to have thoughts about contesting the sprint, but Pogačar’s teammate Marc Soler was guarding the two-time Tour de France winner and also made things tough for the world champion.
But the threesome had put some distance behind themselves and the peloton in this move, and seeing the gap, they pressed on.
Not quite quick enough to react, but seeing the danger in the three off the front were Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers) and Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious) who tried to bridge from the big bunch.
Landa quickly resigned from this surge, while Geoghegan Hart made contact, giving the breakaway the firepower of two grand tour champions, a world champion, and the third overall from the previous year’s “Race of Two Seas.”
The quartet, none spriters, did not want to mix things up with leadout trains in the cobbled finale and put as much as half a minute into the pursuing bunch.
Reacting to this threat were Groupama-FDJ and Alpecin-Fenix who immediately went to the front to bring the break back.
With a numerical advantage, the peloton brought this break under control nearly at the 10km to go mark.
Race leader Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) lead the group on one side of the road, while the Wolfpack tried to keep Cavendish protected on the other side of the road into the final 5km. Ganna continued to drive the pace until after the 3km to go mark.
Jumbo-Visma had Kooij well-positioned for the very technical final 5km, which routed through an endless number of roundabouts, and the podium finisher from the previous stage was in a good position for the final gallop to the line.
Ewan watched patiently from seventh wheel before launching his final kick away from Démare and Kooij, and the fading Nacer Bouhanni (Arkéa-Samsic), Pascal Ackermann (UAE Team Emirates), and Merlier to earn the win.
“I’ve been coming for a few years and I’ve always had bad luck or lack of form. It’s a race where I wanted to win,” added Ewan. “I’m happy with the way the year is starting.”
Results will be available once stage has completed.