It was an anti-climatic day in Tirreno-Adriatico. The biggest GC riders, Pogačar, Evenepoel and Vingegaard, made a big mistake after Evenepoel had attacked, riding in the wrong direction as they were reducing the gap to the day’s breakaway. With the chase behind stalled, Warren Barguil took a big victory for Arkea-Samic on the hilly finale of Tirreno-Adriatico stage 5 from the break.
The peloton was racing passively today, saving energy for tomorrow, which will be the queen stage to Carpegna. With 8 kilometres to go, Remco Evenepoel attacked at the end of a climb. Like in the previous stage, Tadej Pogačar immediately followed him with Jonas Vingegaard on his wheel. It was going to be an exciting showdown between the three main favourites of Tirreno-Adriatico, but unfortunately the trio missed a right hand corner, while Evenepoel was at the front.
Later they caught the peloton, with Evenepoel being the last to do it as he rode the farthest in the wrong direction. It is not the first time for Evenepoel missing a corner on a descent he made this same mistake last year on Tour of Denmark stage 3, which he won.
This big mistake from the favorites meant that breakaway would not be caught. Warren Barguil was looking the strongest. Barguil attacked for the first time with 20 km to go after his teammate from Arkea-Samsic, Clément Russo, set up an attack for him before a steep hill, however he was eventuall reeled in by his breakaway companions.
With 5 km to go the Frenchman tried again on a false-flat section. Only Valentin Ferron followed him. The Total Energies rider was not a match for Barguil on the finish climb (3.2 km, 6.0%) to Fermo. The steepest part was at the beginning of the climb, where Barguil easily dropped Ferron. Other breakaway riders, Xandro Meurisse, Simone Velasco, Nelson Oliveira, where close, but they could not match power what Barguil was pushing.
It was the first World Tour victory for Barguil since the 2017 Tour de France. He started this season with five Top 10 results in one-day races in Spain and France, showing consistent form. The fastest from the peloton was Richie Porte, who finished 26 seconds behind Barguil. Pogačar, Vingegaard and Evenepoel finished in the same group as the other top GC riders, despite missing a corner in the last kilometres, with Tao Geoghegan Hart of INEOS losing nearly 30 seconds.
The GC will be decided on stage 6, which features the mighty Monte Carpegna climb (6 km, 9.9%). Riders will ride up it twice, but the finish will be a descent. Pogačar is leading the GC by 9 seconds over Evenepoel. 3rd place, Thymen Arensman, is 43 seconds back. This means that Pogačar’s biggest threat is Evenepoel, who he has been marking actively in this race. It will be a hard task for the Belgian to make an impression on Pogacar on this parcours. Evenepoel has not proved yet that he is a top-level climber, who can drop the biggest guys like Pogačar, Vingegaard and Lopez on hard climbs at the end of hard stages.