The Associated Press MONTALTO DI CASTRO, Italy (AP) — World champion Peter Sagan sprinted to victory in the third stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico, and Rohan Dennis moved into the overall lead on Friday.
Sagan powered past Elia Viviani with about 250 meters to go and beat the Italian by a bike length.
Jurgen Roelandts was third in the bunch sprint at the end of the 204-kilometer route from Monterotondo Marittimo to Montalto di Castro.
“Everyone was afraid of the wind [in] the last 50k but in the end nothing happened,” Sagain said. “A lot of riders came to the finish without legs maybe. The last two kilometers there was crosswinds and that was good. It was more easy to get position.”
There was a crash in the final kilometer involving several riders, including race leader Greg van Avermaet. They were all given the same time, but Dennis moved above his BMC teammate in the standings because of a better finishing position.
Dennis is the third BMC rider to lead the race. Damiano Caruso, who was third overall, was first after the opening team time trial.
Tejay van Garderen will aim to be next on Saturday’s mountainous 187-kilometer ride from Montalto di Castro to Monte Terminillo.
The route is the hardest this year, and includes the first uphill finish.
“I didn’t expect to be in the lead,” Dennis said. “Tejay van Garderen remains our leader.”
The race finishes on Tuesday.
Yates wins stage 6 of Paris-Nice
FAYENCE, France (AP) — Simon Yates peeled away on the final climb of the day to win the sixth stage of the Paris-Nice, while Julian Alaphilippe retained the lead on Friday.
Yates moved into overall contention, but the British rider remains 1 minute, 37 seconds behind Alaphilippe with two climbing stages remaining.
“I was quite far back in the general classification this morning, which gave me a bit of freedom,” Yates said. “I thought the other riders would follow me when I attacked, but I found myself all alone. At that point there was only one thing to do: Go for it. I will try and attack again tomorrow.”
The 193.5-kilometer trek from Aubagne to Fayence featured three category 1 climbs, the second toughest under race classification.
At least riders did not have bad weather to contend with, and Yates thumped his chest as he crossed the line with the sun shining in southern France.
He cleared the day’s three steepest climbs by the time he got to the short but sharp climb up to Fayence, and had enough of a lead to cross the line comfortably ahead. The Orica-Scott team rider clocked a winning time of 4½ hours.
The chasing riders left it too late, with two-time champion Richie Porte of Australia (BMC Racing) and then Sergio Henao of Colombia (Team SKY) launching strong attacks up Fayence but running out of time to catch Yates.
Those two were both injured in a crash-marred road race at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, with Henao breaking his pelvis and Porte breaking his shoulder blade.
Henao crossed the line 17 seconds behind Yates, while Porte was 26 seconds behind in fourth. Alaphilippe was :29 back in fourth, while two-time champion Alberto Contador of Spain was :32 behind in eighth spot.
In the overall standings, Alaphilippe is 36 seconds ahead of French countryman Tony Gallopin and 46 ahead of Henao.
Contador is lurking 1:34 back in seventh overall and will likely attack on Saturday’s seventh stage.
The 177-kilometer route starts from Nice and finishes with an ascent up Col de la Couillole, the third and final of the day’s three category 1 climbs.