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Tirreno-Adriatico. Simone Velasco takes third on a hilly Stage 5

Simone Velasco spent a very solid day in the saddle, taking a strong third place on Stage 5 of the Tirreno-Adriatico.

The Astana Qazaqstan Team rider broke away clear from the peloton in a big group of riders somewhere after 70 km of racing. The riders in the breakaway worked well together, creating a good gap, while Velasco became one of the most active riders there, always staying in front.

On the penultimate climb the French rider Warren Barguil launched an attack, at the end of the day taking a solo win. Simone Velasco immediately started chasing, but, finally, finished third, 14 seconds behind the stage winner.

“Well, it took an hour and a half for a group to break away clear after a lot of attacks. We always stayed in front, trying to escape, and in a moment I saw my chance and I joined the right group. Before the start together with the Sports Directors and trainers we were discussing our strategy and it was decided that we have to send our rider in a breakaway which on this stage could be a successful one. Once we got a gap, all together we started working well, keeping a good advantage. After a tough day yesterday, today I felt much better and on the climbs I felt like I have good legs, always staying at the front and keeping a good pace. Well, in a moment Barguil attacked and I missed this move, I tried to follow him a bit later, but it did not work. It was a good chance for a stage win, but I finished third. However, I am happy with the legs and my feeling during the stage. I feel like I am improving day by day and I hope I will get a really good form to the next races”, – said Simone Velasco.

There was another battle of the GC contenders behind the shoulders of the break. Astana’s team leader Miguel Angel Lopez always stayed in the race leader group, supported by Harold Tejada, and finished this stage on 19th position.

After Stage 5 Lopez moved up to fifth place in the General Classification, 1 minute behind the race leader Tadej Pogacar.

Photo credit: @Gettysport