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Ben Hermans (leading) climbed his way into the top 20 overall. (©Sirotti.)
Ben Hermans (leading) climbed his way into the top 20 overall. (©Sirotti.)

Tirreno-Adriatico, Stage 4: The Longest Day

15. March 2014

Ben Hermans, in 17th place, was the BMC Racing Team's top finisher Saturday on the longest stage of Tirreno-Adriatico.

The Course:
The 244-kilometer race was punctuated by three significant climbs – the last of which was a 14-km drag to the finish averaging 5.3 percent.

The Day's Breakaway:
Six riders enjoyed a more than seven-minute advantage before the last two of the escapees was hauled in on the lower slopes of the climb with 12 km to go.

The Podium:
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) attacked out of a small group in the final kilometer to hold off Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) for the stage win. Daniel Moreno (Team Katusha) was third. In addition to Hermans, who finished 25 seconds back, BMC Racing Team's Dominik Nerz also finished within a minute of the stage winner, in 24th place.

How Cadel Evans Fared:
BMC Racing Team leader Cadel Evans was among several riders who lost contact with the front group in the final 10 km of the finishing climb. The 2011 winner of Tirreno-Adriatico went on to finish 56th, 8:39 back, in a group that included teammates Philippe Gilbert, Steve Morabito and Michael Schär.

In The Overall Standings:
Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) held onto the overall lead while Contador climbed from 11th to second, 16 seconds back. Quintana is third, 23 seconds behind. Hermans is the leading BMC Racing Team rider in the overall standings, 1:22 behind, in 17th place.

What Hermans Said:
"I am happy with the legs – my form is there. If Cadel had a good day, I would be there to help him. That was the goal I had for this race. I am not so happy that I could not finish in the top 10 because that is the only thing that counts. Maybe tomorrow, I will have another chance. I hope it is another result. It is another climb and much steeper. Maybe it will suit me better."

What Sport Director Valerio Piva Said:
"It was good news (the results of Hermans and Nerz) because those are two young, talented riders. We were ready to help Cadel and the plan was to stay around him. He is our leader and our captain. During the race, he was not feeling so good. He told those two guys to keep the chances. He was dropped on the second-to-last climb and then he came back. But he was not there with his condition. He told me tomorrow is another day."

Listen to complete comments from Hermans and Piva on the BMC Racing Team Audio Line.

See photos from the race in the BMC Racing Team's Flickr gallery.

Watch videos from the race on the BMC Racing Team's YouTube channel.