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Ben Hermans fought his way to the top of the finishing climb. (©Sirotti.)
Ben Hermans fought his way to the top of the finishing climb. (©Sirotti.)

Tirreno-Adriatico, Stage 5: Hermans's Pursuit

16. March 2014

A puncture stalled Ben Hermans's chase of the leaders Sunday at Tirreno-Adriatico and the BMC Racing Team rider remained 17th overall with two days of the race to go.

The Course:
Departing Amatrice, a steep wall of a climb in Guardiagrele awaited the peloton 192 kilometers later. Only 600 meters, the climb averaged 22 percent and was 30 percent at its steepest points.

The Day's Breakaway:
Eight riders enjoyed a 12-minute lead at one point. But over the top of the penultimate climb, only three remained: David De La Cruz (Team NetApp-Endura), Simon Geschke (Team Giant-Shimano) and Ben King (Garmin-Sharp). The trio was caught with eight kilometers to go by Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol).

The Key Move:
Contador attacked out of the group that contained previous race leader Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) with 32 km to go. On his way to the leading trio, he swept up Hansen, who had been part of the original breakaway. The pair led Kwiatkowski by 3:30 topping the penultimate climb. 

The Finish:
King left the group of the five leaders with two kilometers to go. But Contador – with Geschke in tow – chased him down, passed him and eventually left Geschke to solo to his second consecutive stage win. Geschke was second, six seconds later and King arrived in third, 45 seconds after Contador.

Best For The BMC Racing Team:
Hermans had been in a group chasing the leaders on the penultimate climb, but his puncture at the bottom of the ascent to the finish was a setback. He finished 28th, 3:52 behind.

In The Overall Standings:
Contador leads Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) by 2:08 and his Tinkoff-Saxo teammate Roman Kreuziger is third, 2:15 behind. Hermans is 5:08 behind while Dominik Nerz is the BMC Racing Team's next best-placed rider in 24th, 6:31 behind.

What Ben Hermans Said:
"Unfortunately, I was dropped quickly on the long climb, so I had to ride my own pace. I received help from Cadel Evans and even from Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing). Because I rode my own pace I was able to pass the other riders one-by-one. When I eventually saw Kwiatkowski riding in front of me, it gave me strength. Also, (BMC Racing Team Sport Director) Valerio Piva informed me from the team car that I was getting closer. When I reached the top, I went full gas in the downhill because you don't waste a lot of power there. I made a gap and I was on my way to the other group. But then I hit a rock and I had a puncture on my front wheel. I lost touch again and I had to start chasing again. Because of that, I came up short in the end."

What Sport Director Valerio Piva Said:
"The team was around Ben and Cadel was working for him to bring him into a good position because he was a little bit lost at the beginning of the climb. But with the help of Cadel, Ben came back. He made a very good chase and, at the top of the Passo Lanciano, he was not far from the group of Quintana. He was unbelievable in the downhill but then he had the puncture and was unable to catch that group."

Listen to complete comments from Hermans (in Dutch) 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 YouTube channel.