Defending champion Vincenzo Nibali took the overall lead from Chris Froome, while Peter Sagan won the penultimate stage of the weeklong Tirreno-Adriatico race on Monday.
Nibali attacked on a dangerous downhill section during the rainy 209km leg that started and finished in Porto Sant’Elpidio. The Italian was joined by Sagan and Joachin Rodriguez for the final section and Sagan easily won the three-man sprint.
Sagan, a Slovakian with the Cannondale team, clocked 5 hours, 45 minutes, 17 seconds for his second stage win of the race. Nibali finished second and Rodriguez crossed third, both two seconds behind, while Froome did not make the top 10.
Nibali took a 34-second lead over Froome, the Tour de France runner-up, into yesterday’s concluding 9.2km individual time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto.
“I have to thank the weather,” Nibali said. “When it rains I’m always able to offer something extra, although I had two great breakaway companions today. Tomorrow is a big time trial and I hope I can do as well as I did today.”
Rodriguez moved up to third overall, 37 seconds back, while Alberto Contador dropped to fourth, 48 seconds behind.
Results from the sixth stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico:
1. Peter Sagan, Slovakia, 5 hours, 45 minutes, 17 seconds.
2. Vincenzo Nibali, Italy, Astana, two seconds behind.
3. Joaquin Rodriguez, Spain, Katusha, same time.
4. Mauro Santambrogio, Italy, Vini Fantini, :44.
5. Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez, Spain, Euskaltel, same time.