Julian Alaphilippe snatched a surprise stage 6 win in Jesi, transitioning from lead out man into sprinter when teammate Elia Viviani found himself disconnected from the Deceuninck-Quick-Step train on the finishing straight.
The Frenchman topped Davide Cimolai of Israel Cycling Academy at the line to snag his second stage victory of the race so far. Viviani took third on the day. Alaphilippe said afterward that his teammate had given him the green light on the to try his own luck in the slightly uphill finale.
“We wanted to do a good lead out for Elia, but he told me in the last lap that if I wanted to try the sprint… so I said, okay, I will be your last lead out man,” Alaphilippe said after the victory. “Maximiliano Richeze did a really impressive last big pull and I was right behind him. I saw the line at 200 meters to go and I just went full gas.”
The 195-kilometer stage from Matelica featured some climbing in the first half of the day, but a bunch sprint always seemed the likely outcome. The last survivors of the early breakaway, José Joaquín Rojas of Movistar and Davide Ballerini of Astana, were caught inside the final five kilometers to set up the expected sprint—with an unexpected winner.
The Deceuninck-Quick-Step train was in pole position for the finale, but there was a hectic battle for the last wheel among the sprinters behind. Greg Van Avermaet tried to steal a march on the field with around 300 meters to go, but Richeze was too fast for the Belgian to make any headway.
Alaphilippe hit the front at top speed as Richeze pulled off. With Viviani still weaving his way through sprint traffic behind, Alaphilippe pushed on and narrowly held off Cimolai to take the win.
“I know I can do a sprint, especially in a final like this, with a hard day before,” Alaphilippe said. “My team did a really impressive job all day to control the stage, especially in the final laps.”
Mitchelton-Scott’s Adam Yates finished safely in the peloton to retain his general classification lead as the final stage – a 10-kilometer time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto – looms. Yates sits 25 seconds ahead of Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) on the overall leaderboard, with Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) in third, 35 seconds down.