FILOTTRANO, Italy — Adam Yates soloed to victory in the fifth stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico race on Sunday, while Michal Kwiatkowski finished third to take the overall lead with just two stages remaining.
Yates attacked with about four kilometres remaining of the hilly 178-kilometre (110-mile) route from Castelraimondo to Michele Scarponi’s hometown of Filottrano — and no one could catch him.
The British rider crossed the line seven seconds ahead of Peter Sagan and Kwiatkowski.
"In climbs like this, you just go hard and give as much as you can," Yates said. "I tried to attack after my teammates positioned me well at the bottom of the hill. All I could do was to attack. It fell into place. I don’t have a sprint to beat Sagan, I had to go away."
The stage finish was a tribute to Scarponi, who died after a collision with a van while training, shortly before the Giro d’Italia last year.
"I didn’t know Michele Scarponi personally. I never spoke to him. But it was an emotional day for many guys in the peloton," Yates said. "It’s just a shame he’s not here anymore. Every day you go out training and you don’t know if you’ll come back."
Kwiatkowski moved three seconds ahead of previous leader Damiano Caruso, with Mikel Landa 20 seconds further back.
"I wasn’t aiming at being in my best shape at Tirreno-Adriatico, my priority was to prepare for the classics, but it’s an opportunity not to be missed if I can win the overall here," Kwiatkowski said.
Kwiatkowski’s Team Sky teammate Chris Froome, the four-time Tour de France winner, had a puncture with 5.6 kilometres remaining and finished more than eight minutes behind Yates.
Team Sunweb’s miserable week continued as another rider was forced to abandon the race with injuries.
After Tom Dumoulin and Simon Geschke, it was the turn of Wilco Kelderman who abandoned with a fractured shoulder after two crashes.
Kelderman started the stage just 11 seconds behind Caruso.
The sixth and penultimate stage on Monday is another hilly challenge, along the 153-kilometre (95-mile) route from Numana before ending in a sprint finish in Fano.
The race ends Tuesday with an individual time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto.