Breakthrough sprint for Matteo Pelucchi

Sometimes we see supersprints that herald the arrival of a great new sprinters. A few years ago a sprint win right here in Tirreno was the start point for a few seasons of top results for Tyler Farrar. Today it was IAM Cycling's Matteo Pelucchi who came from "nowhere" to come around bigshots like Greipel and Sagan to win his first Tirreno stage.

Of course you can never tell with these things, everyone remembers Francesco Chicchi going ballistic in Qatar only to follow it up with years of poor positioning and disappointing results. But Pelucchi has been building up to this , last year with a ton of near podiums but just one win. Could he be banging on the door to be one of the top sprinters this year? His speed over the last 200 meters today says he just might.

Otherwise it was an odd finish today. The two predicted top favorites were never a factor, Kittel after a tantrum-inducing crash and Cav after getting conspicuously stuck in traffic. Powerhouses like Greipel and Sagan just ran out of steam a few meters too early and FDJ failed to convert an impressive leadout into a win as Demáre was launched just a tad too early and couldn't hold on when Pelucchi came blasting by.

In the end Cavendish held on to the leaders jersey and as far as we know Kittel was more or less unharmed, which is more than can be said for his Giant bike which got the Hulk Hogan treatment. Re-match for the bigs tomorrow.

Today's Top 10

  1. Matteo Pelucchi, IAM Cycling
  2. Arnaud Demáre, FDJ
  3. André Greipel, Lotto-Belisol
  4. Sam Bennett, NetApp-Endura
  5. Peter Sagan, Cannondale
  6. Davide Appolloni, Ag2r
  7. Filippo Fortin, Bardiani CSF
  8. Sascha Modolo, Lampre-Merida
  9. Tony Hurel, Europcar
  10. Kristian Sbaragli, MTN Qubeka

All photos by Giuseppe Bellini - Velo/Getty Images

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