Brutal day results in 54 DNFs at Tirreno-Adriatico

Peter Sagan was one of the few riders who didn't need to dismount up the Muro di Sant'Elpidio - but not everyone had his strength. (Sirotti)

It was a scene more reminiscent of a day in hell than a professional race; a brutally tough Tirreno-Adricato stage where riders had to tackle the 27 per cent Muro di Sant'Elpidio three times in cold and wet conditions, too much for many which saw a third of the peloton abandon,  and many riders forced to walk their bikes up the steep incline.

This isn't the first time RCS Sport, the organisers of Tirreno-Adriatico, have come under fire from riders and commentators alike after skirting the line of entertainment and legitimate racing. The 2011 Giro d'Italia was famous for its legendary, bordering on punishing parcours, and Milan-San Remo has become hillier in recent years to toughen up its already marathon distance.

But even the RCS head honcho Michele Acquarone admitted that the stage was a leap too far after seeing huge attrition and only 108 riders finish.

Riders took to twitter after the race to share their battle stories.

If there was an award for the most valiant ride of the day it would have gone to BMC's Taylor Phinney who battled on to the finish the stage, only to finish outside of the time cut and lose his opportunity to race in the final time trial.

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