Horner calculates to hold Tirreno-Adriatico lead
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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Horner calculates to hold Tirreno-Adriatico lead

by VeloNation Press at 5:09 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tirreno-Adriatico
 
American rider gives a little leeway to Nibali

Chris HornerRadioShack Nissan’s Chris Horner defended his race lead in the face of some big attacks today, holding onto the blue jersey at Tirreno-Adriatico despite two big rivals inching closer.

Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas Cannondale) attacked hard on the final climb to the Prati di Tivo, hitting the line sixteen seconds ahead and also picking up a time bonus.

Horner finished on the wheel of Roman Kreuziger (Astana), who helped drive the chase before nabbing the bonus for second.

The net result was that the latter is now just five seconds off Horner’s overall time, with Nibali twelve seconds adrift.

Horner explained afterwards that he had to calculate and work out what leeway he could give. “Today was a difficult stage with so many tactics going on. I think three of us really had good legs: me, Nibali and Kreuziger.

“In the final kilometers when Nibali went, I had to decide which card to play since there were so many bonus seconds available on the line,” he said. “If I chased Nibali too hard but faded at the end, Kreuziger would have gained more seconds than just the bonus seconds, so I decided to give away something to Nibali to better protect the jersey.”

He explained that a lack of steep sections on the climb meant that it was difficult for him to try to gain time.

The race continues with a 181 kilometre stage to Offida. It concludes on Tuesday with a 9.3-kilometer time trial; Horner believes the latter will be the more decisive.

“I haven’t really looked at tomorrow’s stage yet to see if there are dangerous sections but I think it will all come down to the TT,” he said, declining to make preditions. “I think Kreuziger and myself are pretty well matched in that department. It could go either way.”

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