Martin wins final time trial, Nibali holds off Froome to take Tirreno-Adriatico
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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Martin wins final time trial, Nibali holds off Froome to take Tirreno-Adriatico

by Shane Stokes at 12:07 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Tirreno-Adriatico
Contador deposes Rodriguez and edges out Kwiatkowski for third overall

Vicenzo NibaliVincenzo Nibali sealed his second successive Tirreno-Adriatico victory with a solid performance today, following up his jersey-seizing break on stage six with another good performance on the final stage of the race.

The Italian started the day 34 seconds clear of Chris Froome and while the Olympic TT bronze medallist has a more impressive recent record against the clock, the short 9.2 kilometre distance gave him little scope to make up that deficit.

So it proved, with Froome riding strongly to net sixth on the stage, covering the distance in ten minutes 40 seconds. Nibali took just eleven seconds longer, though, thus ensuring a final winning GC margin of 23 seconds.

Alberto Contador finished four seconds behind Nibali in fifteenth place, with this performance being enough to keep him one second clear of former race leader Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step).

The significance of that was that the rider who had been third overall this morning, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) could only finish 33rd, and was consequently bumped out of that podium position by Contador.

Quickest in the battle for the stage victory was world time trial champion Tony Martin, who showed off his rainbow stripes in style. He scorched around the course in 10 minutes and 25 seconds, beating Adriano Malori (Lampre-Merida) by six seconds. Movistar’s Andrey Amador was a further four seconds adrift.

Former world and 2008 Olympic TT champion Fabian Cancellara wasn’t able to trouble Martin in the test and had to be satisfied with fourth.

He said recently that the Classics would be a much greater focus for him this year than time trials, and so he’ll hope for a bigger result than that in Sunday’s Milan-Sanremo.

Commenting on his win, Martin likened the parcours to that of a prologue. “I prefer the longer time trials, but I really liked this route. It was not too technical, and we were lucky with the weather, so everything was really fine,” he said. “I expected a really big fight with Cancellara, although in the end Malori was my closest rival. But I’ve won and I’m really happy.”

Martin confirmed that his big season target is to take a third consecutive world TT championship crown. Beecause of that, he’s building form gradually and was happy with how things played out. “This is my first time at Tirreno-Adriatico. I really liked this race, and a week of challenging climbs was very important for my conditioning. As for my performance during the stages that weren't time trials, it went better day to day,” he said.

“I still need some time to improve in the mountains, but it is very early in the season. For the moment, I am very happy with this stage win, and also the good GC placement of Michal Kwiatkowski. He really deserved it.”

Nibali said before the race he wasn’t sure if he would contend for the final win as he felt he likely wasn’t in the same form as last year. However things worked out perfectly for him, and he will be able to take home his second Tirreno-Adriatico trident.

“After yesterday, today’s stage was a big one. There were one or two difficult corners win the rain, and I preferred to take no risks,” he said.

“It was a great Tirreno - Adiratico, and it gives me great personal satisfaction to win against riders of the quality of Contador and Froome, like in the great three-week races.”

How it played out:

Utterly flat and just 9.2 kilometres in length, the final day time trial in Tirreno-Adriatico seemed certain to see some very quick times from the lies of Tony Martin (Omega Pharma Quick Step) and another wearer of the rainbow jersey, Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard). Both are big riders who are adept at lugging huge gears around and, on a course bereft of any hills, they would not be disadvantaged at any point vis-à-vis lighter rivals.

Early rain meant that the course was wet, but drying out. Jens Mouris (Orica GreenEdge) held the quickest time for quite a while, but this was improved upon by RadioShack Leopard’s Hayden Roulston and, very soon afterwards, by Cancellara himself.

The Swiss rider clocked a time of ten minutes 37 seconds and seemed set for a long stint in the hotseat. This proved not to be the case, however, as Adriano Malori (Lampre Merida) soon went six seconds quicker, taking over at the top.

Others tried to depose him but while Alex Dowsett (Movistar), Dario Cataldo (Sky) and others gave it everything, they were not quick enough to seriously trouble Malori.

The Italian had a nervous wait, though, as world champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma Quick Step) was yet to finish and would be the man to beat. He was two seconds behind at the intermediate checkpoint, but ramped up his speed in the second half of the test and roared home six seconds clear.

Those off behind him did what they could but the closest anyone came to him and Malori was Andrey Amador (Movistar), who was quicker than Cancellara’s time but ten seconds off the win.

Even if the stage victory was looking unlikely, the GC riders still had everything to race for. Former race leader Michal Kwiatkowski is strong against the clock and knew a podium finish was possible. He floored it during his test and notched up what would be the eighth fastest time of the day, but crucially ended up a second behind Alberto Contador (Team Saxo Tinkoff) in the overall standings.

The latter had looked to be in with a shout of winning the race overall until yesterday, but slipped back to fourth overall when he missed out on the winning break of Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha).

His ambition today was to go eyeballs out, set the best time possible and see if that put him on the podium; his fifteenth place did just that, with Joaquim Rodriguez finishing thirteen seconds slower and dropping behind Contador and Kwiatkowski into fifth.

The Nibali-Froome battle was the most important one, though, and while the Sky rider dug deep, he never looked like getting back enough time to strip the Italian of his blue jersey. His ten minute 40 seconds was good enough for sixth on the stage, while Nibali’s time earned him twelfth and kept him 23 seconds clear in the final overall standings.

He’s highly motivated after the success, and his eyes on Sunday’s upcoming Classic. “After this Tirreno – Adriatico, I can say I’m in good shape. I’ll be there to play my cards at Milan – Sanremo,” he stated. “I’ll try to ride a good race. It’s hard to make predictions and it doesn’t really suit my characteristics because I don’t have a good sprint finish, but I’ll have to invent something.”

Tirreno-Adriatico, Italy (WorldTour)

Stage 7, San Benedetto del Tronto time trial:

1, Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) 9.2 kilometres in 10 mins 25 secs
2, Adriano Malori (Lampre-Merida) at 6 secs
3, Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (Movistar Team) at 10 secs
4, Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard) at 12 secs
5, Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Movistar Team) at 14 secs
6, Christopher Froome (Sky Procycling) at 15 secs
7, Hayden Roulston (RadioShack Leopard) at 20 secs
8, Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) at 21 secs
9, Dario Cataldo (Sky Procycling) at 23 secs
10, Alex Dowsett (Movistar Team) same time
11, Tom Dumoulin (Team Argos-Shimano) at 24 secs
12, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Pro Team) at 26 secs

Final general classification:

1, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Pro Team) 28 hours 8 mins 17 secs
2, Christopher Froome (Sky Procycling) at 23 secs
3, Alberto Contador Velasco (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) at 52 secs
4, Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) at 53 secs
5, Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Katusha) at 54 secs
6, Christopher Horner (RadioShack Leopard) at 1 min 21 secs
7, Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) at 2 mins 3 secs
8, Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (Movistar Team) at 2 mins 42 secs
9, Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre-Merida) at 3 mins 19 secs
10, Wout Poels (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team) at 3 mins 35 secs


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