Alberto Contador wins Tirreno-Adriatico; Adriano Malori beats world's best to win ITT
Movistar's Italian rider beats world's best against the clock
Alberto Contador of Tinkoff-Saxo has sealed the overall victory in the 2014 Tirreno-Adriatico. Nairo Quintana of Movistar held onto second place overall in today’s Stage 7 time trial on the Adriatic coast, heading off a challenge from Contador’s team mate, Roman Kreuziger, who finishes third overall. Movistar’s Adriano Malori won the stage.
Former Italian time trial champion Malori’s time of 10 minutes 13 seconds over the flat 9.1km course in San Benedetto del Tronto eclipsed those set by the three best time trial riders in the world.
Fabian Cancellara of Trek Factory Racing was second, 6 seconds back, with Team Sky’s Sir Bradley Wiggins third a further 5 seconds behind and Tony Martin, world champion and winner of the same stage 12 months ago, a further 4 seconds down in fourth place.
British champion Alex Dowsett, winner of a time trial stage in last year’s Giro d’Italia, finished sixth, 20 seconds behind his Movistar team-mate.
Afterwards, the 26-year-old Malori described his win as “the biggest of my career.” It’s his second time trial victory of the season – in January he won on a longer course of 19.2km at the Tour de San Luis, and one that will no doubt give him confidence on bigger stages in future.
It’s always dangerous to read too much into early-season results, and this was a stage that Malori specifically targeted while for the other riders, it needs to be put into the context of their overall programmes – Cancellara, for example, is looking to build his form ahead of the Classics.
The same holds true for the general classification, with Contador sending a signal to his rivals for this summer’s Tour de France in pulling off an emphatic victory. It’s one he needed, however – his first in a stage race since the 2012 Vuelta.
For Quintana, runner-up to Sky’s Chris Froome in last year’s Tour de France, the big target this year is the Giro d’Italia. That race starts in Belfast in a little over a month and a half, so not only is he riding to a different programme than Contador, but arguably there was less pressure on him to get the win.
That’s not to underplay Contador’s dominance on GC against a very strong field, taking back-to-back wins on the two summit finish stages at the weekend, especially Sunday when he launched a stunning attack to take the overall lead.
He wins the overall by 2 minutes 5 seconds from Quintana, who topped the best young riders classification.
Cannondale’s Peter Sagan, who heads to Sunday’s Milan San-Remo as one of the favourites, takes the points jersey, while Bardiani-CSF’s Marco Canola is the winner of the mountains classification.