Vincenzo Nibali of Astana has won Tirreno Adriatico for the second year running. The Italian lost 11 seconds to Team Sky's Chris Froome in today's 9.2 kilometre closing time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto, but that only ate up a third of the advantage he held this morning after seizing the race lead yesterday. World champion Tony Martin of Omega Pharma-Quick Step set the quickest time today of 10 minutes 25 seconds, with Adriano Malori of Lampre Merida 6 seconds behind in second place and Andrey Amador of Movistar 4 seconds further back in third.
Exactly 12 months ago in the same town on the Adriatic coast, Nibali, found himself in third place overall prior to the time trial, 1 second behind then Astana rider Roman Kreuziger and 6 down on overnight leader Chris Horner of RadioShack-Nissan, and managed to win the overall by a margin of 14 seconds.
Had Froome lost time, as well as the race lead, on yesterday’s brutal Stage 6 to someone weaker in the time trial, or had today’s parcours been considerably longer, the Team Sky man might have been able to turn the situation around.
Instead, Nibali was confirmed as winner for the second year running, with Froome, sixth fastest today, occupying the runner-up spot, and this week’s performance by the Astana rider, not least in riding himself into the race lead on the penultimate stage, shows why many consider that he will thwart Bradley Wiggins’ dreams of adding the maglia rosa to the maillot jaune in May’s Giro d’Italia.
The bottom step of the podium saw a change in its occupant, however, with Katusha’s Joaquim Rodrigiuez, riding a discipline today that is his Achilles’ heel, ceding third place to Saxo-Tinkoff’s Alberto Contador – although the latter was run very close by best young rider Michal Kwiatowski of Omega Pharma-Quick Step, who closed the gap on him to just one second as he claimed fourth place on GC.
Kwiatowski’s team mate Tony Martin’s winning time of 10 minutes 26 seconds was never threatened, although early starter Malori and third-placed Amador may have surprised many with their performances, putting them ahead of RadioShack-Leopard’s Fabian Cancellara, winner of this stage 12 months ago, placing fourth today.
Tirreno Adriatico Stage 7 result 1. Tony Martin Omega Pharma-Quick Step 10:25 2. Adriano Malori Lampre-Merida at 6 3. Andrey Amador Movistar Team at 10 4. Fabian Cancellara RadioShack-Leopard at 12 5. Jonathan Castroviejo Movistar Team at 14 6. Chris Froome Sky at 15 7. Hayden Roulston RadioShack-Leopard at 20 8. Michal Kwiatkowski Omega Pharma-Quick Step at 21 9. Dario Cataldo Sky at 23 10. Alex Dowsett Movistar Team at 23 Tirreno Adriatico final overall standings 1. Vincenzo Nibali Astana 28:08:17 2. Chris Froome Sky at 23 3. Alberto Contador Team Saxo-Tinkoff at 52 4. Michal Kwiatkowski Omega Pharma-Quick Step at 53 5. Joaquim Rodríguez Katusha at 54 6. Chris Horner RadioShack-Leopard at 1:21 7. Mauro Santambrogio Vini Fantini at 2:03 8. Andrey Amador Movistar Team at 2:42 9. Przemyslaw Niemiec Lampre-Merida at 3:19 10. Wout Poels Vacansoleil-DCM at 3:35
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.