Russian Alexandr Arekeev of Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo nailed his first win in Tirreno-Adriatico stage 2 after four years as a professional. The 24 year-old took the tough road to achieve the victory, which also garnered him the leader's jersey; he spent 202 kilometres off the front of the peloton.
Arekeev, from Izhevsk, the same city of Pavel Tonkov, went away immediately with small group after the race had started. Not satisfied with his chances in a sprint into Marsciano, he dropped his companions at 13 kilometres from the line and finished solo by 29 seconds over Daniele Contrini (Tinkoff Credit Systems).
A final overall winner could materialise today. The riders face a 213 kilometre stage from Marsciano to Macerata. They will cross the Passo del Cornello (813m in height) mid-way through the stage before arriving on the closing circuits, which include four climbs up to Macerata (2600m long, averaging 7.2% gradient, with a maximum of 12%). The final ascent to the finish should see an explosion in the lead pack.
"I am not how I was in California," said World Champion Bettini, who won a stage in the USA race, to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "The crash in Milano-Torino did not give me much pain and this arrival [stage 3] is ideal for me."
Bettini's former teammate, Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas), added, "I want to give it a try. Macerata seems difficult but with the condition I have I am curious how I will go. The most dangerous rider? I say Oscar Freire. He is going strong."
Ivan Basso, in his first race back in Italy since being linked to Operación Puerto, commented, "I am still lacking condition with respect to the others and I am less explosive. I don't know if I can hold their rhythm. ... I prefer the time trial [stage five] and the mountain top finish on Monday [stage six]."