Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara rode a trouble-free final stage in Italy's Tirreno-Adriatico to claim the overall victory for his Team CSC. Cancellara entered the 176 kilometre finale some 16 seconds ahead of Enrico Gasparotto (Barloworld), a margin he maintained over the Italian to the end.
"I didn't actually come to Tirreno expecting to win the race, but when the opportunity came along of course I went for it," explained Cancellara. "It's an important victory in itself and it's a great result for both me and the team."
The Italian victory was an extra special present for Cancellara, with rider celebrating not only his victory but his 27th birthday as well.
"It got a bit tough towards the end, when it started to rain, but luckily everything went according to plan and we have every reason to celebrate tonight," he said. "And after that I've got a couple of days to rest before Milano-Sanremo.
Sports director Lars Michaelsen was obviously delighted with the team's efforts in Terreno-Adriatico. Michaelsen said the victory bodes well for the upcoming classic season, during which Team CSC hopes to be a major contender.
"There's no doubt that to be able to win a race like Tirreno-Adriatico takes both a certain amount of skill as well as a good portion of stubbornness," said Michaelsen. "But although you possess those qualities you also have to have your team behind you otherwise it won't work, which was the case for us. This is a great indication for the oncoming races and it just goes to show that Team CSC also has a number of other brilliant riders besides Fabian."
"This victory is the best possible kick-off ahead of the classics," he added. "It's given us a great confidence boost and lifted our spirits in a big way."