RadioShack-Nissan's Chris Horner held onto the overall race lead on an attack-laden stage 6 of Tirreno-Adriatico, and now has only a 9.3km time trial standing between himself and the final race victory.
The American was isolated in the finale in Offido, but profited from the efforts of Liquigas-Cannondale's Peter Sagan, who neutralized the gap to stage winner Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) at the line. However, Vincenzo Nibali's second place on the stage moved him within six seconds of Horner's lead.
"It was again a very difficult day," Horner said, according to his team. "This course wasn't suited to me. You come into the bottom to a complete stop and then you have to accelerate out of the last corner very hard up a steep grade. It's not super steep, just a long drag. When Rodriquez went, I thought it was Oscar Freire until I got to the podium. It was that kind of stage."
Ahead of the final time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto, Horner has a five-second advantage on Astana's Roman Kreuziger and six on Nibali. Should he succeed in bringing home the final blue winner's jersey, it will be the first WorldTour victory for Horner since the 2010 Tour of the Basque Country.
"It's going to be an exciting race for tomorrow," said Horner. "We have three very, very strong riders all very close on GC. I'm sure the fans will get to watch a good race. I'd like to go to bed early but that probably won't happen so maybe I can sleep in late," he said.
"Life goes on whether you win or lose for sure. So I'll try to relax tonight and then in the morning as the race approaches, hopefully I'll remain calm and easy."