Klöden eyes Scarponi ahead of Tirreno's final testing day

Tirreno-Adriatico race leader Andreas Klöden will keep an eye on Michele Scarponi...

Tirreno-Adriatico race leader Andreas Klöden will keep an eye on Michele Scarponi (Diquigiovanni-Androni) in the race's final testing day. The German of Team Astana has a 21-second overall lead on Italy's Scarponi ahead of a demanding 235-kilometre stage today.

"I think Scarponi is my most dangerous rival," said Klöden to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "He had a great time trial and the parcours of this grand stage is suited to him."

Klöden took over the race lead when he won the 30-kilometre time trial Sunday. He finished 20 seconds up on Stijn Devolder (Quick Step), 21 seconds on Thomas Lövkvist (Columbia-Highroad) and Scarponi.

"The stage was to my liking; always up and down. The first eight kilometres were very difficult."

Today's stage in Le Marche, from Civitanova Marche to Camerino, features only two categorised climbs, but the day contains many unclassified ascents that will test Klöden's overall advantage – six seconds over Lövkvist and 21 seconds on Scarponi. The day ends with a 4.5-kilometre (unclassified) climb to Camerino.

"I have to pay attention to my young rivals as well: Lövkvist and [Vincenzo] Nibali. Scarponi is the danger man, but I will watch out for Di Luca, who I expect will make an attempt to win."

Klöden has the support of six Astana teammates to win Tirreno-Adriatico, which he won in 2007. He also has the encouragement from teammate Lance Armstrong, who is training in southern France. "Good luck today Klodi!" he wrote on his blog website.

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