Monday's second place finish on the penultimate stage of Tirreno-Adriatico has given Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) no shortage of confidence ahead of the 9.3 kilometre final time trial later today in San Benedetto del Tronto. The Italian said that finishing second had "felt like a win" because of the six-second time bonus he received, putting him to within six seconds of Chris Horner's overall lead.
The time trial to come is a flat "drag-race" style hot dog circuit which combined with the short distance will mean any time gaps will be small. Nibali is a noted time triallist and with the form displayed over the past few days is confident that he can overtake Horner.
"I think for me, getting the seconds I did only fuels that 'psychological advantage' that comes with hunting someone down. Everyday I've been getting closer, and I've been feeding off that."
The Italian added that he believes the bigger concern is Roman Kreuziger (Astana), who as a former teammate he holds in high regard. One thing he did clarify was his relationship with Peter Sagan, which had reportedly been strained when the Slovak won stage 4 and arguably denied Nibali of precious bonus seconds. The Italian was openly praising Sagan on Monday, who he explained deserved a special mention.
"Sagan was fantastic today," said Nibali. "Today was a day that really suited him and he could've gone for the stage himself, but instead worked for me to get the seconds I needed. I can't thank him, or the team as a whole enough. I want to pay him back by winning [the GC] tomorrow."