Michele Scarponi has a strong Diquigiovanni-Androni team-backing heading into Tirreno-Adriatico's toughest day. Two-time Giro d'Italia champion Gilberto Simoni and Classics champion Davide Rebellin will be support him on his home roads in Le Marche.
"With Rebellin at my side anything is possible," said Scarponi to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "We are a strong team and this hard stage is suited to us. We will come up with something to upset [Andrea] Klöden's lead."
The riders face the race's most demanding stage today in Le Marche, 235 kilometres. Two categorised climbs – Cingoli and Sasso Tetto – and many unmarked smaller climbs will explode the overall classification by this evening. The final rankings will likely be the same when the race ends after tomorrow's sprinters' stage in San Benedetto del Tronto.
Klöden maintains the leader classification's blue jersey by six seconds on Lövkvist and 21 seconds on Scarponi. However, there are six riders within 1:07 of the overall lead.
Scarponi moved from 10th to third overall after Sunday's 30-kilometre time trial. It was a surprise performance by the rider from Jesi.
"I have never finished so well in a time trial. Certainly, racing on home roads was important, but it was not enough. This result is the proof of the hard work over the winter.
"I raced the prologue of the Ruta del Sol this year, but I can't recall my last true crono. Even if I don't have the body of a true time trial rider, I am capable of pulling off a good run."
The time of 41:53 almost didn't happen. The team's manager, Gianni Savio, woke up Scarponi from a nap only two minutes before his start time.
"I lost track of time. Luckily Savio came and woke me up; he saved my time trial."