Klöden's time trial victory propels him into overall lead

Andreas Klöden (Astana) took over the lead in Tirreno-Adriatico with a dominating performance in the...

Andreas Klöden (Astana) took over the lead in Tirreno-Adriatico with a dominating performance in the 30-kilometre time trial to Macerata. With his time of 41:32 he beat his closest rivals, Stijn Devolder (Quick Step) and Thomas Lövkvist (Columbia-Highroad) by over 20 seconds.

Lövkvist is now second overall, just six seconds back. Michele Scarponi (Diquigiovanni-Androni) lies third, at 21 seconds, ahead of Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo) at 41 seconds.

An exhausted Klöden was quite happy at the finish. "This was a nice time trial for me. The parcours was good for me with lots of ups and downs and a flat part in the middle. The finish was hard, though." Klöden was pensive about Monday's queen stage. "We'll see, it's a long and hard stage. Lövkvist is a good rider, who has a good team."

Lövkvist said he and his team would like to find the weak spots of Klöden's Astana team. "But he is a strong rider," said Lövkvist, returning the compliments from the German.

Garzelli was within his expectations. "I knew I would lose a little bit of time compared to the others." But his 41 seconds wasn't bad and he was more concerned about tomorrow's stage. "It will be a beautiful stage. It is a long and hard day. It will be difficult to attack Klöden." However, Garzelli indicated he planned on doing just that.

Young rider classification leader and second overall Julien El Farès (Cofidis) unsurprisingly lost time today, 2:42 to be exact. "I am not a specialist, I just tried to limit my losses. I did all I could and I just couldn't have gone any faster." El Farès dropped to fifth in the young rider rankings and to 16th overall.

Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) moved into second of the young rider classification, despite also saying that he is not a specialist. "This was a tough time trial, especially the beginning was very hard."

He rated his team's chances in the overall as decent. "Ivan is feeling good, I am feeling good – tomorrow we'll try something." Nibali is sixth overall, 1:07 down on Klöden. Basso is eighth, 1:25 back.

The tough parcours made it easier for some of the climbers. Robert Gesink finished sixth, 40 seconds behind Klöden.

Another rider happy to have completed the race was Linus Gerdemann (Milram). He crashed heavily last year, but had no trouble today and clocked in at 42:30, 58 seconds down and in ninth spot.

The race continues tomorrow with the longest stage, 235 kilometres between Civitanova Marche and Camerino, featuring two classified climbs.

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