Italian time trial expert Adriano Malori has admitted he will have to adapt both mentally and physically if he is to compete for a medal in the time trial at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
The Movistar rider was beaten by Vasil Kiryienka by just nine seconds in this year’s World Championships in Richmond after leading for much of the race, with the final climb proving fatal for his hopes of winning the rainbow jersey. He appears ready to lose weight and work on his climbing to have a shot at a medal next August.
Malori won four time trials during the 2015 season, including the prologue at Tirreno-Adriatico. He also dominated the Italian time trial championships. Malori's World Championship success was the first time that an Italian rider had won a medal in the event since Andrea Chiurato won a silver medal in Agrigento in 1994. He is currently Italy’s best time trialist and has the backing of national coach Davide Cassani. However, he knows the hilly Rio time trial course is better suited to lighter time trialists, such as Chris Froome, who recently traveled to Rio to see the time trial and road race courses. Other contenders for medals in Rio include Tom Domoulin of the Netherlands, Tony Martin of Germany and Australia's Rohan Dennis.
With Nairo Quintana targeting the Tour de France, Malori is likely to ride the Giro d'Italia along side Alejandro Valverde. The 2016 Giro d'Italia includes three time trials, two of which suit Malori's abilities against the clock, especially the 9.8-km prologue in Apeldoorn, in the Netherlands.
“Unfortunately I’ve seen the Olympic course and I’ve got to admit that it’s doesn’t exactly suit my characteristics. However, I know the Olympics is a special opportunity and so I’ll have to be able to adapt both mentally and with my legs,” Malori told Gazzetta dello Sport, after collecting an award in his home town of Parma for his success in 2015 from former world champion and local resident Vittorio Adorni.
Malori admitted that the final climb on the Richmond course cost him the world title. “I thought I was going to win right to the very end of the race but unfortunately Kiryienka was better than me on the final climb,” he said. “He gained the nine seconds time difference on the very last climb.”
Cassani knows that Italy has few time trial experts capable of competing for medals. He believes Malori has a chance of winning the world title on a flat course in Qatar rather than an Olympic medal in Rio.
“Adriano has finally had a great worlds and now he’s recognised as one of the best time trialist in Italy and the world,” Cassani said. “We’ve got to carefully study the Rio time trial course because it includes a tough climb and so is less suited to a power rider like Adriano. However the worlds is flat and so its perfect for him. He’s got a chance of winning gold in Qatar. He’s improved a lot, with his increased cadence a clear sign that he’s worked on his weaknesses. Now’s he got to study every detail of what he does to do even better.”