The final act of this year's star-studded Tirreno-Adriatico sees Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) and Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) clash in the 9.1km out-and-back time trial on the seafront of San Benedetto del Tronto.
Martin is the world time trial champion and arguably the favourite. However Cancellara is looking to celebrate his birthday in style and Wiggins is out to prove that he is on form despite no longer being a stage-race contender.
Other possible contenders for the stage victory include Michael Hepburn and Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge), Giro d'Italia time trial winner Alex Dowsett and Adriano Malori (Movistar) and early Tirreno-Adriatico leader Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), who beat Martin and Contador in the 13km Volta ao Algarve trial three weeks ago.
Martin won the same stage last year at Tirreno-Adriatico and wants another victory to complete Omega Pharma's week of success.
"I know the stage from last year, it was a good win. So, I'm pretty motivated," he told Cyclingnews.
"It looks like the same parcours from the book. I had a good feeling there last year. I think it suits me really well. I saw that my condition is good and I've recovered from the previous two mountain stages. There is some power left. I am focused and I really would like to go for my first individual time trial victory this year."
Cancellara celebrates his 33rd birthday today but hinted that he has lost the motivation for time trials, preferring to save his physical and mental energy for the Classics. However the flat course perfectly suits his power and aggression.
"I will try to get the best out of myself but I haven't been thinking about the time trial all week during the other stages,' he admitted.
"Time trials don’t interest me as much as they once did. I don’t get the same feeling of happiness and satisfaction that I once did. I'm not ashamed to say that because it’s the truth."
Wiggins has kept a low profile at Tirreno-Adriatico but has shown he is on form.
"I had a good team time trial and a lot of my training has been about making short, intense efforts for making efforts at Paris-Roubaix, so that's good for time trialing too," he told Cyclingnews.
"I'd like to win but lots of other riders are thinking the same thing. Tony Martin is the world champion and beat me in Florence. Cancellara is an excellent time trialist too. There's incredibly high level here. I can only promise that I'll give 100 per cent to try and win."
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