Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) was unsure of his form coming into Tirreno-Adriatico but was quietly pleased with his ride in the opening time trial after gaining eight seconds on Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and 10 seconds on Nairo Quintana (Movistar).
Nibali has yet to finish in the top 10 this season, while Contador was impressive at the Ruta del Sol and Quintana was strong at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina. He revealed that he has done more kilometres in training during the winter but is building gradually for the Tour de France – his big goal of 2015.
Nibali set a time of 6:15 for the flat and fast 5.4km course around Lido di Camaiore. He was 11 seconds slower than winner Adriano Malori (Movistar) but that was the same time as time trial expert Michael Hepburn (Orica-GreenEdge), teammate Lieuwe Westra and Jesse Sergent (Trek Factory Racing). His work on his time trial position and technique with bike sponsor Specialized seems to be paying off.
The Sicilian seemed to shy away from a head to head battle with Contador when speaking in the pre-race press conference on Tuesday. He was pleased with his time trial but continued to be cautious when speaking to Cyclingnews after the the stage.
The Astana team has often tried to shield Nibali from the media after the explosion of the team’s licence problems with the UCI. However, he seems relatively unperturbed by events and spoke briefly to Cyclingnews as he rode back to his hotel.
“It was a good day and I’ve earned some seconds, so I suppose it’s a good day,” he said, also stopping to sign a few autographs with cycling fans.
“It was a very short, explosive time trial and I just gave it my all. I’m happy with today but I know it could badly tomorrow. We’ll see what happens in the rest of the race. I’m taking this race day by day. I’m not building up my hopes and I’m not expecting too much from myself. I don’t think I have to get a result, I don’t think I need to win this race.”