Nibali wins atop Prati di Tivo

Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) took the Tirreno-Adriatico stage victory which had escaped him the previous day, winning the queen stage of the race on the snow-covered Prati di Tivo in a solo effort. Roman Kreuziger of Astana was second, with Christopher Horner (RadioShack-Nissan) on his heels in third place successfully defending his overall lead.

The Italian's attack moved him up to third overall, only five seconds behind Kreuziger and 12 behind Horner.

The favourites had gone up the Tivo together, riding down all serious attacks until Nibali took off with less than 4km remaining. Having been foiled on the fourth stage by his teammate Peter Sagan, Nibali was taking no chances in this stage, securing his stage win and pushing himself up into serious contention for the overall title.

“I’m happy to win today,” said Nibali. “But we’ll have to wait for the time trial to see who wins overall. Twelve seconds is a lot to pull back but we’ll see what happens.

“I knew the central part of the climb was the hardest. Horner went hard there and made a selection. When we caught him I saw that everyone else was catching their breath, so I went for it. I felt good and so did the same effort I did to win the stage in Oman. I’ve been focused on winning Tirreno-Adriatico all week and I want to win it.

“Peter (Sagan) partially accepted his mistake yesterday and he worked hard for me today, which shows there no problem in the team.”

Letting Nibali go was a studied decision by Horner. “In the final kilometers when Nibali went, I had to decide which card to play since there were so many bonus seconds available on the line.  If I chased Nibali too hard but faded at the end, Kreuziger would have gained more seconds than just the bonus seconds, so I decided to give away something to Nibali to better protect the jersey.”

He acknowledged that the race is staying tight. “Part of the problem for today was that there were no steep, steep sections on the climb so it wasn’t quite hard enough to make big separations," he said. "I haven’t really looked at tomorrow’s stage yet to see if there are dangerous sections but I think it will all come down to the TT.  I think Kreuziger and myself are pretty well matched in that department.  It could go either way.” 

Another long break and a climb to the snow

There were three climbs on the day, making this the race's Queen Stage. The Atri came at 63.8, and the Piano Roseto at 161.9, with the snowy Prati di Tivo at the very end.

The day's break was made up of Jens Debusschere (Lotto-Belisol), Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Kristoff Goddaert (AG2R La Mondiale). They pushed out their advantage to over ten minutes, and carried 9:30 over the Piano Roseto.

Liquigas-Cannondale finally started to give chase and the gap came slowly down. With 26 km to go, Goddaert had fallen off the lead, leaving the remaining two to tackle the descent and closing climb alone.

The gap started dropping dramatically on that brutal finishing climb, with first Debusschere and then finally Martinez being absorbed back into the field. The charge was led by Omega Pharma-QuickStep, and with 10km to go, the race came down to about a 25-rider strong peloton.

The first attacks out of the field came with some 8km to go. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) was first to give it a try, but he was snapped up by Paolo Tiralongo of Astana, who just kept on going. The attacks then came fast and furious, as they passed the first snow alongside the road.

Tiralongo held on to his lead, though, as the favourites stayed together in the field and let the others go off the front. Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale) and Vladimir Gusev (Katusha) made a good break to try and catch the Italian, but were unsuccessful.

Horner kept things under control, as Nibali, Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) and Kreuziger, amongst others, formed a group, carefully eying one another. Peter Velits, Omega Pharma-Quick Step's hope for the day, had fallen behind on the climb and finished the day 1:10 down.

With just under 4km to go, Nibali attacked out of the lead group, looking for the win he missed out on the previous day. Tiralongo fell back into the high-powered chase group around Horner.

There was more and more snow on the ground as they approached the summit, but the road was clear and dry and the sun was shining. Nibali was able to slowly build his lead up, second by second.

As he was only 34 seconds down overall, Horner had to keep a close eye on Nibali and when the gap reached 26 seconds with less than 2 km, the American led the serious chase to catch Nibali.

The Liquigas-Cannondale Italian charged under the final km marker, fighting until the last for every possible second. Horner maintained his overall lead by following Kreuziger across the line some 15 seconds later.

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Full Results
1Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale5:46:33
2Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Astana Pro Team0:00:16
3Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack-NissanRow 2 - Cell 2
4Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:00:18
5Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 4 - Cell 2
6Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 5 - Cell 2
7Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale0:00:23
8Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team0:00:37
9Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 8 - Cell 2
10Wout Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:00:53
11Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha Team0:01:08
12Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 11 - Cell 2
13Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:01:11
14Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-QuickstepRow 13 - Cell 2
15Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Acqua & Sapone0:01:15
16Cameron Meyer (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team0:01:22
17Francesco Failli (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia0:01:51
18Jose Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team0:01:59
19Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha TeamRow 18 - Cell 2
20Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:02:38
21Bruno Pires (Por) Team Saxo Bank0:03:05
22Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La MondialeRow 21 - Cell 2
23Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox0:03:12
24Filippo Savini (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox0:03:33
25Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:03:35
26Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes0:03:58
27Nicki Sorensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank0:05:02
28Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar Team0:05:08
29Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 28 - Cell 2
30Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale0:06:01
31Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:06:10
32Matteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:06:48
33Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team0:08:15
34Jérome Pineau (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quickstep0:08:35
35Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone0:09:35
36Massimo Codol (Ita) Acqua & SaponeRow 35 - Cell 2
37Jurgen Wandewalle (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team0:10:01
38Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 37 - Cell 2
39Branislau Samoilau (Blr) Movistar TeamRow 38 - Cell 2
40Rui Costa (Por) Movistar TeamRow 39 - Cell 2
41Juan Horrach Ripoll (Spa) Katusha Team0:10:19
42Marco Pinotti (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:10:36
43Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 42 - Cell 2
44Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickstepRow 43 - Cell 2
45Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing TeamRow 44 - Cell 2
46Juan Jose Oroz Ugalde (Spa) Euskaltel - EuskadiRow 45 - Cell 2
47Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre - ISDRow 46 - Cell 2
48Stijn Devolder (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 47 - Cell 2
49Victor Hugo Pena Grisales (Col) Colombia - ColdeportesRow 48 - Cell 2
50Steve Houanard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 49 - Cell 2
51George Hincapie (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 50 - Cell 2
52Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky ProcyclingRow 51 - Cell 2
53Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky ProcyclingRow 52 - Cell 2
54Johan Vansummeren (Bel) Garmin - BarracudaRow 53 - Cell 2
55Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Team Saxo Bank0:10:43
56Ego Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:12:35
57Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Acqua & Sapone0:13:02
58Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat0:13:52
59Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ-Big MatRow 58 - Cell 2
60Michael Schar (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 59 - Cell 2
61Dominique Rollin (Can) FDJ-Big Mat0:14:14
62Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol TeamRow 61 - Cell 2
63Kristof Goddaert (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale0:15:13
64Dario Cataldo (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quickstep0:15:34
65Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 64 - Cell 2
66Luca Ascani (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia0:16:49
67Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale0:16:56
68Simone Ponzi (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 67 - Cell 2
69Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 68 - Cell 2
70Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 69 - Cell 2
71Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 70 - Cell 2
72Luis Felipe Laverde Jimenez (Col) Colombia - ColdeportesRow 71 - Cell 2
73Frederik Willems (Bel) Lotto Belisol TeamRow 72 - Cell 2
74Kristjan Koren (Slo) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 73 - Cell 2
75Federico Canuti (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 74 - Cell 2
76Gorka Verdugo Marcotegui (Spa) Euskaltel - EuskadiRow 75 - Cell 2
77Simone Stortoni (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 76 - Cell 2
78Grégory Rast (Swi) RadioShack-NissanRow 77 - Cell 2
79Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar TeamRow 78 - Cell 2
80Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 79 - Cell 2
81Angelo Pagani (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox0:17:49
82Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) RadioShack-Nissan0:20:58
83Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia0:22:06
84Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle ItaliaRow 83 - Cell 2
85Vladimir Miholjevic (Cro) Acqua & SaponeRow 84 - Cell 2
86Robert Hunter (RSA) Garmin - BarracudaRow 85 - Cell 2
87Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma-QuickstepRow 86 - Cell 2
88Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe) Astana Pro TeamRow 87 - Cell 2
89Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) Colombia - ColdeportesRow 88 - Cell 2
90Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Lotto Belisol TeamRow 89 - Cell 2
91Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Euskaltel - EuskadiRow 90 - Cell 2
92Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 91 - Cell 2
93Bert Grabsch (Ger) Omega Pharma-QuickstepRow 92 - Cell 2
94Hayden Roulston (NZl) RadioShack-NissanRow 93 - Cell 2
95Manuele Boaro (Ita) Team Saxo BankRow 94 - Cell 2
96Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 95 - Cell 2
97Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack-NissanRow 96 - Cell 2
98Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Team Saxo BankRow 97 - Cell 2
99Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 98 - Cell 2
100Oscar Gatto (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle ItaliaRow 99 - Cell 2
101Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Katusha TeamRow 100 - Cell 2
102Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Colombia - ColdeportesRow 101 - Cell 2
103Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin - BarracudaRow 102 - Cell 2
104Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Colombia - ColdeportesRow 103 - Cell 2
105Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar TeamRow 104 - Cell 2
106Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 105 - Cell 2
107Daniele Bennati (Ita) RadioShack-NissanRow 106 - Cell 2
108David Millar (GBr) Garmin - BarracudaRow 107 - Cell 2
109Francisco Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 108 - Cell 2
110Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 109 - Cell 2
111Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha TeamRow 110 - Cell 2
112Fabio Taborre (Ita) Acqua & SaponeRow 111 - Cell 2
113Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-NissanRow 112 - Cell 2
114Mauro Da Dalto (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale0:24:14
115Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre - ISD0:24:16
116Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 115 - Cell 2
117Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:25:32
118Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Garmin - BarracudaRow 117 - Cell 2
119Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ-Big MatRow 118 - Cell 2
120Mads Christensen (Den) Team Saxo BankRow 119 - Cell 2
121Gert Dockx (Bel) Lotto Belisol TeamRow 120 - Cell 2
122Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 121 - Cell 2
123Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro TeamRow 122 - Cell 2
124Pim Ligthart (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 123 - Cell 2
125Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 124 - Cell 2
126Gert Steegmans (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep0:25:34
127Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 126 - Cell 2
128Sacha Modolo (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 127 - Cell 2
129Francesco Ginanni (Ita) Acqua & SaponeRow 128 - Cell 2
130Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 129 - Cell 2
131Arnaud Gerard (Fra) FDJ-Big MatRow 130 - Cell 2
132Diego Caccia (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle ItaliaRow 131 - Cell 2
133Stuart O'Grady (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling TeamRow 132 - Cell 2
134Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) GreenEdge Cycling TeamRow 133 - Cell 2