Nibali triumphs at Tirreno-Adriatico

Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) delighted his home fans by winning the overall general classification at the 2012 Tirreno-Adriatico, overturning a six-second deficit between him and overnight leader Chris Horner (RadioShack-Nissan) in the final stage time trial at San Benedetto del Tronto on Italy’s eastern coast.

Nibali finished the 9.3km time trial in 10:56, which was good enough for ninth place on the day. The Italian went out first of the three men who were in with a chance of winning the overall GC and used it to his advantage. His sub 11:00 time turned the screw on his rivals and neither Horner nor Roman Kreuziger, who started the day in second place, could rise to the challenge of sticking with Nibali.

The stage itself was won in a blistering time of 10:36 by Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) – the second consecutive final stage time trial victory here by the Swiss flying machine. His teammate Daniele Bennati finished in second place, 12 seconds back, with Australia’s Cameron Meyer (GreenEdge) back in third. Meyer’s performance is further proof of his time trialling strength, but it wasn’t enough to snatch back the white jersey for best young rider from Wout Poels (Vacansoleil-DCM).

The flat, fast and furious 9.3km course featured a tailwind at the beginning and a headwind in the final few kilometres, which made the closing stages tough. Cancellara was out on the course at 2pm local time – almost two hours before the leaders – and it was obvious for most of the afternoon that his time wouldn’t be threatened. His performance featured an average speed of 52.64 km/h and nobody else could live with him.

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It made for a lull in the action during the midway point of the stage but the crowd and the race came alive as we approached the start time for the leaders. Nibali was the first to finish and as he waited patiently amongst his fans, it was clear from a long way out that first Kreuziger and then Horner were struggling to match him. And so it proved as he was confirmed the third Italian winner in the last four stagings of this famous race. It was a deserved victory for the man from Messina, who had performed solidly all week and was victorious in stage five on Sunday.

"I'm very happy, I felt good all morning and was confident," Nibali said. "This season I had a lot more races in my legs than a lot of riders going into Tirreno-Adriatico, and the team was perfect. It's been a busy and difficult week for us as we were having to play catch up almost immediately. But everyday we have moved forward and yesterday was the crucial day as it put me in contention for the last stage."

Horner was philosophical about failing to hang on to his overnight lead and stated he was delighted to stay on the podium for a race that doesn't actually suit him that well.

“I have no mixed feelings about this,” he said. “It’s been a fantastic week. The team did a great TTT to set me up to take the jersey and I defended it for a few days. Tactically I think we did a brilliant race. This is not a course that is ideal for me, but to stay on the podium is good for me. I was concerned that I might not stay in the top three. The only feeling I have about this is one of feeling great – great about the way the team worked this week and great about the way my legs feel."

Horner's teammate Cancellara dominated the final day with a time trial perfomance that had people reaching for the superlatives for the umpteenth time in his career. And he claimed that he wasn't disappointed to finish three seconds slower than he did when lifting the equivalent stage last year.

"It was a tough one,” he said. “Especially when I had in mind my best time from last year. But the conditions today were totally different. Today we had a tailwind to go out but a full headwind to come back. I see that I did three seconds slower than last year’s ride but I still think I did a great ride.

"Today was important for me to test my position, to get in another ride on the bike, and I wanted to provide good split times for Chris to compare. I didn’t feel under pressure to win this. I know where my form is now after 30 hours on the bike and I have a lot of confidence.”


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Full Results
1Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan0:10:36
2Daniele Bennati (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan0:00:12
3Cameron Meyer (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team0:00:16
4Svein Tuft (Can) GreenEdge Cycling TeamRow 3 - Cell 2
5Manuele Boaro (Ita) Team Saxo BankRow 4 - Cell 2
6Hayden Roulston (NZl) RadioShack-Nissan0:00:17
7Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Procycling0:00:18
8Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quickstep0:00:20
9Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 8 - Cell 2
10Marco Pinotti (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:00:21
11Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale0:00:23
12Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 11 - Cell 2
13Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone0:00:24
14Gert Steegmans (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickstepRow 13 - Cell 2
15Mads Christensen (Den) Team Saxo BankRow 14 - Cell 2
16Dario Cataldo (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quickstep0:00:25
17Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 16 - Cell 2
18Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La MondialeRow 17 - Cell 2
19Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team0:00:26
20Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 19 - Cell 2
21Kristjan Koren (Slo) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 20 - Cell 2
22Wout Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:00:27
23David Millar (GBr) Garmin - BarracudaRow 22 - Cell 2
24Jérome Pineau (Fra) Omega Pharma-QuickstepRow 23 - Cell 2
25Alex Rasmussen (Den) Garmin - Barracuda0:00:29
26Stijn Devolder (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:00:30
27Bert Grabsch (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quickstep0:00:31
28Nicki Sorensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank0:00:32
29Jens Mouris (Ned) GreenEdge Cycling TeamRow 28 - Cell 2
30Stuart O'Grady (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team0:00:33
31Branislau Samoilau (Blr) Movistar TeamRow 30 - Cell 2
32Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma-QuickstepRow 31 - Cell 2
33Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin - Barracuda0:00:34
34Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La MondialeRow 33 - Cell 2
35Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) GreenEdge Cycling TeamRow 34 - Cell 2
36Marco Coledan (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox0:00:35
37Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ-Big MatRow 36 - Cell 2
38Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:00:36
39Rui Costa (Por) Movistar TeamRow 38 - Cell 2
40Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 39 - Cell 2
41George Hincapie (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 40 - Cell 2
42Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:00:38
43Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:00:39
44Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 43 - Cell 2
45Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack-Nissan0:00:40
46Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha TeamRow 45 - Cell 2
47Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Team Saxo Bank0:00:42
48Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 47 - Cell 2
49Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team0:00:44
50Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox0:00:45
51Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel - EuskadiRow 50 - Cell 2
52Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 51 - Cell 2
53Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Astana Pro Team0:00:47
54Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Team Saxo Bank0:00:49
55Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) RadioShack-NissanRow 54 - Cell 2
56Francisco Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar Team0:00:51
57Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Acqua & Sapone0:00:52
58Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 57 - Cell 2
59Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha TeamRow 58 - Cell 2
60Vladimir Miholjevic (Cro) Acqua & SaponeRow 59 - Cell 2
61Diego Caccia (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle ItaliaRow 60 - Cell 2
62Jose Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team0:00:53
63Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team0:00:54
64Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 63 - Cell 2
65Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky ProcyclingRow 64 - Cell 2
66Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Acqua & Sapone0:00:55
67Fabio Taborre (Ita) Acqua & SaponeRow 66 - Cell 2
68Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 67 - Cell 2
69Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Colombia - Coldeportes0:00:56
70Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 69 - Cell 2
71Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe) Astana Pro TeamRow 70 - Cell 2
72Pim Ligthart (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:00:57
73Francesco Ginanni (Ita) Acqua & Sapone0:00:58
74Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 73 - Cell 2
75Juan Horrach Ripoll (Spa) Katusha Team0:00:59
76Luca Ascani (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle ItaliaRow 75 - Cell 2
77Juan Jose Oroz Ugalde (Spa) Euskaltel - EuskadiRow 76 - Cell 2
78Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat0:01:01
79Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 78 - Cell 2
80Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha TeamRow 79 - Cell 2
81Filippo Savini (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 80 - Cell 2
82Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ-Big MatRow 81 - Cell 2
83Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle ItaliaRow 82 - Cell 2
84Grégory Rast (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan0:01:02
85Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro TeamRow 84 - Cell 2
86Rafal Majka (Pol) Team Saxo BankRow 85 - Cell 2
87Michael Schar (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 86 - Cell 2
88Pablo Urtasun Perez (Spa) Euskaltel - EuskadiRow 87 - Cell 2
89Bruno Pires (Por) Team Saxo Bank0:01:03
90Federico Canuti (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale0:01:04
91Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 90 - Cell 2
92Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quickstep0:01:05
93Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Sky ProcyclingRow 92 - Cell 2
94David Tanner (Aus) Team Saxo BankRow 93 - Cell 2
95Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 94 - Cell 2
96Kristof Goddaert (Bel) AG2R La MondialeRow 95 - Cell 2
97Gorka Verdugo Marcotegui (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:01:07
98Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickstepRow 97 - Cell 2
99Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre - ISD0:01:08
100Matti Breschel (Den) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 99 - Cell 2
101Arnaud Gerard (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat0:01:09
102Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre - ISDRow 101 - Cell 2
103Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack-NissanRow 102 - Cell 2