Wednesday, March 16, 2011

2011 Tirreno-Adriatico, Stage 7

After the short, flat, 9.3 km time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto the overall victory went to Cadel Evans. Robert Gesink, 9th at the finish, climbed to 2nd in the standings and Michele Scarponi finished 3rd. Hampered by a cold, Ivan Basso finished 32nd (43 seconds behind Cancellara) and slipped to 4th place overall ahead of Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas, which carried off the team trophy.

"I'm extremely pleased that I rode so well today and throughout the entire race. I worked very hard this winter, training alone for hours. Every day I rode my bike I was thinking about Aldo Sassi, just like today", said Evans. "My focus remains on the Tour de France, but I always prefer to have some results beforehand."

Fabian Cancellara won the the last time trial of the Tirreno-Adriatico followed Lars Boom (at 9 secs) and the Italian youngster Adriano Malori (19 secs).

The performance of key riders as assessed by La Gazzetta dello Sport:

EVANS 8.5 - Started the Tirreno with just two days' racing in his legs. Burned up the road and scored a crucial success at Macerata. This victory shows yet again what an exemplary professional Evans is. Not starting the Sanremo on Saturday, March 19 (riding instead the Volta a Catalunya stage race that begins Monday).

CANCELLARA 7.5 - Bossed the time trial as expected, despite lacking in fitness, and gave the Leopard Trek team its first victory in a big race. Anybody expecting to win the Sanremo will have to go through Spartacus.

GESINK 7 - A rider with a future. Overall leader until the tough stages. Recently bereft of his father, he wanted to throw in the towel at Macerata. A talk with his mother set him up again and in today's trial he was the best of the placed riders.

SCARPONI 7 - Won at Chieti and was no slouch in today's trial. But he won't be happy with a final 3rd place.

GILBERT 7 - Won with a fine swoop at Castelraimondo, but failed to shine at Chieti and Macerata. Not yet on his best form.

CUNEGO 6.5 - Did a fine job of work for Scarponi. More of a helper than a spearhead. Sharp, but lacking the killer instinct. Next out in the Coppi&Bartali.

DI LUCA 6.5 - Surprisingly quick in his comeback race. Determined as always, he tried to win but couldn't make it. No Sanremo for him, he'll be starting the Catalunya.

BASSO 6 - Pushed hard but the course was not suited to him. Troubled by fatigue and painful limbs over the last two days, he disappointed in the time trial. Monday's Catalunya will tell us if he can bounce back.

NIBALI 6 - Had a hard time in the team trials, then steadily brightened. Yet to hit top form, as was clear at Macerata, he paid the price in the final trial. Already looking to spring a surprise on Saturday.

PETACCHI 6 - Looked the best bet for an Italian win in the sprint at Sanremo. Pulled out of the time trial with symptoms of bronchitis.

VISCONTI 6 - The Italian champion's repeated attacks lacked the final thrust. Perhaps it was bad luck, perhaps he got his tactics wrong. Had a big hand in Gesink's overall 2nd place when the Dutchman was in trouble as race leader at Castelraimondo.

CAVENDISH 4.5 - Two sprint finishes and nothing but 19th place to show for it. In trouble on every climb, he looked overweight.

A. SCHLECK 4.5 - The only big name to fail in all the race stages.

FREIRE (no mark) - If his name wasn't Freire this would be a serious failure. But we're used to now-you-see-him-now-you-don't.

Final top 10 GC:
1 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 27:37:37
2 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:00:11
3 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD 0:00:15
4 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:24
5 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:30
6 Marco Pinotti (Ita) HTC-Highroad 0:00:39
7 Tiago Machado (Por) Team RadioShack 0:00:42
8 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD 0:00:50
9 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:00:57
10 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Sky Procycling 0:00:58

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