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For the second year in a row, Malori beat Cancellara in a Tirreno-Adriatico time trial when his time of 6.04 in the prologue was 1 second better than the Swiss’; Malori is the first leader of the race

Photo: Sirotti

ADRIANO MALORI

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FABIAN CANCELLARA

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GREG VAN AVERMAET

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MOVISTAR TEAM

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TIRRENO - ADRIATICO

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11.03.2015 @ 17:14 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Adriano Malori (Movistar) confirmed that he is getting closer to the very best time triallists when he won the Tirreno-Adriatico prologue. Covering the 5.4km course in 6.04, he was just 1 seconds faster than Fabian Cancellera (Trek) while Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) did the time trial of his life to finish in third.

 

One year ago Adriano Malori finally took the big step that many had been expecting him to take when he beat Fabian Cancellara, Bradley Wiggins and Tony Martin in the final time trial of Tirreno-Adriatico. Later he went on to win the final stage of the Vuelta a Espana, confirming his ability to win time trials at the WorldTour level.

 

Those results automatically made him one of the two big favourites for today’s Tirreno-Adriatico prologue. Alongside Cancellara, the Italian stood out as the best time triallist in the Italian race and the race was expected to come down to a duel between the duo.

 

Initially, Malori had been expected to play a team role on the first day as the stage was originally set to be a team time trial. However, wind calamity had forced the organizers to change the script and instead the riders faced a short 5.4km prologue in Lido di Camaiore.

 

Daniel Oss (BMC) had led the stage for most of the day until he was finally beaten by former Hour Record holder Matthias Brändle (IAM). However, it was Malori who was expect to shine and he lived up to expectations when he went 2 seconds faster than the Austrian.

 

With Nairo Quintana being the final Movistar rider to start, Malori faced a nervous wait in the hot seat and he got a scare when Maciej Bodnar (Tinkoff-Saxo) was just 2 seconds off the pace. A little later Greg Van Avermaet created a major surprise when he slotted into second, fractions of a second ahead of Bodnar.

 

However, the big rival was Cancellara who was the fourth last rider down the ramp but the Swiss was one second off the pace and had to settle for second. None of the final three riders managed to threaten Malori and so he won the stage ahead of Cancellara and Van Avermaet.

 

Defending champion Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) for the race off to a disappointing start as he could only manage 67th, losing 19 seconds to Malori. Instead, the best GC rider was Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-QuickStep) who finished the stage in 18th and was 9 seconds faster than Contador. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) also got the race off to a reasonable start as he was 28th while Nairo Quintana lost two seconds to Contador.

 

With the win, Malori is of course the first leader of the race and he goes into stage 1 with the blue jersey on the shoulders. Being completely flat, the stage is expected to be one for the sprinters but with Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) being just 6 seconds behind, the Italian may already lose the jersey after a single day.

 

A short, technical stage

Due to wind calamity, the organizers had been forced to cancel the planned team time trial and instead the riders kicked the 50th Tirreno-Adriatico off with a 5.4km prologue in Lido di Camaiore. The first half of the stage was pretty technical but the final 2.4km followed a long straight coastal road.

 

The riders were greeted with perfect weather conditions as there was very little wind and plenty of sunshine when Davide Villella (Cannondale-Garmin) rolled down the ramp as the first rider. He set an early best time of 6.27 but already the next rider Matthieu Ladagnous (FDJ) went 9 seconds faster.

 

Oss takes the lead

The Frenchman enjoyed the lead for a few minutes before Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM) stopped the clock in 6.16 and he easily held off the expected challenge from Alexey Lutsenko (Astana). Instead, it was Oss who posted a time of 6.08 to take the lead and that turned out to be enough to lead the stage for most of the day.

 

Michael Hepburn (Orica-GreenEDGE) slotted into second with 6.15 before he was beaten by Markel Irizar (Trek) who set a time of 6.14. Elia Viviani (Sky) confirmed his good condition with a time of 6.16 before Andriy Grivko (Astana) became the next rider to move into second with his time of 6.13.

 

Boasson Hagen into second

Nikias Arndt (Giant-Alpecin) slotted into the top 10 with a time of 6.16 before Carlos Betancur (Ag2r) confirmed his poor condition with 6.52. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) had a great ride with 6.17 which was enough for him to move into the top 10.

 

Vasil Kiryienka (Sky) found the course too short and could only manage 6.12 and instead it was his former teammate Edvald Boasson Hagen (MTN-Qhubeka) who moved into second with 6.12. Andrey Amador (Movistar) had a good ride with 6.15 but he was beaten by Simon Geschke (Giant-Alpecin) who was one second faster.

 

Westra off the pace

Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo) could only manage 6.18 while Steve Morabito (FDJ) continued the good FDJ showing with a time of 6.15. Wout Poels (Sky) stopped the clock in the same time.

 

Lieuwe Westra (Astana) could only manage 10th with 6.15 and moments later his compatriot Martijn Keizer (LottoNL-Jumbo) posted the same time. Jesus Herrada (Movistar) was the next rider to stop the clock in 6.15 while Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff-Saxo) had a poor ride with 6.19.

 

Sagan moves into second

Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-QuickStep) had a solid ride with 6.18 in a discipline that he doesn’t like while both Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and Julian Arredondo (Trek) were far off the pace. However, most eyes now were on Niki Terpstra (Etixx-QuickStep) but the Dutchman only got close with a time of 6.12.

 

Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar) stopped the clock in an identical time before Damien Gaudin (Ag2r) was the next rider to make it into the top 10 with 6.13. Less than one minute later, Sagan moved into second with a time of 6.10.

 

Malori takes the lead

Brändle was now on the course and the Austrian confirmed his progress when he stopped the clock in 6.06 to take the lead. A few minutes later, however, Malori started his ride and his time of 6.04 was even faster.

 

Bodnar got close when he relegated Brändle into third by just fractions of a second before Ramunas Navardauskas (Cannondale-Garmin) moved into the top 5 with 6.09. Johan Le Bon (FDJ) got into the top 10 with 6.10 but Stephen Cummings (MTN-Qhubeka) was even faster with 6.10.

 

Cancellara misses out

Nibali had a solid ride before Van Avermaet did the time trial of his life to slot into second. Moments later, Uran set the 18th best time while Quintana was only 77th when he crossed the line.

 

All eyes now were on Cancellara but he missed the mark by just 1 seconds. With Contador delivering a surprisingly poor performance to finish 67th, Malori could step onto the podium to celebrate his win.

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