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"To be honest, I wasn't expecting to win because Phinney was focused on taking the win here and was the number-one favourite. But once I got into the race, I realized I was rolling strongly," Malori says

Photo: Sirotti

ADRIANO MALORI

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MOVISTAR TEAM

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TOUR DE SAN LUIS

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25.01.2014 @ 13:23 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Adriano Malori (Movistar) won his first ever time trial as a Movistar rider when he beat Taylor Phinney (BMC) in the highly anticipated battle between the two time trial specialists in the Tour de San Luis. The Italian admitted that he had never thought that he would be able to beat his American rival and has now set his sights on getting closer to the likes of Tony Martin, Fabian Cancellara and Bradley Wiggins.

 

Adriano Malori got his career as a Movistar rider off to the best possible start when he won yesterday's time trial in the Tour de San Luis. Having been signed to bolster the team's chances in the races against the clock, the Italian delivered on his promises on the first possible occasion when he held off Taylor Phinney by 3 seconds in a closely fought battle.

 

The duel between the two time trial specialists was highly anticipated, with Phinney having clearly indicated that he would go all out to take the win. The duo were clearly in a class of their own as Jorge Giacinti (San Luis) was a distant third with a time that was 29 seconds slower than Malori's.

 

In fact Malori's time was the best time ever set on the course which has been used for most of the first 7 editions of the race. Despite such a strong showing, Malori was surprised by the outcome.

 

"To be honest, I wasn't expecting to win because Phinney was focused on taking the win here and was the number-one favourite," he said. "But once I got into the race, I realized I was rolling strongly. I knew the parcours from last year's race, when I claimed 5th, and I knew my time was going to be good because I was feeling well. I did another recon this morning behind the team car and was determined to perform well, because I liked the route."

 

Malori has an ambition of becoming the best time trial rider in the world. Last year he got close to the likes of Tony Martin, Fabian Cancellara and Bradley Wiggins who are widely described as the three time trialing giants, in the shorter time trials but struggled to compete  with them in the longer ones.

 

Today's performance is a great boost of confidence.

 

"It's a very important win for me, especially from a psychological point of view," he said. "It's only January 24th, and this gives me much confidence for the remainder of the season. My next goal will be Dubai, where I hope to shine in the TT, too.

 

"It's true that Phinney seems like the man closest to the likes of Martin, Cancellara and Wiggins, and I beat him, but my main challenge this year is precisely that, and I talked about it with Eusebio Unzué: I want to get closer to those three references, the best specialists in the world.

 

"This victory is dedicated to my girlfriend, Elisa, who will be celebrating her birthday in three days' time, and to a friend who did a lot for me, Mirko Rossato."

 

Malori joined Movistar from Lampre after having started his career at the Italian team. He has already settled in his new surroundings.

 

"The team? I'm feeling here better than I ever imagined," he said. "I feel like I've spent more than a month with them, because there's great bond between its members, and that's the biggest strength of this group."

 

It was a great day for Movistar as Nairo Quintana also took over the overall lead from Phil Gaimon (Garmin-Sharp). Malori will now settle into a domestique role as the team tries too defend the lead on the final two stages.

 

"The day was perfect, with my victory and Nairo's leader's jersey," he said. "Now it's time for me to focus on defending it tomorrow and helping Ventoso out on Sunday so he can win the sprint."

 

Today's penultimate stage ends with the climb to Mirador del Sol while the final stage is expected to suit the sprinters.

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