After becoming a surprise victor exactly twelve months ago by beating Wiggins, Martin and Cancellara over the same 10km course that will close the 2015 Tirreno-Adriatico, Adriano Malori has tasted the flavor of success again on Wednesday with a narrow victory over the Swiss rider in the 5.7km prologue of the 'Race of the Two Seas' in Lido di Camaiore. The Italian champion from the Movistar Team tackled the initial disadvantage of a course almost tailor-made for explosive riders - 6'04" was the lapse between his start and finish - and completed a 53kph ride to overcome Australian Matthias Brändle (IAM) and hold the charge of the main GC favourites - with Nairo Quintana conceding 11" to Urán, 10" to Nibali and only 2" to Contador, with Rodríguez 10" behind.
By only one second, Malori claimed his second success of the season - after winning the TT in the Tour de San Luis and losing by only 0.403 to Tony Martin in Algarve - the 16th in his pro career and the eighth by the Movistar Team, the only WorldTour squad to have scored success in two different top-tier events so far in 2015. The Italian and his team-mates will now take on two predictable sprint finishes -Thursday's route leading the peloton to Cascina over 153km from Camaiore - before the Appennines sort things out between the race contenders on Saturday and Sunday.
"I'm super happy. This was really one victory I couldn't even dream of," he said. "Despite what one could see from outside, it was quite a technical parcours, where I was lacking a bit of force in every turn compared to my rivals for the victory. Still, I felt really strong over the course, and beating a rider like Cancellara, almost unbeatable on such courses... it was fantastic. Once we were noticed about the route change, I prepared this TT as much as I could and studied the route thoroughly - clearly, the efforts from previous days and my training have paid off.
“The time trial was a rush of adrenaline, taking the bends at top speed, and finishing totally out of breath. I didn’t think I’d manage to win on roads like that. Normally, on this type of route, Cancellara is the rider to beat. But today it all went perfectly for me.
"Wearing the 'maglia azzurra' in such a beautiful, important race makes me really happy; it's undoubtedly one of the wins I will appreciate the most at the end of my career. It would be nice to keep it for as long as possible, but we into the team have a strong contender for the GC in Nairo, so we will work for the next two days to keep it but always staying focused on protecting him and helping him out where possible. There are two TTs in this race and I already won in San Benedetto in 2014, but now it's time to enjoy this win and think about the upcoming days before that one.
“It’s a dream. It’s wonderful. I won the final time trial a year ago, but this time I get to wear the blue jersey of the race leader, which will leave me with wonderful memories. Wearing it just for one day is a big deal.
“The TT hierarchy is Martin, Wiggins, then elbows out for third place between Fabian [Cancellara], Dumoulin and me.
“It’s unlikely that I’ll attack the hour record because I don’t have much technique on the track, and it is a lot more important than you might think. I’d need two months to work at it. It might be something for the future, but for now I’m focused on the road.
“I should have ridden the Northern classics last year, but due to an injury - I had a swollen knee - I didn’t go. I’ll try them this year, I hope to be in excellent condition, so perhaps I’ll find out if I can do well in them. Ask me again in a month and I’ll give you a more precise answer.”
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