MILAN, March 18, 2014 (AFP) – Former two-time Tour de France champion
Alberto Contador signaled his return to form by securing overall victory at
the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race following the final time trial on Tuesday.
Italian Adriano Malori (Movistar) won the concluding stage of the ‘Race of
the Two Seas’, a flat 9.1 km race against the clock which finished on the palm
tree-lined seafront of San Benedetto del Tronto.
Malori completed the course in a winning time of 10min 13sec, leaving
former world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara second at 6sec with
Britain’s Bradley Wiggins, the Olympic champion in the discipline, in third at
However all eyes were on Spaniard Contador, on whom expectations will now
be high after a dismal 2013 season in which he tried in vain to beat Chris
Froome at the Tour de France, where he finished fourth behind the triumphant
Contador, who finished second overall recently at the Tour of the Algarve,
took the overall lead after an impressive ride on stage five when he launched
an attack in the final 30 km, caught an earlier escape group and then beat his
stage rivals to win atop the outrageously steep ‘Muro di Guardiagrele’.
His performance left overnight leader Michal Kwiatkowski, of Omega-Pharma,
trailing home six minutes behind and gave Contador a 2:08 lead on Colombian
Nairo Quintana of Movistar.
The 31-year-old Spaniard protected his lead on Monday’s sixth stage, won by
sprinter Mark Cavendish, and lost only three seconds to Quintana on Tuesday’s
test to claim his first major stage race since the Tour of Spain in 2012.
Tirreno-Adriatio is one of two major races, along with Paris-Nice — which
finished on Sunday — in which many riders compete to help hone their form for
The first major classic of the season will be held on Sunday but, after
organizers altered the course by removing a key climb, the Pompeiana, it is
expected to suit the sprinters this year.
Contador’s bid was arguably boosted by the retirement from the race of
Sky’s Richie Porte, a pre-race contender, who pulled out prior to stage five
due to illness.
His fellow Australian, former Tour de France winner Cadel Evans, pulled out
prior to the time trial in order to return home and prepare for the Giro
d’Italia which begins on May 9.
Results from the final stage of
Tirreno-Adriatico, a 9.1 km time trial around San Benedetto del Tronto:
1. Adriano Malori (ITA) Movistar 10min 13sec, 2. Fabian Cancellara (SUI) at
06sec, 3. Bradley Wiggins (GBR) 11, 4. Tony Martin (GER) 15, 5. Tom Dumoulin
(NED) 19, 6. Alex Dowsett (GBR) 20, 7. Michal Kwiatkowski (POL) 22, 8. Manuel
Quinziato (ITA) 23, 9. Stijn Devolder (BEL) 24, 10. Luke Durbridge (AUS) 26
1. Alberto Contador (ESP) Tinkoff-Saxo 25hr 28min 45sec, 2. Nairo Quintana
(COL) at 2min 05sec, 3. Roman Kreuziger (CZE) 2:14, 4. Jean-Christophe Peraud
(FRA) 2:39, 5. Julian Arredondo Moreno (COL) 2:54, 6. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA)
3:04, 7. Robert Kiserlovski (CRO) 3:09, 8. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (ESP) 3:16,
9. Michele Scarponi (ITA) 3:16, 10. Mikel Nieve (ESP) 3:19