Mixed day in Italy and Tirreno-Adriatico for RadioShack-Nissan Trek.
Fabian Cancellara showed off his massive thighs and high speed by winning the short, flat, 9.3km time trial and teammate Daniele Bennati finished second. It will be interesting to see what both can do this weekend in Milan-San Remo because that’s a nice one-two punch.
Those were the highlights but the man in the leader’s blue jersey, Chris Horner, couldn’t hold on to his narrow six second lead and lost overall victory to Vincenzo Nibali. Sample headline: Shark bites bald man on bike.
It was close but no Italian cigar for the 40 year old Horner who still impressed everyone in the cycling world with his performance. It was his first stage race of the year and first since terrible crash in stage 7 of the Tour de France. Most riders his age are retired and sitting on a couch watching TV and drinking a bottle of Gatorade mixed with a vodka shot.
To see the old glad man riding at this high level was a thrill. Horner had targeted this race and second place overall feels like a win to him. “I have no mixed feelings about this,” he said. “It’s been a fantastic week. Tactically I think we did a brilliant race. This is not a course that is ideal for me, but to stay on the podium is good for me. I held the jersey for three days in my first race in eight months. I’m coming out of this very satisfied. My form is fantastic and I look forward to the next stage races.”
Horner was smooth and confident in the final time trial but still no match for the Italian who finished the race up twelve seconds. It was a terrific win for Nibali who it trying to get back to his dominant 2010 Vuelta a Espana form. We’ll also see him in MSR causing trouble of some kind on the climbs.
The next race for Horner’s teammate Cancellara will be that big Italian Monument. “I’ll have a few days rest now and then Milan-Sanremo on Saturday. I feel calm about the race. It’s a race where no one can predict what’s going to happen. I’ve won before in 2008 but I think that was a surprise and now everyone watches me so it isn’t so easy.”
Everybody watches Fabian Cancellara. That’s one of the drawbacks of fame and dominance. You lose the element of surprise but then again, when you look at Cancellara and Horner, those guys ahve enough talent that they don’t need to fool anyone.