While the ageless one Chris Horner turned in a lackluster time trial in the Vuelta and dropped down to fourth on GC, Fabian Cancellara saved the day with a decisive win against the clock. Worldwide sales of Trek race bikes jump another 1.84%
Looking strong enough to win the upcoming World Time Trial championship in Florence, Cancellara gauged the 38.8k course to red-line perfection. His time of 51:00 was 37 seconds faster than arch rival Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step).
“When you win, it’s always big satisfaction that you’ve been waiting so long,” said Cancellara. “I’m really happy with the performance, I’m really happy with the win, and I’m really a long way toward the big one I really want to win the world championship.” That’s three “really” so you know he means business.
Cancellara has been doing the max for Horner but it hasn’t slowed him down. “The uphill section was very rough especially with the wind. That caused a lot of disruption of my rhythm,” said Cancellara. “Plus yesterday was the rest day so you never know how your body will respond on the day after and I’ve put in a lot of work in the first ten days of the Vuelta working for Chris Horner.”
Meanwhile Horner, the unexpected hero of the Vuelta, didn’t have the same legs that have carried him to two stages wins so far in Spain. Of course, those legs are almost 42 years old.
He lost the red leader’s jersey but still had a smile on his face in the post race interviews and he remained as optimistic and confident as ever.
“Maybe this morning when I had very good legs, I got the illusion that I could keep the red jersey but this is where I wanted to be: between one and half and two minutes down on Vincenzo,” said Horner. “I believe the race will be won in the mountains with tactics and luck, when there will be no teammates left. I’ve had a really good shot at the red jersey and I want it back.”
For now, it’s Nibali who has the jersey back. The Italian, who didn’t have one bad day in winning the Giro d’Italia (other than nearly freezing to death) continues with his strong, consistent riding.
His time was 1:25 off Cancellara’s mark but good enough for fourth and better yet, put him back in red with 33 seconds on Nicholas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) and 46 seconds on Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).
The big surprise? Pozzovivo in third which sets him up well for the mountains and a possible podium. Nicholas Roche must have picked up some of his teammate Contador’s fighting spirit because he also hammered the course and is now tied with Valverde on GC. Nice work from the Irishman.
For Cancellara, he’ll be back at work for Horner starting tomorrow but we’re expecting a glass of wine at the dinner table. “I know that I gave the maximum today. This was a good test for myself that had nothing to do with my competitors and more about seeing how I’m feeling. It was both uphill and then downhill and required a good workout,” said the Swiss superstar. I’m happy with my performance. I think I got the best out of myself today.”
1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack Leopard0:51:00
2 Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quick Step0:00:37
3 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:24
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:01:25
5 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Sky Procycling0:01:41
6 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Saxo-Tinkoff0:01:48
7 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team0:01:52
8 Jerome Coppel (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
9 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team0:01:53
10 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi0:02:13