Vincenzo Nibali claims Tirreno-Adriatico victory as Chris Froome finishes second
Last Updated: March 12, 2013 6:38pm
Vincenzo Nibali: Bolstered his Giro preparations with a big victory
Vincenzo Nibali rode to a second consecutive victory at Tirreno-Adriatico after holding off Chris Froome on the final-stage time trial.
The Italian (Astana) stayed calm despite losing a handful of seconds to the Team Sky rider to clinch the maglia azzurra by 23 seconds in San Benedetto del Tronto.
The foundations of the victory had been laid with a last-ditch attack on Monday's sixth stage in which powered away from Froome. The Briton fought back on the final day's 9.2km time trial, but was only able to take 11 seconds out of his rival, setting the sixth quickest time in the process.
Alberto Contador beat Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) to elevate himself on to the final place on the podium, yet the Team Saxo-Tinkoff rider came under intense pressure at the death from Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step), just edging out the Pole by a single second.
After crossing the line, a victorious Nibali said: "I'm really, really happy to win Tirreno. It's something really important to win and it's my first victory of the season. This is more important than last year because of all the riders who came like Froome, Rodriguez and Contador."
Martin wins the stage
The stage was won by Germany's Tony Martin (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) in a time of 10 minutes 25 seconds, six seconds quicker than Adriano Malori (Lampre-Merida), who had earlier taken the scalp of Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard). Andrey Amador (Movistar) put in perhaps the ride of the day to finish third, 10 seconds off world time trial champion Martin.
"I was looking forward to this stage because the mountains were not for me," Martin said. "I had my full focus on today so I'm really happy I won here. This has been my first time at Tirreno and I really like the race - so this is a nice finish for me."
Froome headed down the ramp with a 34-second deficit to bridge to Nibali, but on such a short course, the final result appeared to be set.
Earlier, Hayden Roulston (RadioShack-Leopard) set the opening benchmark of 10:45 before the rain that has characterised the race returned. The downpour did not stop the Kiwi's team-mate Cancellara putting eight seconds into Roulston, but it wasn't long before Malori popped up to dethrone him.
Britain's Alex Dowsett produced a fine ride on the day to take 10th on the stage, with the Movistar rider finishing fractions slower than Dario Cataldo (Team Sky), both men 23 seconds back.
Stage seven result
1 Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, 10:25
2 Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre-Merida, +6secs
3 Andrey Amador (Cos) Movistar, +10
4 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Leopard, +12
5 Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar, +14
6 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, +15
7 Hayden Roulston (NZ) RadioShack-Leopard, +20
8 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +21
9 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Team Sky, +23
10 Alex Dowsett (GB) Movistar, same time
12 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, +26
Final general classification
1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, 28:08.17
2 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, +23secs
3 Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff, +52
4 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +53
5 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha, +54
6 Chris Horner (USA) RadioShack-Leopard, +1.21
7 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini, +2.03
8 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar, +2.42
9 Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida, +3.19
10 Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM, +3.35