Swiss Olympic and World Champion, Fabian Cancellara won the closing time trial stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico today in San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy. Evans finished 31 seconds behind Cancellara, enough to clinch the race’s overall classification.
“It was not a true surprise for me,” said Evans. “I had trained well leading into this race to do well and also to respect Aldo Sassi.”
His trainer Sassi died in December after suffering from brain cancer.
Dutchman Robert Gesink (Rabobank) jumped from fourth to second overall and threatened Evans. He failed to beat Evans, but he knocked out team Lampre’s Michele Scarponi and Damiano Cunego. Scarponi slipped to third and Cunego lost time to Liquigas’ Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali, forth and fifth, respectively.
“At six or five kilometres from the finish, I heard I was a little bit behind Gesink,” said Evans. “At that point, I thought, ‘Oh, maybe I won’t do it.’ I found my rhythm and succeeded, though.”
Evans took the race overall at the end of a medium-mountain stage to Castelraimondo on Sunday and practically secured it yesterday by winning the torturous circuit in Macerata. The 46th Tirreno-Adriatico is his first classification win since the Coppi & Bartali stage race in 2008. He’s twice finished second at the Tour de France.
At the end of 2009, he won the world championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland, and switched from team Silence-Lotto to BMC Racing. It has paid off: a Flèche Wallonne win, a stage and pink jersey at the Giro d’Italia and the yellow jersey at the Tour de France.
“These last years with BMC have truly rejuvenated me,” said Evans.
“In 2009 it was hard, I passed some bad moments. I deserved more support, in my opinion. I wasn’t treated well, that left a bad feeling. The Tour was not good and then the Vuelta was a disaster. I really prepared well, though, I felt there were others working against me, then the puncture, and the [Operación] Puerto riders. My wife said, ‘One day there will be justice.’ Just after that, I was re-paid with my Worlds win in Mendrisio.”
Cancellara (Leopard) is a four-time time trial World Champion, which he showed today under over-cast conditions along Italy’s Adriatic coast. He set a blistering time of 10’33” over the 9.3-kilometre course, enough to smash the time of Dutchman Lars Boom (Rabobank) by nine seconds.
Scarponi claimed the points jersey from Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervélo), Gesink maintained the white jersey of best young rider and Davide Malacarne (Quick Step) the green climbers’ jersey.
Many of Tirreno-Adriatico’s participants, including today’s winner Cancellara, will race next at Milan-San Remo. Cancellara won the race in 2008, though, Mark Cavendish, Oscar Freire, Tyler Farrar and Thor Hushovd – all in San Benedetto del Tronto – are favoured to win.
Tirreno-Adriatico 2011, stage seven: 9.3km ITT
1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Leopard-Trek in 10-33
2. Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank at 9 secs
3. Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre-ISD at 19 secs
4. Rick Flens (Ned) Rabobank at 20 secs
5. Bert Grabsch (Ger) HTC-Highroad at 22 secs
Final overall classification
1. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing
2. Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank at 11 secs
3. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-ISD at 15 secs
4. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at 24 secs
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at 30 secs
Stage winner Fabian Cancellara takes his first win for Leopard-Trek
Cadel Evans on his way to winning overall
Robert Gesink (left), winner Cadel Evans and Michele Scarponi (right)
Cadel Evans celebrates