Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard) issued a warning shot to his rivals ahead of the World Time Trial Championships later this month by today winning the eleventh stage of the 2013 Vuelta a Espana against the clock.
Cancellara, a four-time world champion in the discipline, completed the 38.8-kilometre course around the Roman town of Tarazona in 51 minutes dead, 37 seconds faster than the incumbent rainbow jersey Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step).
Ag2r-La Mondiale rider Domenico Pozzovivo took third, 1-24 in arrears, while 2010 Vuelta winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) was a further second back in fourth.
That showing was enough for Nibali to re-take the race lead once again, as overnight leader Chris Horner (RadioShack-Leopard) could only finish 20th on the stage. He now has a 33-second advantage over Ireland’s Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff).
This was only Cancellara’s third time trial victory of the year, following successes in the Swiss National Championships in June and the Tour of Austria at the start of July.
However, beating German specialist Martin three weeks to the day before the Worlds in Florence is the bigger story, given that he has overshadowed by him in the discipline since 2011.
Cancellara was the fastest rider at both time checks along the course, which included the third-category climb of the Alto de Moncayo after 18 kilometres, although Martin only lost three seconds to his rivals on the largely-downhill second half of the stage.
Vuelta a Espana 2013, stage 11: Tarazona-Tarazona individual time trial
1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Leopard 38.8km in 51-00
2. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quick Step at 0-37
3. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 1-24
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 1-25
5. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Sky at 1-41
6. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Saxo-Tinkoff at 1-48
7. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 1-52
8. Jerome Coppel (Fra) Cofidis at 1-52
9. Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana at 1-53
10. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 2-13
General classification after stage 11
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 41-22-22
2. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0-33
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0-46
4. Chris Horner (USA) RadioShack-Leopard at st
5. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 2-33
6. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 2-44
7. Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale at 2-55
8. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 3-35
9. Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo-Tinkoff at 3-46
10. Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha at 3-56
Fabian Cancellara in full stage-winning flow
Vincenzo Nibali back in the race lead
Vuelta a Espana 2013: Stage reports
Vuelta a Espana 2013: Photo galleries