World time trial champion Fabian Cancellara set up overall victory at Tirreno-Adriatico with a dominant ride in the 26km time trial that gave him a 16 second overall lead with just two stages remaining.
Cancellara set a time of 33 minutes 41 seconds, beating the USA?s David Zabriskie by 22 seconds and Sweden?s Thomas Lovkvist by 54 seconds.
Cancellara now leads Italy?s Enrico Gasparotto by 16 seconds in the overall standings, with Lovkvist third at 40 seconds. Previous leader Niklas Axelsson of Sweden lost more than two minutes to Cancellara and so blew any chance of overall victory.
Germany?s Linus Gerdemann also lost time after crashing in the final kilometre of the time trial. He hit a curb, injuring his left knee, left side and chin. He finished ninth in the time trial but was taken to hospital after the finish.
Cancellara had told Cycling Weekly that he was not focused on overall victory before the start of the Tirreno-Adriatico but he impressively limited his losses on Friday?s steep uphill finish and then used his time trial superiority to take the race leader?s blue jersey.
?I?m happy. It?s what I wanted,? Cancellara said after pulling on the blue jersey.
?Hopefully I can hang on to the lead and give myself a nice birthday present on Tuesday, give something back to my team mates and my family for their help.?
?I?m not a climb and lost some time in the final part of the stage but I?ve shown I?ve been competitive on the other hilly stages of the race and that allowed me to take the race lead.?
?I was careful not to put myself under too much pressure but I really wanted to win and so I gave it everything in the time trial. Now there are only two stages left and so I?ve got a great chance of winning overall. Monday?s stage is hilly but I?ve got a great team who will help me, while Tuesday?s stage should end in a sprint.?
?I?m not at my very best yet because my goals for the first part of the season are the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in early April, but I?m not going to waste my chance of winning Tirreno-Adriatico.?
Monday?s 196km sixth stage is from Civitanova Marche to Castelfidardo. It includes five laps of a hilly circuit but should not cause Cancellara and CSC too many problems.
|TIRRENO-ADRIATICO STAGE FIVE|
1 F.Cancellara (Sui) CSC 33mins 41secs
2 D.Zabriskie (USA) Slipstream at 22secs
3 T.Lövkvist (SWe) Team High Road st 52secs
4 M.Fothen (All) Gerolsteiner st 56secs
5 E.Gasparotto (Ita) Barloworld at 59secs
6 M.Ignatiev (Rus) Tinkoff at 1min 08secs
7 G.E.Larsson (Swe) Team High Road at 1min 11secs
8 G.Visconti (Ita) Quick Step at 1min 14secs
9 L.Gerdemann (Ger) Team High Road at 1min 15secs
10 M.Quinziato (Ita) Liquigas at 1min 16secs
1 Fabian Cancellara (Sui) CSC 18hrs 30min 47secs
2 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Barloworld 16secs
3 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team High Road 40secs
4 Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team High Road 46secs
5 Markus Fothen (Ger) Gerolsteiner 53secs
6 Niklas Axelsson (Swe) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni 1im 32secs
7 Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Team CSC 1min 36secs
8 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Liquigas 1imn 50secs
9 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre 1min 51secs
10 Tadej Valjavec (Slo) AG2r – La Mondiale 1min 53secs