Fabian Cancellara obliterates the opposition in Tirreno-Adriatico final time trial to take stage victory as Greg Van Avermaet clings onto overall top spot
- Photos from Graham Watson

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) has become the first Belgian rider to win Tirreno-Adriatico since Roger de Vlaeminck in 1977, doing enough to secure the victory after Tuesday’s final time trial. Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) won the stage with a typically fast performance.

Without Sunday’s cancelled ‘queen’ mountain stage, the overall classification was very tightly packed before the TT, with only 34 seconds separating the entire top 10. Overnight race leader Van Avermaet started the day seven seconds ahead of Stybar and eight ahead of Sagan.

Sagan put in a solid ride reminiscent of the one that propelled him to the overall victory in the Tour of California in 2015, and it looked like he might have done enough.

Greg Van Avermaet in action during the Stage 7 time trial of the 2016 Tirreno-Adriatico

Greg Van Avermaet in action during the Stage 7 time trial of the 2016 Tirreno-Adriatico

Van Avermaet – not traditionally as strong as Sagan against the clock – needed to be within seven seconds to secure the overall win. He did it – just.

>>> Greg Van Avermaet vs Peter Sagan: A new rivalry?

A single second separated Sagan and Van Avermaet in the final general classification, giving Sagan yet another runner-up spot to add to his expanding collection. It’s Van Avermaet’s first WorldTour stage race overall victory.

Fabian Cancellara in action during the Stage 7 time tirial of the 2016 Tirreno-Adriatico

Fabian Cancellara in action during the stage seven time trial of the 2016 Tirreno-Adriatico

In terms of the stage, Cancellara was head and shoulders above everyone else, clocking the fastest time on the completely flat 10.1-kilometre course in San Benedetto del Tronto. On his way, Cancellara not only caught the man who set off a minute ahead of him, but the one that set off two minutes ahead too.

Johan Le Bon (FDJ) was second on the stage at 13 seconds, with Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) in third at 15 seconds.

Le Bon put down a surprise early fast time, continuing to reap the benefits of FDJ’s off-season focus on aerodynamics and time trial training – the squad were collectively third in the Tirreno opening team time trial.

Even former world champion Martin failed to beat Le Bon, and it was down to Cancellara to finally better the Frenchman’s mark – the only rider who did.

Alex Dowsett in action during the Stage 7 time trial of the 2016 Tirreno-Adriatico

Alex Dowsett: top Movistar rider in fourth place

British time trial champion Alex Dowsett (Movistar) placed fourth on the stage, only fractionally slower than Martin. Fellow Brit Adam Blythe (Tinkoff) wasn’t so fortunate, taking a tumble out on the course and finishing in last place.

Many of the riders taking part in Tirreno-Adriatico will now turn their attention to the next WorldTour race on the calendar, Milan-San Remo on Saturday (March 19).

Results

Tirreno-Adriatico 2016, stage seven: San Benedetto del Tronto, 10.1km (ITT)
1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek-Segafredo in 11-08
2. Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ at 13 secs
3. Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx-QuickStep at 15 secs
4. Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar at 15 secs
5. Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Tinkoff at 17 secs
6. Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ at 18 secs
7. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data at 19 secs
8. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky at 20 secs
9. Damiano Caruso (Uta) BMC Racing at 22 secs
10. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff at 24 secs
Other
12. Steve Cummings (GBr) Dimension Data at 24 secs

Final general classification
1. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing in 20-42-22
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff at 1 sec
3. Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx-QuickStep at 23 secs
4. Sebastien Reichenbach (Swi) FDJ at 24 secs
5. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 24 secs
6. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 29 secs
7. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixxx-QuickStep at 33 secs
8. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky at 39 secs
9. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 45 secs
10. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff at 48 secs

Adam Blythe in action during the Stage 7 time trial of the 2016 Tirreno-Adriatico

Adam Blythe crashed during the stage

Peter Sagan in action during the Stage 7 time trial of the 2016 Tirreno-Adriatico

Peter Sagan put in a solid ride in the final time trial – the best of the overall contenders – but just missed out on the win

  • dguerrab

    Simon Le Bon’s grandson

  • Derek Biggerstaff

    John the Good.

  • Edvid

    GvA beating Sagan in a stage or semi-classic is one thing – doing it in T-A overall (and for the fourth time in succession across all races!) is quite another. I wondered if this race would end up like the 2015 ToC (also affected by stage alterations), and it almost did.

    Cancellara was an absolute beast today – 13 seconds over 10km is something else. Good to see Dowsett making the top 5 (for just the second time in the WT) today.

  • Edvid

    French U23 ITT champion (2011/12) and 3rd in last year’s Chrono des Nations.

  • Lee Wingate

    great work Alex!!

    who is Johan Le Bon?