Germany?s Andreas Kloden (Astana) won the 30km time trial at Tirreno-Adriatico on Sunday and took the overall race lead of the Italian stage race.
Kloden a set a time of 41-32 for the testing course, beating 2008 Tour of Flanders winner Stijn Devolder (Quick Step) by 20 seconds and Sweden?s Thomas Lovkvist (Columbia) by 21 seconds.
Kloden won Tirreno-Adriatico in 2007 but now faces the difficult task of defending the race lead during Monday?s tough 235km mountain stage. The stage includes 3000 metres of climbing and the climb of Sasso Tetto is 14.65km long and has an average 7% gradient. It is only 40km from the finish of the stage and so is likely to decide the stage and the race.
The Diquigiovanni team have promised to go on the attack and could work over Kloden thanks to a combined effort by Michele Scarponi, Gilberto Simon and Davide Rebellin. Scarponi, back after a ban for his involvement in Operacion Puerto, performed surprisingly well in the time trial and is only 21 seconds behind Kloden overall. Lovkvist could also benefit from any attacks as he is only six seconds behind Kloden.
?it was a nice time trial for me. Perhaps not nice but the course was good for me. It was up and down and then flat in the middle but it was very hard at the end,? Kloden said.
?I?m lucky to win. Now we?ll see what happens tomorrow (Monday). Lovkvist is a good rider and he?s got a strong team but tomorrow is hard and a long stage, we?ll see.?
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