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
Stage 10: Horner wins stage and regains race lead
Stage nine: Moreno wins stage to take race lead
Stage eight: Konig wins, Roche takes lead
Stage seven: Stybar wins from escape
Stage six: Morkov wins after Martin's day-long escape
Stage five: Matthews wins in Lago de Sanabria
Stage four: Moreno wins tough stage
Stage three: Horner takes charge with stage win and overall lead
Stage two: Nicolas Roche attacks to win
Stage one: Astana takes opening team time trial
Vuelta a Espana 2013: Photo galleries
Stage 11 photo gallery
Stage 10 photo gallery
Stage nine photo gallery
Stage eight photo gallery
Stage seven photo gallery
Stage six photo gallery
Stage five photo gallery
Stage four photo gallery
Stage three photo gallery
Stage two photo gallery
Stage one photo gallery
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Nick Bull is an NCTJ qualified journalist who has written for a range of titles, as well as being a freelance writer at Beat Media Group, which provides reports for the PA Media wire which is circulated to the likes of the BBC and Eurosport. His work at Cycling Weekly predominantly dealt with professional cycling, and he now holds a role as PR & Digital Manager at SweetSpot Group, which organises the Tour of Britain.
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