Fabian Cancellara (CSC) celebrated his 27th birthday with overall victory in Tirreno-Adriatico on Tuesday confirming that he will be a favourite for Saturday?s Milan-San Remo.
Cancellara avoided several crashes on the rain soaked final laps of the last stage in San Benedetto del Tronto to beat Italy?s Enrico Gasparotto (Barloworld) by 16 seconds. Talented Swedish rider Thomas Lovkvist (High Road) was third at 40 seconds.
Cancellara set up his victory by winning Sunday?s 26km time trial, and with some impressive riding on the hilly stages and uphill finishes that characterise Tirreno-Adriatico.
Italy?s Francesco Chicchi (Liquigas) won the final stage, beating Danilo Napolitano (Lampre) and Mark Cavendish (High Road) in the dash to the line.
Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) was also in the front group that went clear in the rain but opted not to contest the sprint to avoid the risk of crashing just a few days before Milan-San Remo. Oscar Freire (Rabobank), Tom Boonen and Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) also avoided any risk by finishing the stage in the main bunch.
Cavendish was blocked in behind the other sprinters during the final kilometre of the stage but then managed to get clear on the right and made a late surge to the line. He was the fastest in the final one hundred metres and if the finish had been just a few metres further down the road, the young Brit would have won.
Cavendish had a relatively quiet Tirreno-Adriatico and was only able to contest the final sprint but he will now head to Manchester for next week?s track world championships with some quality miles in his legs.
Cancellara celebrated his first every victory in a major stage race and his 27th birthday with his CSC team mates before focusing on Saturday?s Milan-San Remo.