Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) has won the Queen stage of Tirreno-Adriatico.
The Italian soloed to victory on the snow covered Prati di Tivo to finish ahead of Astana’s Roman Kreuziger and Chris Horner (RadioShack-Nissan-Trek) who retained his overall lead.
“I knew the terrain was right today for me to have a go,” said Nibali speaking after the 196km fifth stage from Martinsicuro to Prati di Tivo.
“I couldn’t miss the chance of reopening the fight for the overall. This was the day’s racing I’d wanted and I’m very happy. I came to this Tirreno with lots of determination, and today I’ve been able to let it rip.”
Horner said he decided to let Nibali go to defend his overall lead.
“In the final kilometers when Nibali went, I had to decide which card to play since there were so many bonus seconds available on the line. If I chased Nibali too hard but faded at the end, Kreuziger would have gained more seconds than just the bonus seconds, so I decided to give away something to Nibali to better protect the jersey.”
Monday’s 181km sixth stage starts and finishes in Offida in the Marche region of central Italy. After an opening lap of 84km with a king of the mountains climb, the riders will tackle six laps of a 16.1km circuit which includes a 1500 metre climb of four per cent gradient. An undulating final three kilometres conludes with a 1200-metre slope of two per cent to the finish.
A pan flat, 9.3km individual time trial concludes the race on Tuesday (13). Niabli identified Kreuziger as a serious contender for overall victory if he performs in the closing test against the clock.
“Horner is a tough and seasoned opponent, but maybe Kreuziger gives more cause for concern as he’s a strong time triallist. My last time trial was in Argentina, and then I did a test with the team in Montichiari to improve positioning. I’ll give it my all,” he said.
Tirenno-Adriatico stage five
1) Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) – Liquigas-Cannondale – 5:46:33
2) Roman Kreuziger (CZE) – Astana Pro Team + 16”
3) Christopher Horner (USA)- RadioShack-Nissan-Trek
4) Johnny Hoogerland (NED)- Vacansoleil-DCM + 18”
5) Michele Scarponi (ITA) – Lampre – ISD
6) Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA) – Colnago – CSF Inox
7) Rinaldo Nocentini (ITA) – AG2R La Mondiale + 23”
8) Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (SPA) – Katusha Team +37”
9) Christophe Riblon (FRA) – AG2R La Mondiale
10) Wout Poels (NED) – Vacansoleil-DCM + 53”
1) Christopher Horner (USA) – RadioShack-Nissan-Trek 24:48.39
2) Roman Kreuziger (CZE) – Astana Pro Team +5”
3) Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) – Liquigas-Cannondale + 12”
4) Rinaldo Nocentini (ITA) – AG2R La Mondiale + 45”
5) Michele Scarponi (ITA) – Lampre – ISD + 47”
6) Hoogerland (NED) – Vacansoleil-DCM + 48”
7) Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (SPA) – Katusha Team +1.00
8) Christophe Riblon (FRA) – AG2R La Mondiale +1.10
9) Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA) – Colnago – CSF Inox
10) Cameron Meyer (AUS) – GreenEDGE + 1.23