World time trial champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) won the stage 7 time trial at Tirreno-Adriatico on Tuesday in San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) defended his overall lead on the pancake-flat, 9.2km seaside course to lock up the “Race of the Two Seas” for the second consecutive year.
Nibali took the race lead after finishing second in Monday’s punishing stage 6 that featured three ascents up a steep ramp at 27-percent gradient.
“I was looking for this day because in the mountains was hard for me,” said Martin. “It went better from day-to-day, but the first day wasn’t good for me. I still need some time to improve in the mountains. … It was a good week for the team.”
Adriano Malori (Lampre-Merida) was second on the final stage, at six seconds. Andrey Amador (Movistar) surprised for third on the day, 10 seconds off Martin’s pace and two seconds faster than fourth-place Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan).
In the overall, Chris Froome (Sky) defended his second-place position, but could not close the 34-second gap to Nibali. He finished 23 seconds outside of the Sicilian in the GC.
Alberto Contador entered the stage fourth, behind Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha). Contador and Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma) vaulted over “Purito,” on the final day, however, and finished third and fourth, respectively.
“I was really, really happy with this Tirreno. It was really important to win,” said Nibali. “This was more important than last year because of all the riders who came, like Chris Froome and Alberto Contador.”