Movistar’s Adriano Malori again proved his time trialing proficiency, winning Tirreno Adriatico’s stage 1 TT on Wednesday and claiming the race’s first blue leader’s jersey.
Malori, 27, beat time trial veteran Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) by a mere second over the short, flat 5.4km route in Lido di Camaiore, Italy. BMC Racing’s Greg Van Avermaet, fresh off of a second-place finish at Strade Bianche, finished third, two seconds behind.
“I’m really happy because I really didn’t expect to win, and to beat Cancellara — who is a great rider — makes it even more special,” said Malori. “I’m super happy. This was really one victory I couldn’t even dream of.
“I am working to improve in the time trial, but riders such as [Tony] Martin, [Bradley] Wiggins, Cancellara, and [Tom] Dumoulin are better than me. I hope to be one of the best ones in the world in the coming years.”
To win the short stage, the Italian rode an average speed of 53.406kph. Malori is an accomplished time trialist, having won individual tests in the Vuelta a España, the 2014 Tirreno-Adriatico, and Tour de San Luis. He’s also the reigning Italian national time trial champion.
The race’s defending champion, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) finished 61st, 19 seconds behind. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) was two seconds behind Contador. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) had the strongest ride of the GC favorites, finishing only 11 seconds off the winning time of 6:04.
“I would have liked to have done better, some days you have good legs, and others, you don’t,” Contador told reporters at the finish. “Right from the start, I couldn’t find my rhythm. At the end of the day, it’s only 5km, and I lost some time to Uran and Nibali, but I hope I can recover those seconds.
“Surprised at Nibali? No, we know that Nibali is a great rider. His form will be growing, and he will be one of the top favorites to win the race. Sure, eight seconds count, especially in races like Tirreno and Paris-Nice, so they are very valuable. We’ll see if there’s a chance to gain them back. Terminillo something else? Well, let’s hope so, but Terminillo is still a few days away, so we have to go day-to-day, and we’ll see what the final result ends up to be.”
“Wearing the ‘maglia azzurra’ in such a beautiful, important race makes me really happy,” said the new race leader, Malori. “It’s undoubtedly one of the wins I will appreciate the most at the end of my career. It would be nice to keep it for as long as possible, but we into the team have a strong contender for the GC in Nairo [Quintana], so we will work for the next two days to keep [the jersey] but always staying focused on protecting him and helping him out where possible.”
Tirreno-Adriatico continues Thursday with a 153-kilometer stage from Camaiore to Cascina.
Andrew Hood and Agence France-Presse contributed to this report.