Milan - Italian Adriano Malori has won the opening prologue of the
Tirreno-Adriatico, a 5.4 km time trial around the Lido di Camaiore, to
take the overall lead of the Italian stage race on Wednesday.
team time trial over 22.7 km was supposed to open the March 11-17 World
Tour event, however organisers were forced into drastic changes after
bad weather damaged parts of the course in certain areas.
BMC team would have been among the contenders for victory in the longer
team event, however the 27-year-old Movistar rider from Parma went on
to taste victory himself.
Malori clocked a time of 6min 04sec for
the mainly flat course, finishing one second ahead of Swiss classics
specialist Fabian Cancellara and two in front of Belgian Greg Van
"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.
Malori will wear the race leader's blue
jersey into Thursday's first stage, a 153 km ride from Camaiore to
Cascina, but will be expected to give up the race lead as the overall
challengers come to the fore.
Spain's Alberto Contador, the
reigning race champion, is expected to ramp up his preparations this
week for a tilt at a rare Giro d'Italia-Tour de France double.
Tour de France champion Contador is aiming this year to become the
first cyclist since deceased Italian Marco Pantani to win the Italian
and French three-week Grand Tours in the same calendar year.
missing Britain's former Tour de France champion Chris Froome, the
"Race of the Two Seas", as Tirreno-Adriatico is affectionately known,
will see Contador lock jaws with some of the rivals expected to stand in
his way this season.
Former two-time Tirreno-Adriatico winner
Vincenzo Nibali, the reigning Tour de France champion, is also racing as
is Colombian climbing specialist Nairo Quintana, the 2014 Giro d'Italia
champion and former Giro runner-up Rigoberto Uran.
On Wednesday the Spaniard finished in a time of 6:23, eight seconds slower than Nibali with Uran nine seconds faster.
Results on Wednesday from the opening prologue of Tirreno-Adriatico stage race, a 5.4km time trial around Lido di Camaiore:
Prologue and general classification
1. Adriano Malori (ITA) Movistar 6min 04sec, 2. Fabian Cancellara (SUI/Trek) at 01sec, 3. Greg van Avermaet (BEL/BMC) 2, 4. Maciej Bodnar (POL) same time, 5. Matthias Brandle (AUT) s.t., 6. Daniel Oss (ITA) 4, 7. Ramunas Navardauskas (LTU) 5, 8. Steven Cummings (GBR) 6, 9. Peter Sagan (SVK) s.t., 10. Johan Le Bon (FRA) s.t.