Fri, Mar 13, 2015 - Page 18 News List

Malori claims overall lead of Tirreno-Adriatico

AFP, MILAN, Italy

Italian rider Adriano Malori, center, of the Movistar Team is kissed by two hostesses on the podium wearing the overall leader’s blue jersey after winning the prologue of the Tirreno-Adriatico cycling race in Lido di Camaiore, Italy, on Wednesday.

Photo: EPA

Italian Adriano Malori won the prologue of the Tirreno-Adriatico, a 5.4km time trial around the Lido di Camaiore, to take the overall lead of the Italian stage race on Wednesday.

A team time trial over 22.7km was supposed to open the UCI WorldTour event, but the organizers were forced into drastic changes after bad weather damaged parts of the course.

Malori’s team would have been among the contenders for victory in the longer team event, but the 27-year-old Movistar rider from Parma went on to taste victory himself.

Malori clocked a time of 6 minutes, 4 seconds on the mainly flat course, finishing one second ahead of Swiss classics specialist Fabian Cancellara and two in front of Belgian Greg van Avermaet.

“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,” Malori said.

Malori was due to wear the race leader’s blue jersey in yesterday’s first stage, a 153km ride from Camaiore to Cascina, but will expect to give up the race lead as the overall challengers come to the fore.

Spain’s Alberto Contador, the reigning champion, is expected to ramp up his preparations this week for a tilt at a rare Giro d’Italia and Tour de France double.

Two-time Tour de France champion Contador is aiming this year to become the first cyclist since Italian Marco Pantani to win the Italian and French three-week Grand Tours in the same calendar year.

Although missing Britain’s former Tour de France champion Chris Froome, the Race of the Two Seas, as Tirreno-Adriatico is 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 Giro d’Italia champion, as well as 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.

Paris-NicE

AFP, SAINT-POURGAIN-SUR-SIOULE, France

Australia’s Michael Matthews took the overall leader’s maillot jaune in the Paris-Nice on Wednesday with his Orica-Greenedge teammates helping him to victory in the third stage.

The 24-year-old Matthews, who has stage wins to his credit in both the Vuelta a Espana and the Giro d’Italia, edged home first ahead of Italians Davide Cimolai and Giacomo Nizzolo, with fourth place going to Norwegian Alexander Kristoff.

Polish world champion Michal Kwiatkowski had held the overall lead from his win in the prologue, but Matthews earned enough bonus points as the stage winner on Wednesday to take over.

The early going in the 179km run down from Saint-Amand-Montron was marked by a breakaway by French pair Florian Vachon and Thomas Voeckler, accompanied by Belgian champion Philippe Gilbert, but they were reeled in by the peloton with about 10km to go after which Frenchman Romain Bardet, Belgian teammate Jan Bakelants and Paolo Tiralongo of Italy went clear.

In turn they were caught with 2km to go, setting up the sprint finish won by Matthews.

Yesterday’s 204km fourth stage of the Race to the Sun was due to includes eight climbs, with the final highlight a climb up the Croix de Chaubouret pass overlooking Saint-Etienne.

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