Nibali takes stage, Horner keeps lead
Sun, 11 Mar 15:13:00 2012
Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) won stage five of Tirreno-Adriatico from Martinsicuro to the ski resort of Prati di Tivo to move up to third overall in the general classification.
Nibali attacked alone with four kilometres of the climb remaining and finished 16 seconds clear of Roman Kreuziger (Astana Pro Team) of the Czech Republic. Chris Horner (RadioShack Nissan Trek) was third, also at 16 seconds.
Horner kept the race leader's blue jersey but Kreuziger is second overall at five seconds. Nibali is now third at 12 seconds and a contender for overall victory when Tirreno-Adriatico ends on Tuesday.
"I’m happy to win today. But we’ll have to wait for the time trial to see who wins overall. 12 seconds is a lot to pull back but we’ll see what happens," Nibali said.
"I’ve got a great team that will help me during Monday’s stage but I think the time trial will decide things. I think it’ll be more difficult to beat Kreuziger than Horner.
"I knew the central part of the climb was the hardest. Horner went hard there and made a selection. When we caught him I saw that everyone else was catching their breath, so I went for it. I felt good and so did the same effort I did to win the stage in Oman. I’ve been focused on winning Tirreno-Adriatico all week and I want to win it. Peter (Sagan) partially accepted his mistake yesterday and he worked hard for me today, which shows there no problem in the team."
Like Nibali, Horner also expects this year’s Tirreno-Adriatico to be decided in Tuesday’s 9.3km time trial.
"It’ll be close for sure. Kreuziger and I are very close on the time trial bike and I only have a five-second lead. I think the time trial can go either way. I know I just need to go incredibly hard for the nine kilometres of the race” the American said.
Horner is 40 and is one of the oldest riders in the peloton, but he still enjoys racing.
"I didn’t expect to be racing at 40. I thought I’d be riding my bike at weekends and working a different job. As the years have passed, the level has gotten better and better but I’m enjoying myself immensely at the moment.
“My Secret? I train, I sleep and I eat. It sounds simple but that’s it. I can train all day and be happy. The most difficult thing is to say no to family, friends and sometimes to sponsors, because they take your time. I understand the time I need to find my top, top form and in that period you need to say no."
Nibali takes stage win