Contador moves into UCI WorldTour top three after Tirreno-Adriatico victory

Posted: March 19, 2014 by kirisyko in Bike, Road cycling
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Alberto Contador (Team Tinkoff-Saxo) has moved directly into third place in the UCI WorldTour after the Spaniard racked up his first ever victory in Italy’s Tirreno-Adriatico race.

Contador completed the seven day Italian stage race a solid two minutes and five seconds ahead of Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team), whilst the Spaniard’s team-mate Roman Kreuziger completed the final podium in third.

Curiously enough, just like the triumph taken by Carlos Alberto Betancur (AG2R La Mondiale) in Paris-Nice two days before, en route to his overall victory, Contador also racked up two stage wins, both of them in mountainous stages.

The first came at Cittareale where a long, draggy climb to the finish with a strong headwind proved a difficult combination for the overall contenders. However, after some skirmishing close to the finish, Contador finally accelerated away both to take the stage win and reduce the size of Michel Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step)’s overall lead.

Saturday’s probing attack by Contador proved to be a foretaste of things to come, as on Sunday’s even more mountainous leg across the daunting Passo Lanciano pass and then onto the ultra-steep Guardagriale climb the Spaniard launched a devastating move that neither Kwiatkowski nor any of the other top names could answer.

Some 32 kilometres from the finish, Contador took off alone. A timid attempt by Quintana to limit the gap proved futile, and instead the Team Tinkoff-Saxo leader soloed across to four earlier breakaways on the approach roads to Guardagriale.

The 30 percent slopes of Guardagriale proved too much for any of his closest pursuers and Contador crossed the line for his second straight win and to claim the overall lead – as it proved, for good.

The final two stages, won by Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Italy’s Adriano Malori (Movistar Team), had little effect on the final classification and Contador captured his most important win since the Vuelta a España in 2012.

“I came to this race wanting to win it,” Contador said afterwards. “I wasn’t happy at [stage three’s finish to] Arezzo when I lost 6 seconds to Kwiatkowski, because I thought those seconds might be decisive. But in the end I’ve won by a matter of minutes, so I’m very happy.”

In the UCI WorldTour the margins between the top three could now hardly be narrower: Betancur and Orica-GreenEDGE’s Simon Gerrans both have 114, whilst Contador is only two points further behind.

Meanwhile, Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) and World Champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) remain with their previous totals of 88 points, in fourth and fifth spot respectively, but ahead of them Contador’s victory now widens the battle for UCI WorldTour leadership from two riders to three.

The UCI WorldTour Nations classification leader remains unchanged overall, with Australia dominating with 336 points. However, after Australia’s super-strong start to the season, other countries are beginning to close the gap, most notably second-placed Colombia, whose total of 248 points puts them almost within striking distance. And Spain, who gain six spots and move from sixth up to third with 206 points following Tirreno-Adriatico, are not far behind.

The teams classification, by far the most unstable of the three UCI WorldTour rankings, has its third leader in as many events. AG2R La Mondiale have moved up two spots from third to first with 216 points, whilst Team Tinkoff-Saxo, in large part thanks to Contador and Kreuziger, soar straight to the number two spot with 183.

As a result, Lampre-Merida drop from first to third with 171 points, whilst Movistar Team, last year’s winners of the classification, gain the most of any top-ranked team and move up from eighth to fourth overall, with 158 points.

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  1. […] Contador moves into UCI WorldTour top three after Tirreno-Adriatico victory […]

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