The 7 stages of this year’s 45th running of the Tirreno-Adriatico, are now complete. After 1,075 kilometers (668 miles) the ‘Race of The Two Seas” was decided on the last day, March 15, in the time trial by an 11 second margin. Cadel Evans of BMC ended up besting Robert Gesink of Rabobank for the overall win, with Michele Scarponi of Lampre dropping one place to 3rd after the TT. Team RadioShack, once again showed its depth in this discipline by placing 4 riders in the top 20 on the day:
The day’s relatively short individual TT was a perfect showcase for Fabian Cancellara to give his new team, Leopard-Trek, his first win and show yet again why he is the reigning World Time Trial Champion. Putting out something on the order of 500 watts of power over 10-1/2 minutes he averaged an impressive 53 kmh on the 9.3-kilometer course.
However, the best story to come out of Italy this past week for TRS was the strong and steady climb up the leader board each day by our Portuguese [former] National Champion Tiago Machado. After starting out at a bit of a deficit on day one, 30 seconds back following the team’s 8th place showing in the team time trial, Tiago improved on his GC position every single day by staying tightly with the bunches in the early sprint stages, hanging with the sport’s biggest names in the mountain stages, and driving hard for a good showing in the time trial. His placement each day went from 51st to 42nd, to 38th, 14th, 10th, 8th, and finally to 7th. At that rate, he could have made the podium with a few more stages!
At 25-years old, Tiago continues to improve having reached the podium several times in 2010, finishing 2nd overall in the Circuit de la Sarthe (winning the time trial), 3rd overall in the Tour d’Algarve (1st Young Rider Classification), and 3rd overall in the Criterium International (again 1st Young Rider classif.). He’s a strong all-rounder, with his best years still well out in front of him.
As in the past, the Tirreno-Adriatico attracted the big name leaders of many of the elite teams as they tested their early season form against top-level competition. And it was obvious from the start that many of these professionals came to win, not just spin, with such names as Evans, Basso, Gilbert, Nibali, Gesink, Scarponi, and Cunego eying the podium – not just a good week of training. This was the company that Tiago kept all week up front in the peloton. And he showed that he belonged, right there.
By George Hurst, staff writer