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"The time trials no longer give me the motivation they once did, but today is my last day aged 33, so I’ll be turning a page tomorrow. It’s a little thing but it gave me a little extra motivation, and that allows me to find...

Photo: Sirotti








17.03.2015 @ 20:10 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After a week of superb teamwork and two straight days in foul weather Trek Factory Racing was rewarded with the final stage victory and the second step of the final podium Tuesday in Tirreno-Adriatico.


Fabian Cancellara paced himself to a spectacular win for the 10-kilometer individual time trial that concluded the week-long race, as Bauke Mollema rode one of his best ever races against the clock to hold onto second place on the final podium.


It was a long wait in the hot seat for Cancellara who bettered prologue victor Adriano Malori’s (Movistar) time by four seconds, stopping the clock in 11:23 (52.7km/h), and then had more than an hour’s wait before he knew if he had taken the win. Malori held on to claim second place.


 “I am happy with the performance, for sure.” Cancellara said. "I had the feeling that I was going fast to the first split time because it was slightly down, and the way back is false flat up and with the speed bumps…I knew it was harder coming back.  On the way out it was easier to push the big gears, and on the way back you had to push more.  I got pushed from the car that I had to go over 60km/h [at the end] to get what I should.”


“In the prologue I made some mistakes, and I was determined not to repeat that today,”  he added. “The biggest mistake was to come out of the aero position too early [in the prologue] and I kept that in mind today. I gave all-in today and I am really happy and satisfied to have another victory in the pocket, but more so for the larger and bigger picture on the weekend, and the next few weekends after.


“I’m happy, of course. The years pass and the youngsters come through. Adriano is travelling his own road. He will soon be winning not just prologues but longer time trials. The young grow and emerge. Today I watched him closely, of course, after losing on day one.


"ITTs are all about details. I don’t have the same motivation as I once had, but today I’m very happy. I’d prefer not to go into the prologue, because I think there were too many mistakes, and if I start listing them, I may never stop. Today, I managed not to make the same mistakes again, and today’s performance is more representative of my level. I made a mistake in the final kilometre today, but during the prologue I made many other mistakes. I lost by 5 hundredths of a second that day. I’m not saying that if I had ridden like this on cay 1, I would have won by 5 seconds, but it went well for me today.

“At the end of yesterday’s stage I wanted to sprint, but I also wanted to win today. The time trials no longer give me the motivation they once did, but today is my last day aged 33, so I’ll be turning a page tomorrow. It’s a little thing but it gave me a little extra motivation, and that allows me to find a bit more. It is the fruit of experience.

“Strade Bianche and Tirreno are the races that lead to Milano Sanremo and the classics, although remember that today was 10km, not 300km. Sanremo is the longest race in the world. You have to concentrate on every metre, and consider where you use your energy. It’s true that the route has changed, but it changes every year, and so have the winners. In this, Milano Sanremo is unlike Flanders and Roubaix. The most important factor is the weather, which changes the nature of the race. We all know who the favourites are, and there are lots of them. We know that removing Le Manie and returning the finish to Via Roma changes everything, although exactly what it will change, we don’t know. I’m not thinking about it yet, because it depends on the weather.”


It was an early birthday present for Cancellara who will continue his festivities into tomorrow as he also celebrates his 34th year.


“I can say my last day of being 33 has been a good omen to going into 34!”  he laughed. “I also did not make everything today that I usually do before a TT. I slept one half hour after lunch and only 25 minutes on the bike cruising around after I woke up this morning.  Then a few minutes on the rollers and a few efforts for warm up, and then go on. I really tried to not do too much before hand because the body is weak and fatigued from the week - the effort to bring Bauke back in the rain and cold yesterday, and we did 850k in 4 days and that is actually a lot.  I knew with experience that less is better and 100% in the race.”


Bauke Mollema was second last to start and with Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-Quick Step) breathing down his neck in the standings (+9”) he needed a monstrous effort in a discipline that has never been his forte.


Using Cancellara’s time splits in the early part he motored to four seconds quicker than Uran by the intermediate time check and held that advantage over the line. Mollema also chipped into Nairo Quintana’s (Movistar) lead and his final time in the overall standings ended only 18 seconds back from the Colombian. 


“I am tired,” an elated Mollema said afterward. “I didn’t feel like I was going really well, but maybe that’s the feeling you need. A flat TT like this is hard for me, but I am really happy that I kept second place. I didn’t expect to be so close to Quintana, only 18 seconds in GC and that’s really good; I am really satisfied with my level.


“The first part went really will, the wind was still, and I heard that at 2kms I was almost at the same time as Fabian so that gave me a lot of morale to push even harder.  When I heard I was four seconds faster than Uran at the intermediate split that was a good feeling, of course.  I knew then I had a difference of 12 seconds on Uran to lose in the second part, and I knew I was not going to lose so much because I kept some energy for the way back.”


The race against the clock has always been a weak point for Bauke Mollema and as soon as he came aboard Trek Factory Racing began working with him to improve his time trialing ability.  Mollema is delighted with what he has seen so far, and inspired to continue his improvements in the chronos for the remainder of the season.


“We started working on my time trial in December and I am really happy with my position on the bike now, and with the bike itself,” he answered, when questioned about his off-season work in time trialing. “It gives me motivation to train harder and make another step this year, because you can see that if you do a good time trial you can really fight for the podium and fight for victories in the biggest races. Now I want to continue this in the other stage races, too.”


Trek Factory Racing finished the final stage time trial with four riders in the top 20, showing without doubt the team is ready for the big Classics just around the corner. In addition to Cancellara's first place, Markel Irizar placed 12th (+27"), Stijn Devolder 14th (+30") and Jesse Sergent in 18th (+32").



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