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Being There: Tirreno Adriatico

March 10, 2012
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                                       Still smokin’ at 40 years old – Chris Horner.
                                                             Photo: Bettini

At 40 years young, Chris Horner showed on the the hilly 155 mile long Stage 4 of Tirreno Adriatico that he  still has what it takes to be competitive in the World Tour. The RadioShack-Nissan Trek rider was 5th in the uphill finish in Chieti Saturday and on the strength of his teams opening TTT, Horner took over the blue leaders jersey of the Race Between the Seas. Originally slated for Paris-Nice, Horner made his debut in the Italian race in solid fashion. Horner is 7″ ahead of Astana rider Roman Kreuziger with three stages still to race, but Horner has a good chance to remain in the lead through the finish Tuesday. Horner told Italian TV post-stage “After our TTT performance, I thought it might be possible to  be the leader here. I got great protection today and in the finale, Cancellara set me up perfectly for the final climb. My team support today was very important…my legs are good and I now have a shot to win the overall.”

Earlier in Tirreno Adriatico, Road Bike Action chatted with Horner about tackling his first race after 8 months away from the peloton after his terrible crash in the 2011 Tour de France where he was forced to abandon with a concussion. Later a lung embolism kept him from racing and on blood thinners, which kept him from racing. “Yeah I’m baack! It’s like a whole season gone…what happened to it?!, Horner joked. “I’m feeling good now, my health is good and it looks like Tirreno Adriatico was the right race to pick with the sunshine and good weather.” And the Italian sun just may continue to shine on Horner all the way to victory in San Benedetto del Tronto on Tuesday.

Filippo Pozzato Comeback In A Comeback

Road Bike Action caught up with Farnese Vini-Selle Italia’s Filippo Pozzato, who crashed at the Tour of Qatar one month ago and broke his collarbone says he’s back on track at Tirreno Adriatico. A positive Pozzato explained “Even with my broken collarbone I’ve been training pretty well and am looking forward to the upcoming races. My form is coming on”, he said. We asked the 30 year old Italian about the pressure to perform this year on the new team and Pozzato seemed to welcome the question. “I’m looking forward to the season even if  it didn’t start so well (from the crash). I have a lot of enthusiasm to perfume, do do well and I am going to do something?things at this team are much better  for me; the set-up is just the way I like it and the atmosphere is excellent.”

HRH & The Weltmeister

Sky’s World Champion Mark Cavendish isn’t the easiest interview; the Manxman prefers to speak with his legs as he showed in Stage Two of Tirreno Adriatico with a resounding sprint win. Cav deigned to chat a moment with Road Bike Action and told us he was happy to visit his Italian home away from home in Tuscany (his Italian base is in Quaratta, near Florence), but after Milano-Sanremo he would head back to his home in Essex, east of London where his girlfriend Peta is expecting the couples first child. “I’m very excited about becoming a father”, said Cav. In the pre-race press conference at Tirreno Adriatico, Cavendish revealed he dined with HRH Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace on a shrimp starter and roast lamb mains after receiving his MBE award last November, “We were talking about the Olympics and (my event) finishing on the Mall outside Buckingham Palace next year and I asked her to give me a cheer when we come past.”

Slovakian Peter Sagan of Liquigas ended Team Sky’s run of sprint victories by claiming the fourth stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico over 252km from Amelia to Chieti on Saturday. American Chris Horner, who came fifth on the stage, took over the leader’s blue jersey from Australia’s Matthew Goss.

   Sagan, who had sprinted to a third place finish in Friday’s third stage, edged out Czech Roman Kreuziger and Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali at the line following a five-man break. Astana’s Kreuziger, one of the favourites for overall victory, is now second in the standings, seven seconds behind Horner.

   Goss had lost touch with the leaders on the toughest climbs of the arduous mountainous stage, however his GreenEdge team-mate and compatriot Cameron Meyer is now third overall at 13-seconds back.

Results from the fourth stage of Tirreno-Adriatico, a 252 km ride from Amelia to Chieti on Saturday:
   1. Peter Sagan (SVK/LIQ) 7hr 24min 50sec, 2. Roman Kreuziger (CZE/AST) at 0:00sec, 3. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/LIQ) s.t., 4. Danilo Di Luca (ITA/ASA) s.t., 5. Chris Horner (USA/RSH) s.t., 6. Johnny Hoogerland (NED/VAC) 0:08, 7. Rinaldo Nocentini (ITA/ALM) 0:10, 8. Cadel Evans (AUS/BMC) 0:12, 9. Michele Scarponi (ITA/LAM) 0:12, 10. Joaquin Rodriguez (ESP/KAT) 0:12


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