OFFIDA, Italy (VN) — Chris Horner (RadioShack-Nissan) will be in the pole position for Tuesday’s down-to-the-wire time trial battle for victory in Tirreno-Adriatico. The American was confident leaving Offida, but so too were his top rivals, separated by just a handful of seconds.
Horner defended his race leader’s jersey in Monday’s rollercoaster circuit course into Offida, but saw GC threat Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) score a six-second, second-place time bonus to bring the seven-day WorldTour race down to seconds for tomorrow’s 9.3km individual time trial.
Horner will have the advantage of starting last, with a five-second head start to Roman Kreuziger (Astana) and now just six seconds to Nibali.
“I’ve made no mistakes,” Horner said when asked if it was dangerous to allow Nibali to reduce the difference from 34 seconds after stage 4 to just six going into Tuesday’s finale.
“The tactics dictate the race,” Horner said. “Kreuziger is the bigger threat I believe. We’ll see tomorrow if I am right. So far, the race has been perfect for me to keep my leader’s jersey.”
Things couldn’t be tighter on GC, with Horner relishing the chance to become the first American to ever win what’s considered the most important Italian stage race behind the Giro d’Italia.
“When I am on good form, I can usually do well in time trials, even win them. I’m on good form now,” Horner said. “It’s not a surprise for me to be here now. I’ve won the Basque Country tour and California last year. My only doubt was whether my embolism in the lung would affect my performance. I knew where I was in training; I knew I would be good.”