Fabian Cancellara won the stage 11 individual time trial at the Vuelta a España on Wednesday in Tarazona, Spain. Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard) was victorious in a duel with TT world champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), topping the German by 37 seconds in the hilly 38.8-kilometer test.
Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r La Mondiale) was third, at 1:24.
“When you win, it’s always big satisfaction that you’ve been waiting so long,” said Cancellara. “I’m really happy with the performance, I’m really happy with the win, and I’m really a long way toward the big one I really want to win [the world championship].”
Cancellara said this would stand him in good stead ahead of the time trial at the world championships in Florence later this month.
“I’m coming into form for Florence,” he said. “Having said that, I can’t really compare myself to Tony Martin today, given that the course in Florence is very different to this one.”
The time trial in Florence will be largely flat and run over 57.9km.
In the GC race, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) grabbed the overall lead back from Chris Horner (RadioShack), registering the fourth fastest time on the day, 1:25 off Cancellara’s mark. Horner, who entered the day with a 43-second advantage, lost 1:29 to the Italian.
It was a great result for Nibali, who won this year’s Giro d’Italia, as he was stung by an wasp on Tuesday and awoke on Wednesday morning with a badly swollen face. The stinge didn’t seem to affect the 28-year-old, who has greatly improved his
time-trialling this season.
“Yesterday I had a little problem with a wasp and this morning I woke up with swollen eyes,” said Nibali. “But I didn’t really have a problem during the time trial.
“I knew that Alejandro Valverde could produce a good time trial and that was the case. ‘Purito’ [Joaquim Rodríguez] found it tougher, but they remain my main rivals.”
Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) fared best of the other GC contenders, losing 1:48 to Cancellara (23 seconds to Nibali) and finishing sixth on the stage. The Irishman now sits second overall and trails Nibali by 33 seconds.
Even with an early front wheel change, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) lost just four seconds to Roche and is now third overall, tied with fourth-placed Horner at 46 seconds.
Diminutive climber Domenico Pozzovivo’s (Ag2r La Mondiale) stunning, and unexpected, result lifted him to sixth overall, just behind Rodríguez, the third-placed finisher at this year’s Tour de France, who failed to shine in finishing 21st on the stage.
The 68th Vuelta continues Thursday with the 164km 12th stage, from Maella to Tarragona. With only one categorized climb, just beyond the midway point, and a flat final 20km, it should favor the sprinters.
Agence France Presse contributed to this report.