Fabian Cancellara crushed the Tirreno-Adriatico final day time trial, powering through the flat 10.1-kilometer course in a time of 11:08 (54.4km/h) and grabbing his fourth victory in six years.
Cancellara won the stage seven race against the clock in 2011, 2012, finished second in 2014 and obliterated his time of 2015 by a full 15 seconds Tuesday, dominating the short time trial that has concluded the week-long race since 2011.
“It was windy fast, short and, yeah, it felt good,” said Cancellara, clearly enjoying some of his best form in a few years. “I mean it was very hard; it may have seemed easy, but it was not.”
“I didn’t do anything specific today, with such a short time trial I focused on pure power. I did not have the easiest week, and I am really happy with my performance. I went out like a mad man, with everything I had.”
Cancellara set the fastest split time by nine seconds, and by the finish he added a few more for good measure, flying over the line 13 seconds ahead of second place Johan Le Bon (FDJ), and 15 more than rival Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick Step).
None of the riders to follow, including the final starters in the fierce battle of the general classification, would better the times of the top three early finishers.
“On one side of the course you enjoy to go 60km/h, but on the other side you have to really push the pedals, and it’s painful,” explained Cancellara about the non-technical, flat parcours. “The speed bumps on the way out you hit at 60km/h and with the wind and cobblestones, you have to be careful and find the right line. They are not that fun.
“It’s a race of pure concentration – you have adrenaline the whole time, but you have to focus on pushing, focus on the road, the asphalt, focus on breathing, and also try to find a way to go over your limit. This is about the clock, about who goes the fastest, so you have to find a way to go on a level where you are normally not riding. It’s an over-limit race.”
“The last two kilometers look flat, but especially from kilometer two to one, it feels a little bit uphill, around 0.5 to almost 1 percent gradient and that makes it really hard. The last kilometer is endless long; there it’s hard for the head, and you have to push a lot.
“When I saw 1k to go my legs felt already empty, full of lactic acid, everywhere, almost out of your ears. You have to give all-in, all that you have, until the end because the finish line is what counts; there you can stop breathing and stop thinking.”