Vuelta a Espana: Fabian Cancellara beats Tony Martin as Vincenzo Nibali regains lead
Fabian Cancellara won the Vuelta a Espana stage 11 time trial as Vincenzo Nibali took the race lead.
By Matt Westby
Last Updated: 05/09/13 3:46pm
Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard), the four-time world time trial champion, was fastest on every sector of the 38.8km course in Tarazona and crossed the line 37 seconds ahead of Martin (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step), who had to be content with second.
Nibali (Astana) stopped the clock 1min 25sec down on Cancellara but 1min 29sec faster than previous leader Chris Horner (RadioShack-Leopard) and now takes the red jersey for the third time in the race.
The Italian has a 33-second advantage at the top of the general classification over Ireland's Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff), who performed brilliantly to claim sixth place on the stage.
The emphatic manner of Cancellara's victory was an ominous warning to both Martin and Sir Bradley Wiggins ahead of the time trial world championship in Tuscany on September 25, where all three are expected to fight out a thrilling battle for the rainbow jersey.
The course contained a category-three climb up Alto del Moncayo and while that worked against Martin, who flourishes on flat terrain, it played perfectly into the hands of Cancellara, who has shown impressive climbing form at the Vuelta so far.
The 32-year-old Swiss maestro was 14 seconds ahead of Martin at the first intermediate split, after 11.5km, and then stretched his advantage up the Moncayo to 34 seconds by the second split, after 26km.
He then consolidated his lead on the run back down to Tarazona to seal a victory that will make him many people's favourite to win a fifth rainbow jersey.
Martin was actually only third quickest at the two splits courtesy of an unexpectedly outstanding performance from Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale), the diminutive Italian climber, who was brilliant on the Moncayo, lost time in the final sector but still hung on to take a stunning third place on the day.
Behind them, Nibali held the upper hand over Horner from the first kilometre to last. He led the 41-year-old American by 25 seconds and 57 seconds at the two splits, before stretching his advantage by another 32 seconds on the run home.
He struggled to shake off the attentions of Roche, however, who was dead level with the Italian at the first split, only 11 seconds down at the second and eventually crossed the line an impressive 23 seconds back after one of the finest time trial displays of his career.
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) moved up to third in the general classification, 46 seconds down, despite having to be content with seventh on the day after requiring a bike change early in his ride.
Stage 11 result
1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Leopard, 51:00
2 Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quick Step, +37
3 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +1:24
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, +1:25
5 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Team Sky, +1:41
6 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Saxo-Tinkoff, +1:48
7 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar, +1:52
8 Jerome Coppel (Fra) Cofidis, +1:52
9 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana, +1:53
10 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi, +2:13
1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, 41:22:22
2 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Saxo-Tinkoff, +33
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar, +46
4 Chris Horner (USA) RadioShack-Leopard, same time
5 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha, +2:33
6 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +2:44
7 Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale, +2:55
8 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ, +3:35
9 Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo-Tinkoff, +3:46
10 Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha, +3:56
- Green (points classification): Daniel Moreno (Katusha)
- Blue polka dot (mountains classification): Chris Horner (USA) RadioShack-Leopard