Great performance for Joaquim Rodriguez in "Tirreno - Adriatico" last but one stage: 'Purito' was able to obtain his first victory in this 2012, thanks to a brilliant attack in the last kilometre before the finishing line. The stage was characterized, in his second part by a 16,2 kilometres long circuit in Offida that the group had to run six times: quite a demanding course, with no plain parts. The daily breakaway, an early 7-man escape, was able to reach a highest gap over the group of 5'. The ahead riders were able to resist the group's chase until Katusha Team imposed his pace, with 15 kilometres to go. The main group neutralized the breakaway with 6 kilometres to the finishing line: then the lock step group started to lose some elements, due to several attacks. But the crucial blitz was made by Rodriguez: Katusha Team's Spanish rider took advantage of the huge work of his teammates and anticipated his rush with 1 kilometre to go. The other rider answered to his progression too late: 'Purito' resisted and took a solo win, defeating Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Danilo Di Luca (Acqua&Sapone), respectevely second and third. In general classification, the Katusha Team's leader is 7th, 50'' far from the first place; Chris Horner holds the leadership before tomorrow's last stage, a 9,3-kilometre long ITT in San Benedetto del Tronto. Moreover, Katusha is still 1st in the special Team's Ranking: the second team is AG2R, 11'' far.
"I'm very happy with today's victory - said Rodriguez - in the last two stages I was a little disappointed: they were good courses for me but I couldn't win, also because my rivals were in a better shape. Instead, today in theory it was a better stage for Oscar Freire, more suitable to his characteristics, but when I saw he was not ahead I tried to win. My only chance was to anticipate my rush and attack from far, because in the bunch there was Peter Sagan and I couldn't compete with him in a sprint. It was an important victory: now I'm more persuaded the work we did from Tour of Oman to Tirreno-Adriatico was good, I proved I'm getting better and better and for Vuelta al Pais Vasco I'll be ready for taking some other good results. I won't go to Milan-Sanremo, but I'm sure we can do a great race: Freire is in a great shape, so I think he has many chances to win his fourth Spring Classic".
"Everything went right today - said the Sport Director Valerio Piva - we had different strategies, depending on how the race could develop: we could work for Freire if the competition was going to be solved by a massive bunch sprint, or instead for 'Purito'. The team worked very well: especially Horrach and Paolini, in the last part of the course, did a great job, imposing our pace to the group. Tomorrow there will be the ITT ending: Rodriguez is very motivated and he will try to get a good result even if it's not his speciality. We'll try to take Vladimir Gusev on the top-ten too: he's 14th, 35'' far from the tenth position. It won't be easy, but he's a good rider in races against the clock, so I think he can do it. It could mean to save also our leadership in Team's Ranking: we'll try to win this special classification".