Colombian Nairo Quintana, of the Movistar team, secured his second Tirreno-Adriatico title on Tuesday after defending his overnight lead in the seventh and final stage won by Australian Rohan Dennis.

AFP | Images: Yuzuru Sunada

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Dennis, of the BMC team, hit an average speed of just over 53 kph to complete a flat 10km time trial around San Benedetto del Tronto in a winning time of 11min 18sec.

Dutchman Jan Van Emden (Team Lotto) was second at 3sec while Michael Hepburn (Orica), also from Australia, completed the stage podium after finishing with the same deficit. 

Quintana, who last won the ‘Race of the Two Seas’ in 2015, is expected to challenge for his second Giro d’Italia in May and underlined his credentials by racing to victory on Saturday’s hilly fourth stage to take command of the race.

The climbing specialist’s performance that day proved fatal to the hopes of Italian rival Fabio Aru (Astana), who trailed in nearly five minutes behind and abandoned with a chest infection the following day. After two following stages in which he defended his lead, Quintana took a 50sec lead over Frenchman Thibaut Pinot into the race decider on Tuesday.

Pinot, however, suffered on the time trial bike to finish way out of contention, and in the end it was Dennis who came closest to upsetting Quintana’s victory plans.

The Australian, who holds the record for the fastest individual time trial recorded at the Tour de France (55.446 kph), finished 25sec behind in second place. Pinot was third overall at 0:36.

Slovakia’s Peter Sagan, who won two stages on the race, came close to disaster after swerving into a bike lane to avoid a woman and her dog casually walking across a zebra crossing.