Saturday 9th May 2015
San Lorenzo al Mare to San Remo
17.6km Team Time Trial
1st - Orica-GreenEDGE, 19:26
2nd - Tinkoff-Saxo, 19:33
3rd - Astana Pro Team, 19:39
The 98th Giro d’Italia is off to a thrilling start with a 17.6km Team Time Trial that has seen Australia's Orica-GreenEDGE take out a stunning win.
Torpedoing over the line in a cracking time of 19 minutes and 26 seconds, Orica-GreenEDGE finished seven seconds ahead of closest competitors Tinkoff-Saxo, and 13 seconds ahead of Astana Pro Team.
It appeared to be a textbook execution for Orica-GreenEDGE, with riders Michael Matthews, Michael Hepburn, Pieter Weening, Simon Clarke, Johan Esteban Chaves Rubro, Luke Durbridge, Sam Bewley and Brett Lancaster planning for fellow team mate Simon Gerrans to cross the line in-front and take out the Giro's first leader's pink jersey.
The technical course coupled with the head wind played into the hands of the strong time trialling team, although there was momentary cause for concern when Tinkoff-Saxo posted a faster time at the first split. But the Aussie team proved too powerful, maintaining an overall blistering pace that just couldn't be matched.
The win marks Orica-GreenEDGE's TTT success for two Giros in a row.
The Giro has been coined ‘the toughest race in the most beautiful place,’ but the 17.6km TTT along the Riviera dei Fiori (Riviera of Flowers) didn't hint at any of the mega mountains yet to come. A largely asphalt roadway following a former train line, the course was without any significant ascents and was always set to be a show of pure time trailing power and technical talent.
Is our guest blogger Nick Squillari on the money? Find out his Giro predictions here
Tinkoff-Saxo's Alberto Contador made it clear during the official Giro press conference that in three weeks’ time his hope is to be ‘on the top step of the podium.’ With his team packed full of climbers, Contador's potential time to shine will be coming as early as stage five, which is a summit finish. But throughout the grueling 3,486km race they'll be contending with other GC faourites Richie Porte from Team Sky (who finished the TTT well back in ninth place) and Fabio Aru from Astana Pro Team.
Starting tomorrow however, the Giro becomes a sprinting man's race, with eyes now on the 177km stage from Albenga to Genoa.
A big thanks once again to Graham Watson for his sensational shots.