Orica-GreenEDGE won the Giro d’Italia‘s opening time trial for the second year in succession, holding off Alberto Contador’s Tinkoff-Saxo and Fabio Aru’s Astana teams to put Simon Gerrans in to the first pink jersey of this year’s race.
Rider Team of the day
An easy choice to kick off the Giro, as Orica-GreenEDGE held on to claim team bragging rights for the second year in a row on the Italian Riviera. Last year it was Svein Tuft who was the first man to claim the honour of wearing the maglia rosa before handing it over to teammate Michael Matthews for the following six days. This year it was classics specialist Simon Gerrans who led the team across the line.
With just the one summit finish of any significance in the opening nine-day stint – on stage five – there’s a chance either Gerrans or Michael Matthews could carry the pink jersey throughout the first week, while both will be eyeing stage wins in the early going. In fact, most of Orica’s objectives are focussed on this opening portion of the race. They’ve already ticked off the pink jersey. If they can defend it until at least stage five and get a stage victory under their belts, their race objectives will have been largely accomplished already.
Three things we noticed
1. A good day for the As. Alberto Contador and Fabio Aru will be delighted with both their team’s performances and the overall stage result. Contador effectively leads the pack of heavyweight GC contenders without the pressure of having to defend the maglia rosa after Tinkoff-Saxo finished second on the day. Meanwhile Aru is nicely tucked in six seconds behind the Spaniard as he looks to build on last year’s podium finish.
2. Not so good for the Ps. Richie Porte and Domenico Pozzovivo, that is, both of whom had days to forget. Taking Contador and Tinkoff-Saxo as the GC benchmark, Porte conceded 20 seconds in a discipline where Sky are traditionally strong, while Pozzovivo also finds himself 41 seconds in arrears, although that is no great surprise for an Ag2r team which is one of the very best in the general team classification (which they won at both the Giro and Tour last year) but is mediocre at best when it comes to racing in concert against the clock. With both team leaders firmly targeting at least a podium finish, this was not a great start to their campaigns.
3. Debunking the TTT myth. There was a time not so long ago when it was said in some quarters that team time trials were the domain of the predominantly English-speaking teams such as Sky, HTC-Highroad and BMC, and that Latin teams lacked the discipline to excel at this type of race. No more. Orica-GreenEDGE led the way here, but behind them both Tinkoff-Saxo and Etixx-Quick Step are cosmopolitan in their make-up, while Astana includes five Italians and Movistar six Spaniards, an Italian and a Colombian. Times change, and in an era when grand tours are more often won by a handful of seconds than minutes, everyone is now alive to the fact that no one can afford to lose a big chunk of time up front.
Stage 1 result
1. Orica-GreenEDGE 19:26
2. Tinkoff-Saxo +0:07
3. Astana +0:13
4. Etixx-Quick Step +0:19
5. Movistar +0:21
Link: Official race website