Michele Scarponi and Damiano Cunego react to poor showing in Giro d’Italia’s opening time trial
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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Michele Scarponi and Damiano Cunego react to poor showing in Giro d’Italia’s opening time trial

by Ben Atkins at 5:15 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
Corsa Rosa defence gets off to a disappointing start as Lampre-ISD suffers in the Danish wind

michele scarponiMichele Scarponi’s Giro d’Italia defence did not get off to the best of starts in the opening 8.7km time trial in Herning, Denmark. The Lampre-ISD rider was awarded the 2011 race after the retrospective suspension of Alberto Contador, and rode the stage in an all-pink skinsuit, but could only manage 135th place, 1’06” behind winner Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing).

More importantly though, his time was a long way behind many of his rivals for the race overall; he finished 30 seconds behind Astana’s Roman Kreuziger, 27 behind Liquigas-Cannondale’s Ivan Basso, and 23 behind Katusha’s Joaquim Rodríguez. Even RadioShack-Nissan’s Fränk Schleck, who is hardly famous for his time trialling - and only found out he was racing the Giro a week ago - beat Scarponi by seven seconds.

The Eagle of Filottrano - who took on the windy course with a deep section rear wheel instead of the disk that virtually everybody else was using - is trying to remain upbeat however, having got through a discipline that he doesn’t excel in.

“It was not a nice prologue for me,” Scarponi said. “I was hoping to lmit the gap to the other top riders but, unfortunately, I couldn’t find the right rhythm. I don't think it depended on my decision not to use a disk wheel.

“There are no problems,” he added. “The Giro has just begun.”

Scarponi’s teammate Damiano Cunego, who has started the race with a free role, is another rider for whom time trialling holds many fears. The 2004 Giro winner spectacularly lost the Tour de Suisse to Levi Leipheimer last June, after conceding more than two minutes to the American in the final day’s 32.1km test; even he outperformed Scarponi - finishing three seconds ahead of him in 124th - but he too was pleased to have got the stage out of the way.

“It was a time trial with two faces,” said the Piccolo Principe afterwards. “The first part was very technical, and in the second there were long straights that were swept by gusts of wind. I hoped to be more competitive in the first section than I was, but overall the result is pretty much what I expected.”

Lampre-ISD’s best performer in the stage was Adriano Malori, in 25th place, but the Italian time trial champion was disappointed that he could not show off his green, white and red jersey to better effect.

“The first part of the race was not good for me, but I put in a good performance in the final sector of the course,” he explained. “I wanted to ride a big time trial to best honour the tricolore jersey that I was wearing, but unfortunately the route didn’t really suit me.”

In all, it was not a great start to the Giro for Lampre-ISD, the team of the defending champion, with the performance of its riders putting it 19th out of 22 in the Fast Teams classification. Aside from national champion Malori however, the team is not one that performs well in time trials, and so general manager Giuseppe Saronni is philosophical about the way things have gone.

"We’ve started the Giro quietly,” admitted the 1982 World champion, “but we knew we had to suffer in the time trial and that we’ll still have to suffer until the day after the team time trial.”


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