Giro d’Italia analysis: GC winners and losers from stage one
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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Giro d’Italia analysis: GC winners and losers from stage one

by Shane Stokes at 8:04 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
Pinotti and Hesjedal best of the top ten contenders

Marco PinottiYesterday’s time trial was just 8.7 kilometres in length, but some of the riders tipped to fight for the Maglia Rosa in this Giro d’Italia already find themselves on the back foot and with work to do in the days ahead.

The race against the clock in Herning, Denmark, was particularly punishing for the 2011 race winner Michele Scarponi (Lampre ISD), last year’s stage winner José Rujando (Androni Giocattoli) and 2011 third-place finisher John Gadret (Ag2r la Mondiale), with each of them losing over a minute to the day’s winner Taylor Phinney, and conceding time to their rivals.

Scarponi was a minute and six seconds back, with Rujano and Gadret one second and ten seconds further behind, respectively.

At the opposite end of the scale, 2010 ninth-placed overall finisher Marco Pinotti was best of the GC riders. He wasn’t happy crossing the finish line, having fallen two seconds off equaling the-then best time of Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin – Barracuda).

However, in retrospect he has reason aplenty to feel good about his performance. He left the race in an ambulance last year, yet in taking eighth and finishing 24 seconds behind his team-mate Phinney, he gained an early advantage on the other key riders.

Pinotti has a chance to extend that early buffer in the Verona team time trial on Wednesday. [See a feature interview with Pinotti here]

His BMC Racing Team should be strong in that 32.2 kilometre test, and so too the Garmin Barracuda team of Ryder Hesjedal, who was next-best of the GC riders yesterday in seventeenth. He was 29 seconds away from the mark set by Phinney and just five seconds off Pinotti’s time.

Astana’s Roman Kreuziger, (28th, at 36 secs) and the 2010 winner Ivan Basso (35th, at 39 secs) both put in solid performances. Basso in particular was be reassured, given that he isn’t a known time trialist and has had a forgettable spring. He said afterwards that he achieved more than he had expected.

Further back, the featherweight climbers Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha Team) and Domenico Pozzovivo (Colnago - CSF Inox) rode solidly away from their favourite terrain to finish in the first half of the field. Rodriguez was left smiling with his 44th, 43 seconds off Phinney’s time and just 19 behind Pinotti.

"I´m satisfied with my performance today,” he said afterwards. “I had very good feelings until the last kilometer, where my action started to be heavier. It was very important not to lose too much time in front of the other favourites for the final victory, so I can´t be anything but happy because I´ve even gained some seconds over some of them.”

Pozzovivo was just twelve seconds further back in 92nd; his early goal is also to limit his losses, and so he’ll be satisfied with how things panned out.

Those who fared poorly:

He was a late call up to the race and said afterwards that he wasn’t too disappointed with how things went, but Frank Schleck’s 108th place, 59 seconds off the winning time, shows that the Luxembourg rider hasn’t yet found a way to overcome his weaknesses against the clock.

Former race winner Damiano Cunego (Lampre ISD), Tour de Langkawi winner Jose Serpa (Androni Giocattoli) and defending champion Scarponi were all firmly in the second half of the field, dropping over a minute and placing 124th, 126th and 135th.

The time gaps aren’t colossal, but if they get caught out by the predicted winds and echolos in the days ahead, could find themselves in hot water early in the race. Ditto for Rujano who, despite his tiny build, has ridden well in time trials in the past, and was expected to perform better. Gadret will also be unhappy; his Ag2r La Mondiale team is desperate to log its first win of the season, and he’s under pressure to ride well in the race.

Their goal must be to steer out of trouble until the mountains, avoiding any further time losses.

Today: The Giro d’Italia continues with a flat 206 kilometre stage starting and finishing in Herning. A bunch sprint appears almost certain; avoiding crashes and splits in the peloton will be the priority for the classification contenders.

Giro d’Italia stage one, Herning:

Individual time trial:

1, Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team, 8.7 kilometres in 10 mins 26 secs
2, Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling, at 9 secs
3, Alex Rasmussen (Den) Garmin – Barracuda, at 13 secs

GC riders:

8, Marco Pinotti (Ita) BMC Racing Team, at 24 secs
16, Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro Team, at 29 secs
17, Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin – Barracuda, same
28, Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Astana Pro Team, at 36 secs
34, Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing Team, at 39 secs
35, Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale, at 39 secs
44, Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team, at 43 secs
92, Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox, at 55 secs
108, Frank Schleck (Lux) RadioShack-Nissan, at 59 secs
124, Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre – ISD, at 1 min 3 secs
126, Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Androni Giocattoli 0:01:04
135, Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre – ISD, at 1 min 6 secs
142, José Rujano Guillen (Ven) Androni Giocattoli, at 1 min 7 secs
161, John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale ,at 1 min 16 secs


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