Rabobank storms to first stage team time trial win at Tirreno-Adriatico
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Rabobank storms to first stage team time trial win at Tirreno-Adriatico

by Jered Gruber at 11:20 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Lars Boom dons the first leader's jersey, Robert Gesink primed for overall success

It's not often that the first rider or team off in a time trial can hold on to take the win, but Rabobank managed just that in the opening team time trial of Tirreno-Adriatico on a sunny Wednesday in the Tuscan town of Marina di Carrara. Former U23 Time Trial World Champion, Lars Boom, led his orange and blue clad team across the line and thus pulled on the first leader's jersey of the race.

The Dutch team covered the 16.8 kilometer course in a rapid 18:08, which equates to an average speed a little over 55 km/h. Garmin-Cervelo followed nine seconds later, with HTC-Highroad a second further back, and Saxo Bank-SunGard yet another second back. Liquigas-Cannondale, the team of duel Italian overall hopes, Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali, was next best, but significantly off the pace of Rabobank - 22 seconds in arrears.

Leopard Trek, the team of World Time Trial Champion, Fabian Cancellara, finished seventh on the day, nearly half a minute behind Rabobank. The images from the Leopard Trek effort were probably the most provocative, as the rampaging Cancellara managed to drop half of his team at one point during the time trial, and then again, he lost his critical fifth remaining rider in the final kilometer, once again losing valuable seconds.

While the Leopard Trek team effort was an absolute mess, there's no questioning the form of Cancellara. It's coming on hot.

Omega Pharma-Lotto's Tirreno-Adriatico started off with a major fright, as the team's ace sprinter, Andre Greipel, crashed during the squad's warm-up. Greipel suffered some nasty abrasions to his face. Fortunately, Greipel managed to start the team time trial, bandages and all, but his efforts were certainly limited, and they finished an ok 11th on the day, 41 seconds back.

Overall, the time differences were significant and likely could have ended the overall hopes of a number of riders before the race even gets properly started tomorrow.

Giovanni Visconti's Farnese Vini team finished almost a minute back at 55 seconds. Vacansoleil, Astana, Katusha, and Movistar didn't fare much better though - they were all in a group at 51 seconds behind Rabobank. Defending champion, Stefano Garzelli's Acqua e Sapone team certainly didn't give their veteran climber anything to savor - he'll start the real racing tomorrow 47 seconds back. With the bookending time trials in this year's race, the smaller Italian teams won't be racing for overall glory, but rather stage success.

On the other hand, recent Tour of Oman winner, Robert Gesink, who has openly targeted the Race of the Two Seas, is in a perfect position to pursue his goal heading into a tough week of racing. The lanky Dutchman will have a powerful team around him to support the effort.

It even seems possible for Rabobank to carry the jersey from start to finish of the seven day race if things go according to plan. The likes of Lars Boom, Sebastian Langeveld, and of course Robert Gesink, could easily keep Rabobank at the top of the week's proceedings.

1. Rabobank 18:08
2. Garmin-Cervelo +09
3. HTC-Highroad +10
4. Saxo Bank-SunGard +11
5. Liquigas-Cannondale +22
6. BMC +26
7. Leopard Trek +29
8. RadioShack +30
9. Team Sky +33
10. Lampre-ISD +39


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