As the home team, Team Saxo Bank had hoped to win Saturday's first stage of the Giro d'Italia in team boss Bjarne Riis's hometown of Herning. But in the end it was highly satisfied with the fourth place from Italian Manuele Boaro.
The 24-year-old, in only his second year as a pro, covered the 8.7km course in 10:41, only 15 seconds slower than winner Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing Team).
“It was just fantastic. It's very impressive that such a young rider can ride a tactically strong time trial,” Riis told Ekstrabladet.dk. “It was high class. I am glad that he lived up to it, we knew he could.
“We would obviously like to have won, but we knew it would be difficult. Now he has proved he can ride the time trial.”
“I dug really deep and I couldn't have gone any faster. Of course I wanted to win and I hope that Bjarne (Riis) is happy about my performance,” Boaro said. “The support from the crowd couldn't have been bigger and they gave me tail wind all the way to the finish line. Now the race has begun and I'm looking forward to all three weeks.”
His teammate Mads Christensen wasn't so lucky. The Dane crashed early on in the time trial. He was perhaps overly motivated, and “in the first turn of 90 degrees, I was going at a pace that was slightly too high so I went to the ground. I was hurt but got up and after passing the finish line I went straight back to the team bus where I was examined by our doctor. I'm sore but I don't think the crash is going to have a significant impact on my performance in the race.
“Now, I'm looking forward so much to the next couple of stages in Denmark and especially on Monday where we're going through my home town, Odder.”