Etixx-Quick Step's time of 23:57 in the stage 1 team time trial at Tirreno-Adriatico was good enough for the Belgian team to dispose of FDJ from the hot seat, only for BMC to storm home two seconds quicker to claim the victory. Two-time world champions in the team time trial discipline, Etixx-Quick Step had multiple time trial champion Tony Martin driving the team along the Lido di Camaiore percorso but even Martin was unable to pinpoint where they could have made up ground on BMC.
"We did a quite good ride and came just two seconds behind. Looking back, it's hard to say where we lost two seconds. Despite arriving second, I am happy with the team, as all the guys sticked to the plan and kept the speed throughout the day," Martin said of the team's ride in which they averaged 56.868km/h.
While there was little disappointment in Martin's analysis of the stage, sports director Brian Holm explained that the result was far from humorous.
"It's not funny to be beaten by two seconds, but the boys had a beautiful performance, considering we don't have a TT-orientated team for this race. It hurts a little to come up short, but it's also a good sign for the next stages, as finishing ahead of many strong teams shows that the condition is there," reflected Holm.
There was a consolation of sorts for the team with Yves Lampaert claiming the best young rider's jersey having recently fractured his sternum at the Volta ao Algarve.
Leading Etixx-QuickStep over the line was Italian Gianluca Brambilla, fresh from finishing third at Strade Bianchi on Saturday. Brambilla thanked his teammates for letting him do so.
"We were really strong, with [Bob] Jungels, [Zdenek] Stybar and Martin we did a big stage," Brambilla told Spaziociclismo. "We have done a very good time trial, we were regular until the finish. I thank the team for letting me cross the line first."
Tenth overall at the Tour of Oman earlier in the season, the 28-year-old is looking for another high GC result at Tirreno-Adriatico, explaining that the current team atmosphere is conducive to his form.
"The expectations are to win as much as possible. The condition is there and you have to hold on in these times to win as much as possible. I will not look at the standings. I will take what comes and when I'm in front, if the legs will assist me, I will make the right move," Brambilla said. "I think I've earned the trust of the team and the teammates, with hard work. In addition to working as much for my teammates, I managed to get the results. The confidence that I received is well-deserved and I thank the team."