By Susan Westemeyer
With exactly 50 riders in, the Giro's mountain time trial is showing exactly how difficult it is. The best of the group so far was Saunier Duval's Raffaele Illiano, with a time of 44'27. Behind him are a variety of sprinters, with times ranging from Diquigiovanni's Danilo Hondo at 47'49, to 48'59 for High Road's Mark Cavendish. Markus Eichler of Milram, who is writing a Giro diary for Cyclingnews, was the last in GC going into the day, making him the first to leave, at 10:00. He won't be the last on this stage, though, with his 49'58.
There may be a number of riders dropped today because of the time limit, which is at 25 percent. With the current best time this would be 11 minutes and seven seconds. The last placed rider for the moment is Thomas Fothen of Gerolsteiner. The 25 year-old came in at 53'48, which is already nearly nine and a half minutes down. If one of the favourites put in a stellar performance, the Gerolsteiner team may be reduced to just two by the end of the day.
Follow the rest of the time trial on Cyclingnews' live coverage later this afternoon.
The current standings after the first batch of riders