Defending champion now 2:05 behind race leader Nibali
Ryder Hesjedal and Garmin-Sharp believe they will be able to build on his sixth place general classification position in the mountainous stages to come at the Giro d'Italia. The 32-year-old Canadian now lies 2:05 back on new maglia rosa holder Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), but there are a lot of stages that will play in the defending Giro champion's favour yet to come.
"We're going to see a very different kind of race from here on," Charly Wegelius, Garmin-Sharp's sports director, told Cyclingnews.
Although 18th in the time trial might not appear to be a standout result as compared to this year's Liège-Bastogne-Liège to the Giro last year against Joaquim Rodriguez and even back as far as his breakthrough summit victory at Velefique in the 2009 Vuelta a España, Hesjedal's strongest rides have almost always come on hilly and mountainous terrain.
"It was a hard test, but I think I did all right. There are a lot of strong guys here, I think it's very tight at the top of the classification and I'm satisfied," Hesjedal - who had no mechanicals or other problems - said on Italian television.
"He was very positive about it all, solid all the way through and technically he was excellent," Wegelius added to Cyclingnews. "There were no dips in his performance. Perhaps looking back he could have started a little bit quicker but that can be a huge mistake in a time trial as demanding as that. If I see how spent he was at the end I think he timed his effort right, it was a solid performance."
Wegelius recognised that the time trial course as complicated and above all as long as the 54.8 kilometre course - with that sort of distance, it is possible to include almost every kind of terrain - was bound to produce some unexpected moments.
"I won't lie to you, when I first heard [Vincenzo] Nibali's time check at 26 kilometres I was a little bit concerned, but then I reasoned with it a little bit and I didn't think that was a sustainable effort and in fact, as it turned out, he suffered at the end. Over a ride as long as that, you're taking risks, but [Vincenzo] Nibali made a huge gain today and congratulations to him, too."
Looking at the race overall and the prospects for his fellow-Briton Bradley Wiggins, Wegelius says that "he's not in the situation he'd have expected after the time trial. But this is the Giro and things can change from one day to the next, really fast. Either way, I think it's going to be a different race from now on."