South Africa's Darryl Impey had been allowed to lead the Orica-GreenEdge team across the line and was hoping to pull on the leader's blue jersey. However the Australian team was left stunned when Omega Pharma-Quick Step stopped the clock in a winning time of 20:13, a significant 11 seconds faster than Orica-GreenEdge and 18 seconds faster than Tinkoff-Saxo.
Impey admitted that there is a strong rivalry between Orica-GreenEdge and Omega Pharma-Quick Step. The Belgian team won the team time trial at Tirreno-Adriatico last year, but Orica-GreenEdge won the Tour de France team time trial by 0.75 of second. Omega Pharma-Quick Step responded by winning the world team time trial title in Florence last September, beating Orica-GreenEdge by 0.81 of a second.
"There's always huge rivalry between us in the team time trial. We always remember the Tour de France and they always remember the world championships in Florence," Impey told Cyclingnews after sportingly shaking hands with several of the Omega Pharma-Quick Step riders.
"Today they won convincingly. But we're really happy with our performance. We gave I our best shot and thought it was enough to win. There's no more we could have asked from anyone. We were beaten by a better team on the day."
Orica-GreenEdge finished with seven riders, with only Jens Mouris sitting up in the finale of the 18.5km course.
"We tried to keep things as smooth as possible and we did. There wasn't a section where we think we could have gone faster or where we should have gone slower. We went hard up to the climb (to Castagneto Carducci after 7.4km) and then it was about maintaining it all the way through to the end. We did that."
Impey got to wear the yellow jersey at the Tour de France for two stage after Orica-GreenEdge's victory in the Nice team time trial. He was hoping to wear the leader's jersey during Thursday's second stage of Tirreno-Adriatico to Cascina but will now turn his attention to trying to win other stages.
"There's still six stages to go. And there's still the Tour de France, maybe we'll get revenge in July," he said.