Matt White was expecting his GreenEdge team to be competitive in the opening team time trial at Tirreno-Adriatico but even he was surprised by their domination as they posted a winning time 17 seconds faster than their nearest rivals.
Having arrived in Italy on Saturday, White told Cyclingnews that they used Sunday as preparation to ride recon and train for the time trial.
“These time trials, there’s not many of them in a year and for some of these guys it might be the first time trial they’ve done in six to eight months. It’s a new season and it’s little things like the guys getting used to their time trial bikes and riding with each other at that sort of speed. At the end of the day though, you’ve got to have a team that can perform and is disciplined as well,” White told Cyclingnews.
“I’m surprised by the margin. Usually these things are won by 3 or five seconds, not 17. I’ve never seen a more consistent and smooth ride than today. I’m really happy with the guys.”
The win marks GreenEdge’s first win on European soil and fulfils one of their major objective for the early season. The team had faced questions over their start to the season after firing blanks since the Tour Down Under.
“I don’t know what all the fuss is. We’ve won two national titles, a WorldTour event and today we’ve won a team time trial. Yesterday we were centimetres of winning a stage in Paris-Nice so we’ve got a versatile team. It’s great to have a win of Europe but it was going to happen. This was one of our goals and another is still to win a stage in Paris-Nice.”
This year’s Tirreno route will undoubtedly see the likes of Michele Scarponi and last year’s winner Cadel Evans vie for the overall, meaning that GreenEdge will turn its attention to stage wins. With Goss on the start list he will be their focal point in the sprints and as the defending Milan-San Remo champion he will be looking to test himself again Mark Cavendish and the other sprinters on show.
“We want to keep the jersey tomorrow but in order to do that we’re going to have to be competitive in the sprints. The best sprinter in the world in Mark Cavendish is here and like everyone, everyone is looking for scalps. Unfortunately for us Dean isn’t here due to injury and Cooke has come in sick but we’ll work something in the finale.”