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Giro d'Italia 2009

Date range:
May 9-31, 2009
  • Giro d'Italia, Italy, GT
  • Stages Expand the race menu
    • Stage 1

      Distance:
      20.5km
      Start location:
      Lido di Venezia
      End location:
      Lido di Venezia
    • Stage 2

      Distance:
      156km
      Start location:
      Jesolo
      End location:
      Trieste
    • Stage 3

      Distance:
      198km
      Start location:
      Grado
      End location:
      Valdobbiadene
    • Stage 4

      Distance:
      162km
      Start location:
      Padova
      End location:
      San Martino di Castrozza
    • Stage 5

      Distance:
      125km
      Start location:
      San Martino di Castrozza
      End location:
      Alpe di Siusi
    • Stage 6

      Distance:
      248km
      Start location:
      Bressanone/Brixen
      End location:
      Mayrhofen (Aut)
    • Stage 7

      Distance:
      244km
      Start location:
      Innsbruck (Aut)
      End location:
      Chiavenna
    • Stage 8

      Distance:
      209km
      Start location:
      Morbegno
      End location:
      Bergamo
    • Stage 9

      Distance:
      163km
      Start location:
      Milano Show 100
      End location:
      Milano Show 100
    • Rest day

      Start location:
      Cuneo
      End location:
      Cuneo
    • Stage 10

      Distance:
      262km
      Start location:
      Cuneo
      End location:
      Pinerolo
    • Stage 11

      Distance:
      214km
      Start location:
      Torino
      End location:
      Arenzano
    • Stage 12

      Distance:
      60.6km
      Start location:
      Sestri Levante
      End location:
      Riomaggiore
    • Stage 13

      Distance:
      176km
      Start location:
      Lido di Camaiore
      End location:
      Firenze
    • Stage 14

      Distance:
      172km
      Start location:
      Campi Bisenzio
      End location:
      Bologna (San Luca)
    • Stage 15

      Distance:
      161km
      Start location:
      Forlì
      End location:
      Faenza
    • Stage 16

      Distance:
      237km
      Start location:
      Pergola
      End location:
      Monte Petrano
    • Rest day

      Start location:
      Chieti
      End location:
      Chieti
    • Stage 17

      Distance:
      83km
      Start location:
      Chieti
      End location:
      Blockhaus
    • Stage 18

      Distance:
      182km
      Start location:
      Sulmona
      End location:
      Benevento
    • Stage 19

      Distance:
      164km
      Start location:
      Avellino
      End location:
      Vesuvio
    • Stage 20

      Distance:
      203km
      Start location:
      Napoli
      End location:
      Anagni
    • Stage 21

      Distance:
      15.5km
      Start location:
      Rome
      End location:
      Rome
  • Race history

May 09, Stage 1: Lido di Venezia - Lido di Venezia 20.5km

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Cycling News
  1. 15:24:00 CEST

    Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' coverage of the centennial Giro d'Italia, the wonderful stage race that started back in 1908 with a win by Luigi Ganna. This year there are many favourites up for the win: Lance Armstrong (Astana) to Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam), Levi Leipheimer (Astana) to Ivan Basso (Liquigas), Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) to Damiano Cunego (Lampre-NGC) and Gilberto Simoni (Diquigiovanni) to Denis Menchov (Rabobank).

    This year's Giro d'Italia starts with a 20.5-kilometre team time trial. It is an out-and-back course on Venice's lido (the beach that separates mainland Venice from the Adriatic Sea). The stage will be fast with only five turns along the parcours that shoots straight down Lungomare D'Annunzio and Marconi before a U-turn and the parallel run on Via Alberoni, Malamocco and Sandro Gallo back towards the starting point � right in sight of Piazza San Marco.
  2. 15:26:00 CEST

    The favourites for victory are Garmin, Columbia and Katusha.

    "We prepared well and we have guys who know how to do a great time trial," said Serge Parsani, directeur sportif for Katusha. 2We have studied this course for the last 10 days: there are few curves and there will be high speeds."
  3. 15:28:00 CEST

    Marco Pinotti (Columbia-Highroad), the Italian national champion: "We are one of there favourites. Garmin is our main rival."

    "The first goal is the team time trial, we have a good chance at coming away with a win. It will be a hard battle with Garmin, but we won't give them an easy ride," Pinotti told Cyclingnews. "Cavendish had a good chance at taking the maglia rosa if we win or come close because there are the following sprint stages."
  4. 15:28:00 CEST

    The Giro d'Italia has featured Venice (or Venezia) in the past. The first time was in 1936 with an individual time trial � Gino Bartali went on to win that year's race. In 1972 there was a road stage from Venice to Mestre and another road stage in 1978. The most famous visit was the start of the 1952 stage, to Bolzano. Fausto Coppi took the race leader's maglia rosa three days prior, but needed more time. He went on the attack in the stage and put in enough time to win that year's race by 9:18.
  5. 15:33:00 CEST

    Here are the start times:
    1 Columbia 15.35'00
    2 Rabobank RAB 15.40'00
    3 Barloworld BAR 15.45'00
    4 Garmin-Slipstream GRM 15.50'00
    5 AG2R La Mondiale ALM 15.55'00
    6 Diquigiovanni 16.00'00
    7 Bbox Bouygues Telecom BBO 16.05'00
    8 Xacobeo Galicia XGZ 16.10'00
    9 Silence-Lotto SIL 16.15'00
    10 Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo 16.20'00
    11 Quick Step 16.25'00
    12 Liquigas LIQ 16.30'00
    13 Fuji-Servetto 16.35'00
    14 Cervélo TestTeam CTT 16.40'00
    15 Saxo Bank SAX 16.45'00
    16 Katusha KAT 16.50'00
    17 ISD 16.55'00
    18 Milram MRM 17.00'00
    19 Lampre-NGC 17.05'00
    20 Caisse d'Epargne GCE 17.10'00
    21 LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini LPR 17.15'00
    22 Astana AST 17.20'00
  6. 15:34:00 CEST

    Columbia is about to start.
  7. 15:35:00 CEST

    The American team starts under clear and sunny skies.
  8. 15:36:00 CEST

    Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) is racing for the L'Aquila earthquake victims. He has special jerseys with his race number printed on them.

    Team DS Fabio "Bordonali helped us do this and I am very happy for this gift. We will sell these jerseys and the pink Abruzziamo brackets for the earthquake victims," he said.

    "We are the penultimate team to start, which is better for us. We are not fighting for the stage win, but we will seek to get as much time over our rivals as possible."

    Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo) starts with the race number one on his back.

    "It is a great emotion to start with the number one in the centennial Giro d'Italia," he said.

    "As the days pass I will decide if I will aim for stages or for the overall classification. I think on the Alpe di Suisi you can already lose the Giro, if you are not ready you can lose time there."
  9. 15:36:00 CEST

    There is a slight wind from the east. It is 20°C.
  10. 15:38:00 CEST

    The time checks are at 6.5 and 12.7 kilometres into the course.
  11. 15:39:00 CEST

    "I am not strong in the crono, but I know how to defend myself," said Michele Scarponi (Diquigiovanni) to Rai. "We will go as strong as we an today to limit any losses."
  12. 15:41:00 CEST

    Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad) is the team's sprint star, but there are three national TT champions in the team: Italy's Marco Pinotti, Australia's Michael Rogers and Sweden's Thomas Lövkvist.

    Rabobank starts!
  13. 15:44:00 CEST

    Post on our forum pages about the centennial Giro d'Italia.
  14. 15:44:00 CEST

    Barloworld, with Soler, is in the start house.
  15. 15:45:00 CEST

    The nine men are lined out side-by-side with nine ladies hold each of them up.

    They let go and the team starts.
  16. 15:45:00 CEST

    Columbia is 10 minutes into the test.
  17. 15:46:00 CEST

    10km to go for Columbia.
  18. 15:48:00 CEST

    Rabobank passes the first time check at 6.5km at 7" behind Columbia.
  19. 15:49:00 CEST

    USA's Garmin is in the start house.
  20. 15:50:00 CEST

    There are two Brits, two Aussies and five Americans. Last year, Garmin won the TTT and put Christian Vande Velde in the maglia rosa.

    They start.
  21. 15:51:00 CEST

    "The thing about it is that the Giro's 21 days," Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad) told Daniel Friebe Friday morning. "I think it's a bit disrespectful to the race [Garmin staking so much on this]... Your race is going to start on the first day and end on the first day, and that's what Garmin is fundamentally doing.

    "They've said their season starts tomorrow. Their sponsor's paid money for the first six months of the year [sic]�and I think that's highly respectful to those guys. It's May. Their season starts tomorrow, and I think it's going to end tomorrow night. I mean, come on..."
  22. 15:52:00 CEST

    Thanks for all of your e-mails! Keep them coming and check our forum pages as well.
  23. 15:53:00 CEST

    We get a look at captain USA David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream). He had a bad crash in stage two last year and had to withdrawal from the race.
  24. 15:54:00 CEST

    Rabobank at 13.49 on the second time check, 20" less than Columbia.
  25. 15:54:00 CEST

    AG2R is ready to start.
  26. 15:56:00 CEST

    "My computer is not the only thing extra I packed in my suitcase for the three week journey," said Ivan Basso (Liquigas). "There is always a photo of my family, which will accompany me for these weeks. Certainly I can see photos on my computer, but to have a printed photo is a lot better than anything else. The other thing that I always bring is a pillow for sleeping, you never know what you are going to find at the hotels."

    "The most important thing is to have a lot of enthusiasm for this Giro, which I have because I have been waiting for it for a long time."

    Read Ivan Basso's diary.
  27. 15:56:00 CEST

    Columbia comes to the line...
  28. 20.5km remaining from 20.5km

    15:57:00 CEST

    They will have the fastest time, they are the first. They clock 21:50, the time of the fifth rider over the line. Cavendish led the team over the line.
  29. 16:00:00 CEST

    News from this morning...

    Tom Boonen was suspended by team Quick Step this morning following his second positive control for cocaine, taken on April 27, in Belgium following the Spring Classics. The 2005 World Champion could face criminal charges for violating the conditions of his suspended sentence for cocaine use.

    Quick Step announced this afternoon the Boonen's suspension "from all competitive activity effective immediately." In its statement, the team said, that it is "working closely with team sponsors and will continue to update the situation during the weekend, evaluating eventual further action."

    Boonen, winner of Paris-Roubaix in April, first tested positive for cocaine a year ago.

    Read more.
  30. 16:00:00 CEST

    Diquigiovanni starts.
  31. 16:02:00 CEST

    In the team is Gilberto Simoni (Diquigiovanni), a two-time Giro d'Italia winner. Rubens Bertogliati, who is on the team, turns 30 today. Buon compleanno.
  32. 16:02:00 CEST

    Rabobank turns right to start the final straight.
  33. 16:02:00 CEST

    The Dutch team records a time of 22:28.
  34. 16:04:00 CEST

    Garmin is nine seconds down on Columbia after the first time check!
  35. 16:05:00 CEST

    "We went very well, but we have to wait to the end to know if this time is best. We had a good average (57km/h)," said Marco Pinotti (Columbia-Highroad) at the finish.

    BBox Bouygues Telecom starts.
  36. 16:07:00 CEST

    Garmin is going to have to shake and bake to make up time on its American rival.

    Bradley Wiggins, who joined Garmin from Columbia at the end of last year, commented of this year's TTT on Thursday, "as long as we beat Columbia we'll be alright�"
  37. 16:08:00 CEST

    Barloworld loses shape as it approaches the line. The front two men have to weight for the rest of the men. They clock 22:44
  38. 16:08:00 CEST

    David Zabriskie and Tom Danielson (Garmin-Slipstream) are trading pulls on the front of the train.
  39. 16:11:00 CEST

    Diquigiovanni lose 19" to Columbia at the first time check.

    Spain's Xacobeo team starts.

    Garmin is 20 minutes into the test.
  40. 16:11:00 CEST

    They drop Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Slipstream) and head to the line with five riders.
  41. 16:11:00 CEST

    David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream) is in second spot after the left turn.
  42. 16:12:00 CEST

    oh, right turn!
  43. 16:12:00 CEST

    21:56 is their time... the favourite does not win.
  44. 16:12:00 CEST

    Simoni's Diquigiovanni is 12 minutes into the test.
  45. 16:13:00 CEST

    Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad) could take the race leader's maglia rosa if his team wins the 20.5 kilometre time trial.
  46. 16:15:00 CEST

    Silence-Lotto is on the line, ready to start. In the team are Philippe Gilbert and Brit Charles Wegelius, among others.

    Ivan Basso's Liquigas is ready. He won the race three years ago and is back for his first Giro since due to his involvement in Operación Puerto.
  47. 16:16:00 CEST

    "I did not know what happened, all I know is that they [Columbia] had a better start than us," said Brit David Millar (Garmin-Slipstream).

    We recall his bike toss last year after his chain broke in the final kilometres.
  48. 16:18:00 CEST

    AG2R hits the final corner, a right. It has Tadej Valjavec (AG2R La Mondiale) in the team.

    They close with a time of 23:25, 1:35 back on Columbia.
  49. 16:19:00 CEST

    Bbox Bouygues Telecom has a time of 14:05 at the first time check.
  50. 16:20:00 CEST

    Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo) and his team are on the start line. He won in 2000 and has several stage wins to his name, including two in 2007.

    The team did not race last year.
  51. 16:22:00 CEST

    "We worked hard in these last two weeks and we have specialist in the team. It is still early to say if we will win," said Valerio Piva, DS of Columbia.

    "All of them deserve to take the maglia rosa. Mark Cavendish is young and has a good image for the team, we made the decision [to let him cross first] because he will also have a chance in the next two days."
  52. 16:23:00 CEST

    Diquigiovanni comes to the line with a time of 22.56, 1:06 back for the team of Simoni.
  53. 16:25:00 CEST

    Quick Step is in the start house. The nine men will want to score a good time to forget about problems of the team's star rider, Tom Boonen.
  54. 16:26:00 CEST

    Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas): "It is time to start, break the ice and then the Giro will finally have begun."

    The team is about to start.
  55. 16:28:00 CEST

    Blockhaus stage cut by 5.5 kilometres

    Giro d'Italia's 17th stage from Chieti to Blockhaus will be shortened by 5.5 kilometres due to road problems. The 83-kilometre stage, May 27, will now finish with an 18-kilometre climb.

    "We don't want to ask a region that is suffering from the earthquake to spend time and money to widen the road," said race director Angelo Zomegnan.

    The stage will finish near Hotel Mamma Rosa, at 1631 metres.

    Cyclingnews will have more on this later in the news.
  56. 16:30:00 CEST

    It is a hot day here in Piazzale Ravà!

    Columbia is the provisional leader of the stage with a smokin' time of 21:50.

    Liquigas starts the stage.
  57. 16:32:00 CEST

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas) recently won the Giro del Trentino and is the number one race favourite this year. His last race was Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
  58. 16:33:00 CEST

    Here comes Xacobeo...
  59. 16:33:00 CEST

    The Spanish team clocks 23:09 with an average of 53.1.
  60. 16:34:00 CEST

    We get a look at Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo); his team is 13:52 into the race.
  61. 16:35:00 CEST

    We are here on Venice's lido (the beach that separates mainland Venice from the Adriatic Sea).

    Over to our side we see Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad) watching on TV the other teams racing.

    Fuji starts!
  62. 16:35:00 CEST

    Columbia's average was 56.33km/h!
  63. 16:37:00 CEST

    Australia's Cameron Wurf is a new addition to ProTour's Fuji-Servetto, team manager Alvaro Crespi acknowledged in Venice yesterday

    "His trainer Aldo Sassi has convinced us that he's got fabulous capacities," Crespi said.

    Wurf now in Italy and he might start his career as a ProTour rider at the Volta a Catalunya this month.
  64. 16:37:00 CEST

    Here comes Silence-Lotto, past the final turn.
  65. 16:37:00 CEST

    A right-hander and then the final metres to the line.
  66. 16:38:00 CEST

    They don't score well, a time of 23:12, 1:22 back for Gilbert and co.
  67. 16:40:00 CEST

    Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam) and his boys are on the start line. In the team is Hunt, Lloyd, Gerrans...

    They start.
  68. 16:42:00 CEST

    Acqua e Sapone comes to the line...
  69. 16:43:00 CEST

    All nine riders seem to be there...
  70. 16:43:00 CEST

    They have a time of 23:11, 1:21 back on Columbia.
  71. 16:44:00 CEST

    "I really wanted to ride the Giro this year because the centennial makes it special, and I want to finish on the podium of all three Grand Tours," Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam) said. "I'm inspired by this race. I like the course. It's hard. It's good for climbers. I just hope we won't have as many transfers from stages locations to hotels as we had when I rode the Giro in the past."

    Read the full news item.
  72. 16:45:00 CEST

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas) and his boys are going at 53km/h.

    Saxo Bank (with Cancellara) is in the start house.
  73. 16:46:00 CEST

    James Huang had a look at Fabian Cancellara's Specialized S-Works TTR prototype. He is in Venice enjoying the race and working hard for Cyclingnews, like always!
  74. 16:48:00 CEST

    Gilberto Simoni (Diquigiovanni): "It was a good time for us [1:06 back on Columbia], we will go forward after this first day."
  75. 16:48:00 CEST

    Quick Step has a time of 23:04.
  76. 16:49:00 CEST

    Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam) and co. are blasting through the 20.5 kilometres on Venice's Lido. If they keep the heat on high they will knock USA's Columbia off the top of the charts.

    Katusha is on the start line.
  77. 16:50:00 CEST

    "If you think there are 22 teams and 21 stages, it is hard to get at least one stage," Katusha DS Parsani told Cyclingnews the other day. "But we hope to do what we have been doing from February up until now; we hope to come away with a stage win."
  78. 16:50:00 CEST

    Liquigas is 1.5km from the line.
  79. 16:52:00 CEST

    Liquigas is rocking along the waters that separate the Lido from Venice (the other side is the Adriatico sea).
  80. 16:52:00 CEST

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas) and co. pass the last corner.
  81. 16:53:00 CEST

    The team looks good and clocks a time of 22.30, 40 seconds back on the Columbia team of American Bob Stapleton.
  82. 16:56:00 CEST

    "We tried to do the best we could, it is clear Columbia and Slipstream are suited to this. In the end, we had a good time," said Ivan Basso (Liquigas) at the finish.

    "The team was selected to fight for the three weeks, this day was not the number one goal. I think that it is still the first day and the next three weeks will tell us a lot. There is a lot to come."
  83. 16:57:00 CEST

    Post on our forum pages about the centennial Giro d'Italia.
  84. 17:00:00 CEST

    Fuji comes to the line with a time of 23 and change. The team got a last minute chance to race after the courts forced organiser RCS Sport to take the team last year known as Saunier Duval. Riccardo Riccò and Leonardo Piepoli spoilt the Tour de France with the news of their positive doping controls last year.
  85. 17:01:00 CEST

    Here comes Sastre and his Cervélo boys.
  86. 17:02:00 CEST

    The wind seems to have changed in the last minutes to be more of a headwind in the second half. The stage is an out-and-back course on Venice's lido (the beach that separates mainland Venice from the Adriatic Sea).
  87. 17:02:00 CEST

    Cervélo passes the final turn and approaches the line, they will not beat Columbia.
  88. 17:02:00 CEST

    They slip down the standings.
  89. 17:03:00 CEST

    The team scores a time of 22.39, 49" back on Cavendish's crew.
  90. 17:05:00 CEST

    ISD passes the sixth kilometre with the same time of Columbia! A great day by Giovanni Visconti (ISD) and crew.
  91. 17:07:00 CEST

    Damiano Cunego (Lampre-NGC) is on the road with his teammates. They have a nice tailwind now, but we will see after the first 10 kilometres a slower time.
  92. 17:07:00 CEST

    Saxo Bank nears the line. They have not had the best day.
  93. 17:07:00 CEST

    Columbia will beat Saxo Bank and stay the leader.
  94. 17:08:00 CEST

    Saxo Bank records a time of of 22:45, 55" back on Columbia.
  95. 17:10:00 CEST

    Piazzale Ravà is a place of great tension for 23-year-old Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad). If the team wins he will become the first race leader of the centennial Giro d'Italia, taking the maglia rosa ahead of tomorrow's sprint stage.

    Cavendish won two stages in 2008.

    Caisse d'Epargne starts.
  96. 17:12:00 CEST

    Katusha launches down the final straight...
  97. 17:12:00 CEST

    Katusha finishes the day with a time of 22.25, 35" back on Columbia.
  98. 17:13:00 CEST

    Certainly the higher speed winds are not helping the teams starting later in the day. What will Armstrong's Astana team do?
  99. 17:14:00 CEST

    Post on our forum pages about the centennial Giro d'Italia.
  100. 17:15:00 CEST

    "There was a little wind this morning and more today than the other days," said Filippo Pozzato (Katusha).

    "We lost a lot of time in the second half. We went strong. I hoped to do better and we lacked a little bit, but we had a good ride and we can do well in the next days."

    Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) and team starts.
  101. 17:17:00 CEST

    ISD closes the day in third, at 22.17.
  102. 17:19:00 CEST

    "I created some different fundraisers to help the survivors: I am selling different cycling related items on eBay and I am selling pink bracelets with Abruzziamo written on them, like Armstrong did for LiveStrong. They will be sold at the Giro d'Italia; it would be great to sell a lot and give a hand to the victims," said Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) to Cyclingnews this week.

    Nearly 300 people died in the 6.3-magnitude that struck Abruzzo's L'Aquila April 6. Di Luca lives 100 kilometres away, in Pescara, and is doing what he can to help.
  103. 17:19:00 CEST

    Astana (and Armstrong) is in the start house.
  104. 17:20:00 CEST

    "We thought we could do better," said Giovanni Visconti (ISD) after the stage.
  105. 17:20:00 CEST

    Lance Armstrong (Astana) and team starts. The American, in his first Giro d'Italia, wears race number 21.

    There are two other Americans on this team: Chris Horner and Levi Leipheimer.
  106. 17:21:00 CEST

    LPR travels at 58Km/h!
  107. 17:22:00 CEST

    This is Armstrong's first time to race in Italy since Milano-Sanremo in March. In fact, Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad), the provisional leader, won that day with a tight sprint over Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo).

    22:39 is the time for Milram.
  108. 17:23:00 CEST

    Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) and crew passes the first time check with 1" over ISD and 2" over Columbia!
  109. 17:24:00 CEST

    Astana is 3km into the day.
  110. 17:24:00 CEST

    Caisse passes the 2nd time check at 14:01.
  111. 17:25:00 CEST

    Lampre has 2km left to race and the Italian team looks fast. Let's see what they do on this 20.5km Venice course.
  112. 17:27:00 CEST

    Lance Armstrong visited Venice for the first time Thursday afternoon at the Giro d'Italia team presentation. The seven-time Tour de France winner arrived by gondola to Piazza San Marco.

    "The view of the piazzas from the water was wonderful... I am happy I know how to swim," he said. "I was in Florence one time, many years ago, with Kristin and Luke [ex-wife and son - ed.]. Another time in Rome, but never in Venice. It is one of the world's masterpieces."

    Venice's lido boasts enough roadways to host the start of the centennial Giro d'Italia tomorrow, a 20.5 kilometre team time trial. Sunday, the race leaves the city of water for Trieste as part of its three-week journey to Rome.
  113. 17:27:00 CEST

    Here comes Lampre...
  114. 17:28:00 CEST

    Lampre of 2004 winner Cunego clocks 22:32, 42" back on Columbia and 2" back on Basso's Liquigas team.

    Astana has the same time of Columbia at the first time check.
  115. 17:30:00 CEST

    "It is great to get this over and it will be nice to start tomorrow, and the first climbs!" said Damiano Cunego (Lampre-NGC). "It is a good time and we are looking ahead now."
  116. 17:31:00 CEST

    Astana is about half way through the 20.5km test. It is a great view of the team along the waterfront of Venice.
  117. 17:32:00 CEST

    "On an island there is always wind," said Marzio Bruseghin (Lampre-NGC). "We are happy with our time."

    Caisse nears the line.
  118. 17:34:00 CEST

    Caisse marks the day in Venice, Italy, with a time of 22:48, 58" back on Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad) and crew. That is an average of 53.9km/h.

    Astana crosses the 2nd time check with 13:35.
  119. 17:35:00 CEST

    "It's been a while since I did a race of this magnitude. I know the Giro from its history and its former winners. In 15 years, I never had the opportunity, or I didn't take the opportunity to do the Giro. I'm excited. I'm fit enough. I'm ready to be here," said Lance Armstrong (Astana) on Thursday.

    "Personally I'd like to win a stage but I don't know if I can and if I'm fit enough. As a team we target the top three or the top five. Levi Leipheimer can do it � he time trials well, he climbs well."
  120. 17:38:00 CEST

    Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) and crew close with 22:12, 22" back on Columbia and some seconds up on Basso and Cunego's teams.

    The LPR team is racing the Giro with jerseys that have the name and number of each rider printed on the jersey. All of the tops will be auctioned on eBay after the centennial Giro d'Italia for the L'Aquila earthquake victims.
  121. 17:40:00 CEST

    "We lost some time in the finale," said Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini). "We did well, we knew we could do this."

    He and his team put around 20" on Basso's Liquigas team.
  122. 17:40:00 CEST

    Astana nears the finish, -1.5km to go.
  123. 17:40:00 CEST

    Janez Brajkovic (Astana) is pulling like a train engine!
  124. 17:41:00 CEST

    They are fighting a close battle with Columbia.
  125. 17:41:00 CEST

    There are still seven of the men left (they have to cross with five).
  126. 17:41:00 CEST

    -400m left...
  127. 17:42:00 CEST

    The team of American Armstrong concludes with a time of 22:03, 13" back on Columbia.
  128. 17:43:00 CEST

    Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad) takes the first maglia rosa of the centennial Giro d'Italia with his team's win today.
  129. 17:43:00 CEST

    Armstrong relaxes after his ride; the team went full gas but fell short to the USA team of Columbia.
  130. 17:44:00 CEST

    Armstrong and Leipheimer talk over the stage.
  131. 17:47:00 CEST

    "We are more than satisfied, the first and second teams were targeting this day," said Levi Leipheimer (Astana).
  132. 17:49:00 CEST

    Thanks for joining Cyclingnews on the first day of the centennial Giro d'Italia. Please return tomorrow for the second day of the three-week stage race.