Cannondale-Garmin's chances of securing a result in the opening team time trial stage at the Giro del Trentino ended with seven kilometres to go when an apparent touch of wheels caused Ted King and Davide Villella to crash at close to 60kph.
Cyclingnews was following Cannondale-Garmin in the time trial and saw the high-speed crash. King and Villella were left dazed and in pain on the left side of the road but with help from the team staff they managed to get up and complete the stage. Their Cannondale-Garmin teammates did not stop to wait for them and finished the 13.3km time trial with just five riders, in eighth place and in a time of 14:29. The Bora-Argon 18 team won the team time trial in a time of 14:05, just a few hundredths of a second faster than Team Sky.
Team time trials are raced at high-speed, with the risk of crashes extremely high. The US-team once fought regularly for victory in team time trials, winning the event in the 2008 Giro d'Italia and the 2011 Tour de France. However it has been hit by crashes several times in in recent years, including at last year's Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España in 2012 and 2013.
The loss of precious seconds is a blow for Ryder Hesjedal's overall chances. The Canadian and the Cannondale-Garmin team added the Giro del Trentino to their race schedule to prepare for the Giro d'Italia. Hesjedal starts the three mountain stages with a handicap of 24 seconds. Hesjedal was just happy not to have crashed.
"I think Ted was going into my back wheel but you don't know what happens in situations like that. I looked behind and there were still five or six guys, so we just kept going and hoped for the best," Hesjedal explained to Cyclingnews.
"It's a pity but I'm here to get in a good race. That's the important thing for me personally. I feel good and have been training well since Catalunya. With the team we made a call to do this period of racing: Trentino and Romandie, instead of the Ardennes. Trentino has never been on our race programme before but it's an opportunity to do it and get ready for the Giro d'Italia."
Hesjedal will lead the Cannondale-Garmin team at the Giro d'Italia, while Dan Martin and Andrew Talansky focus on the Tour de France. Despite two top ten placings at Liege-Bastogne-Liege in recent years, Hesjedal will not ride the final Classic of the spring this season.
"In 2012 (when Hesjedal won the Giro d'Italia) and in 2013, I did the Ardennes and the Tour de Romandie," Hesjedal explained. "Last year I only did the Ardennes. Your programme can never be exactly the same but we made the decision to get in a good period of training and really get into racing with Trentino and Romandie. Normally when I do that, I go good. I feel good coming into this and so if I can come up, I'm looking forward to the Giro d'Italia."
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