Evans faces headwind in Tirreno-Adriatico defense

The first test of the year for Cadel Evans ended in a below average grade, with the defending champion's BMC team losing 58 seconds to the stage winners GreenEdge in the opening team time trial of the 2012 Tirreno-Adriatico.

As the last team off, Evans' team was the squad most punished by a mid-afternoon shift in the winds. The same shift also hurt last year's team time trial winners Rabobank, who were only one second quicker than BMC after starting just ahead of them.

"This is not what we previously had planned on or hoped for," said Rabobank directeur sportif Frans Maassen. "From the beginning, it did not go well, but I also had the feeling that the wind was picking up during the ride. I don't want to hide behind excuses, but it is certainly remarkable that the last teams did not ride their best. BMC started today as a top favourite, and even finished one second behind us."

GreenEdge, the winners on the stage, were the 13th team off, and the last team to break 19 minutes. RadioShack-Nissan, the 10th team to take to the course, and Garmin-Barracuda who started third, were the only other teams under the mark: both were 17 seconds off the 18:41 set by the Australian team.

Fabio Baldato, BMC's assistant directeur sportif agreed that the wind was a factor. "I was at the start and the conditions changed a lot," Baldato said. "The last four or five kilometers it was particularly bad. Plus, we never found a good rhythm."

Evans is now 12 seconds behind last year's rival in Tirreno-Adriatico, Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD), while Liquigas-Cannondale contender Vincenzo Nibali is only three seconds ahead.


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