Movistar and Quintana eighth in a wet Belfast team time trial

For Nairo Quintana the opening team time trial of the 2014 Giro d'Italia was an acceptable start for the Colombian who is looking to be wearing pink when the peloton arrives in Trieste on June 1 as his Movistar team finished the 21.7km race 55 seconds behind stage winner Orica-GreenEdge.

"To be honest, looking at the conditions we had during our time trial, how wet the roads were, the fact that we didn't crash is already something to be satisfied about," said director sportif Eusebio Unzué. "We knew that weather in such a country changes in a matter of minutes — this could happen, since some favourites were starting more than one hour apart. We had to do our whole TTT under the rain, from the very start, and especially the most complicated section, which was the downhill after the slopes to the palace.

"There wasn't much water on the road there, but enough to force us to cover it more slowly. It was awful for us, but otherwise, I'm happy with how the boys did today. It's true that we lost Antón very early into the course and that Castroviejo had to make an extra effort to close a gap and eventually dropped — but all of them were good."

Second on the stage was Omega Pharma-Quick Step with Rigoberto Uran and in third was Cadel Evans' BMC team. Both riders are the best placed of general classification favourites although one of the contendors for the maglia rosa, Dan Martin, crashed out with a broken collarbone and his Garmin-Sharp teammate and 2012 Giro winner, Ryder Hesjedal sits in 165th place in GC, 3:26 minutes down on maglia rosa Svein Tuft (Orica-GreenEdge).

After conceding time to Uran and Evans, Unzué added that he is unsure how the time gaps from the Belfast race against the clock will impact upon the general classification after three rest days and 20 stages.

"The gaps today? To tell the truth, knowing the route in this year's Giro and how far Trieste is, I don't think these seconds will decide the overall result, but of course, it's better to have them on your favour than against. It's not good for us to Urán and Evans having that gap, but the good news, apart from staying away from crashes, was putting those 38 seconds on Purito.

"Now we will have two more days in Ireland, which should be suited for sprinters unless there's any surprise. When it comes to ourselves, we will try to get over them with no other difficulties and get back to Italy with no worries."

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