Sometimes fate steps in to give a rider a moment of unexpected success and satisfaction. Daniel Oss was forced to miss all the cobbled Classics due to a knee problem. Fortunately his new race programme included his home race, the Giro del Trentino, and he lead the BMC across the finish line as they won the opening team time trial to pull on the leader pink jersey.
It was his first ever team time trial victory and his first ever leader's jersey as a professional.
"It's great to be first leader, it's an honour to do it in my home race," he said in the post stage press conference after collecting lots of pats on the back and cheers from the crowd at the finish in Arco near Lake Garda.
"It was hard to miss the Classics this year. I had a few nice afternoons on the sofa watching the races on TV, but I was nervous and wanted to be there. It would have been better to ride them for sure but this more than makes up for any disappointment."
"I'm also happy because the team worked really hard for this. We were here Saturday and Sunday to train on the course and be together. It all paid off. We were training when we heard that Gilbert had won the Amstel Gold Race. I like visual events and Gilbert's win convinced me that we'd win today. This morning we did the usual routine and I tried to keep my emotions under control but I was a tense and nervous. But it was the right kind of tension, the feeling that makes you do a good rider and have that extra bit of motivation."
Oss and the BMC team insisted that no pre-race decision had been made about him leading the team home but Cadel Evans did a huge turn on the front in the final kilometre before moving over to let Oss bring the team home.
"I'd hoped I could cross the line first but we hadn't decided anything," Oss said.
"Then in the last kilometre we knew we were leading and we were all giving it everything. I was happy to cross the line first, take the jersey and so perhaps take the pressure off Cadel. He was happy for me when he realised I'd crossed the line first and I'll be working for him for the rest of the race. It's an uphill finish tomorrow and so it's going to be a hard day for me."
An Italian passista
Oss is one of the best Italian rouleur or "passista" riders. He has the power to push out big watts be it on the cobbles of Belgium and France or in short intense team time trials.
He hurt his knee during the BMC training camp in January. He initially thought it was a tendonitis problem but pain was caused by a nerve that sparked a pain down his leg.
"I was off my bike for 20 days in February and that obviously hit my form," he said.
"I tried to bounce back in a few races in Belgium but I was a long way behind and so we changed my programme. The Classics went out the window and we added Trentino and the Giro d'Italia. Fortunately lots of physiotherapy and the growing form eased the pain and my form is coming back. It can only get better for the Giro d'Italia."
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