Giro d'Italia GC challenger Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers) came away from Saturday's opening time trial in Turin feeling disappointed he had not opened the throttle a little bit wider, but pleased that he had limited his losses on a course so short that even the slightest of errors had a considerable impact in the final stage ranking.
The Ineos co-leader eventually finished 32nd on the stage, 34 seconds down on stage winner, Ineos Grenadiers teammate Filippo Ganna.
Speaking before his rivals for the maglia rosa had completed the course, Sivakov gave himself 'three or four out of ten' for his result.
But at the end of the day, given he finished roughly in the middle of the GC field, Sivakov arguably was under-valuing what he had achieved.
"I'm not really satisfied with my time trial, looking at the power and time I did it's not super-good. You always want to do better, but it's not catastrophic," Sivakov told Cyclingnews after he had finished warming down.
"I think I was a bit too careful on the corners even though I did the recon two times. When you go full gas in the race, it's always different."
Barring a complete disaster like a crash, differences on such a short course were always going to be measured in seconds, not minutes.
In an event as unpredictable as the Giro, any time loss so early – while undesirable – did not represent a massive blow to his chances. Furthemore, he pointed out, the last time trial in Milan "suits me much better and is much more important from a GC perspective."
Asked by Cyclingnews how many points out of ten he would give himself for the Turin TT, he answered categorically "three or four. It was not good.
"It's not my weakest point, I don't work on this short, 10-minute suff, especially on the TT bike." In terms of power, he argued, "I'm normally capable of doing that for half an hour on the road bike up a climb so that's why I'm not really satisfied.
However, he concluded there was little point in getting downbeat about an event that in the long run of things will likely have little effect.
"It's good to get going and if you start to be disappointed right now it's not good. I'm like: ok, that day is done, let's forget about it."
"The legs were not shit either, it's not like I was terrible. I think my condition is really good and I hope I can show it in the next few weeks."
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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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