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HTC-Highroad triumphs in team time trial

The HTC-Highroad riders proved yet again that they are the fastest and most disciplined team time trial squad in the peloton by dominating the Giro d'Italia's opening 19.3km time trial around Turin.

Italian national time trial champion Marco Pinotti crossed the line first for HTC-Highroad and so pulled on the first maglia rosa of the Giro d'Italia and enjoyed the best moment of his career so far.

With thousands of Italian Alpini military veterans in Turin for their annual get together, and with Pinotti the current Italian national time trial champion, the first stage of the Giro was a very Italian celebration of the 150th anniversary of the unification of the country. Pinotti is also one of the most admired riders in the sport and also so gave Italian cycling something celebrate after weeks of doping scandals and investigations.

HTC-Highroad set the fastest intermediate time of 9:48 at the mid-point of the 19.3km urban course and then kept their speed high, recording a final time of 20:59. They finished with just five riders, but with the time taken on the fifth rider to cross the line, it meant they had got their race strategy exactly right.

RadioShack was also well-drilled and snatched second place with a time of 21: 09. Liquigas-Cannondale was third with a time of 21:21 and Omega Pharma-Lotto fourth, also in 21:21. Garmin-Cervelo finished fifth in 21:23, with Lampre-ISD taking sixth in the same time. Alberto Contador’s Saxo Bank-SunGard team set a time of 21:29 for eighth place.

Pinotti wore the pink jersey for four days during the 2007 Giro d’Italia but was far emotional this time. Modest as ever, he wanted to share the success with his HTC-Highroad teammates and said he would be happy for Mark Cavendish or another rider to pull on the pink jersey after Sunday’s first road race stage to Parma.

“It’s amazing feeling to be in pink. I’m very proud,” he said with a broad smile filling his lean face.

“I have to say thanks to the team (for the pink jersey) because this belongs to the whole team. I didn’t feel under pressure because we’re used of riding team time trials but then when I was told I’d be leading the team home, I started to get nervous. However we knew what we had to do and did it right, with the changes in the right place and with the best riders taking the longest turns on the front. We made sure we kept a steady pace throughout and that's always important."

Pinotti gained a handful of seconds on all the main Giro contenders and joked that all he had to do was stay with them in the mountains and then win the final time trial to Milan. However he knows that he will be fighting for a top ten place overall and said he would be happy for a teammate to take the jersey in the next few days.

“I’m just happy we’ve won the team time trial and to have the pink jersey for a day. Winning the stage was the goal for today. It’ll be difficult to keep it in the sprints but we’ll try and set up Mark (Cavendish) for the sprint and see what happens.”

Precious overall seconds

As HTC-Highroad celebrated on the podium, all the other teams headed back to their hotels to lick their wounds and calculate how much time they had gained or lost on their key overall rivals.

The intense effort over the 19.3km has created some small but still significant time gaps.

Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) gained eight seconds on Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard), with Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) also gaining six seconds despite SaxoBank-SunGard riding strongly. Those time gaps are likely to mean little in Milan in three weeks time but the pressure on Contador and Saxo Bank-SunGard is intensifying, with nobody in Italy seemingly wanting him to win for a multitude of reasons.

The time other overall contenders lost was more significant and could prove to be precious in the final overall standings.

No team made a real mess of the team time trial but Denis Menchov and Carlos Sastre (Geox-TMC) lost 31 seconds to Nibali as they set a time of 21:52. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha – 22:03) lost 42 seconds and Igor Anton (Euskatel-Euskadi – 22:12) lost 51 seconds. Roman Kreuziger’s Giro d’Italia also started with a slight handicap after his Astana team finished seventeenth of the 23 teams, losing 28 seconds to Nibali.

“We knew that on such a short and fast course there wouldn’t be a huge difference but we took care when we were crossing over the tram lines and taking the corners and so we’re happy with out ride,” Nibali said.

Lampre had travelled to Turin a day early to work on their time trialing and it paid off. Scarponi was pleased to have gained time in the TTT, instead of losing as had happened in previous editions of the Giro.

“I don’t know our position, but we went as well as we could have done,” Scarponi said immediately after his ride. “It was a great route, and my teammates were very strong, so we’re pleased with that.”

Now the Giro heads east with the longest stage of the race from Alba to Parma on Sunday. After the fight for the first maglia rosa, it is time for the first sprint.


Full Results
2Team RadioShack0:00:10
4Omega Pharma-Lotto
5Team Garmin-Cervelo0:00:24
7Rabobank Cycling Team0:00:26
8Saxo Bank Sungard0:00:30
9Sky Procycling0:00:37
10Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
11Movistar Team0:00:38
12Androni Giocattoli0:00:39
13BMC Racing Team0:00:41
14Leopard Trek0:00:42
15Quickstep Cycling Team
16AG2R La Mondiale0:00:49
17Pro Team Astana0:00:50
19Colnago-CSF Inox0:01:02
20Katusha Team0:01:04
21Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli0:01:07
22Acqua & Sapone

Azzurri d'Italia
1Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Omega Pharma-Lotto4pts
2Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto2
3Sebastian Lang (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto1

Super team
2Team RadioShack84
4Omega Pharma-Lotto1
5Team Garmin-Cervelo
7Rabobank Cycling Team
8Saxo Bank Sungard
9Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
10Sky Procycling
11Movistar Team
12Androni Giocattoli
13BMC Racing Team
14Leopard Trek
15Quickstep Cycling Team
16AG2R La Mondiale
17Pro Team Astana
19Colnago-CSF Inox
20Katusha Team
21Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli
22Acqua & Sapone

General classification after stage 1
1Marco Pinotti (Ita) HTC-Highroad0:20:59
2Lars Ytting Bak (Den) HTC-Highroad
3Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Blr) HTC-Highroad
4Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-Highroad
5Craig Lewis (USA) HTC-Highroad
6Robbie McEwen (Aus) Team RadioShack0:00:10
7Tiago Machado (Por) Team RadioShack
8Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Team RadioShack
9Bjorn Selander (USA) Team RadioShack
10Robert Hunter (RSA) Team RadioShack
11Philip Deignan (Irl) Team RadioShack
12Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Team RadioShack
13Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale0:00:22
14Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
15Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
16Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale
17Tiziano Dall'Antonia (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
18Eros Capecchi (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
19Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
20Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Omega Pharma-Lotto
21Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
22Sebastian Lang (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto
23Francis De Greef (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
24Jan Bakelants (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
25Gert Dockx (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
26Bart De Clercq (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
27Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
28Mark Renshaw (Aus) HTC-Highroad0:00:24
29Tyler Farrar (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo
30Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Team Garmin-Cervelo
31Murilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) Team Garmin-Cervelo
32David Millar (GBr) Team Garmin-Cervelo
33Cameron Meyer (Aus) Team Garmin-Cervelo
34Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD
35Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre - ISD
36Simon Spilak (Slo) Lampre - ISD
37Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - ISD
38Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre - ISD
39Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre - ISD
40Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:00:26
41Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
42Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
43Pieter Weening (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
44Rick Flens (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
45Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
46Jos Van Emden (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
47Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
48Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team
49Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Saxo Bank Sungard0:00:30
50Richie Porte (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard
51Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard
52Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Saxo Bank Sungard
53Michael Mørkøv (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard
54Laurent Didier (Lux) Saxo Bank Sungard
55Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard
56Kasper Klostergaard Larsen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard0:00:32
57Jesús Hernandez Blazquez (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard
58Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Sky Procycling0:00:37
59Davide Appollonio (Ita) Sky Procycling
60Dario David Cioni (Ita) Sky Procycling
61Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Sky Procycling
62Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Sky Procycling
63Michael Barry (Can) Sky Procycling
64Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
65Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
66Matteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
67Michal Golas (Pol) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
68Maxim Belkov (Rus) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
69Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Movistar Team0:00:38
70Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar Team
71Luis Pasamontes Rodriguez (Spa) Movistar Team
72Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar Team
73David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Movistar Team
74Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar Team
75Sergio Pardilla Belllón (Spa) Movistar Team
76Branislau Samoilau (Blr) Movistar Team
77Emanuele Sella (Ita) Androni Giocattoli0:00:39
78Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
79Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Androni Giocattoli
80Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
81Jackson Rodriguez (Ven) Androni Giocattoli
82Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Androni Giocattoli
83José Rujano Guillen (Ven) Androni Giocattoli
84Carlos José Ochoa (Ven) Androni Giocattoli
85Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
86Alexander Kristoff (Nor) BMC Racing Team0:00:41
87Simon Zahner (Swi) BMC Racing Team
88Chris Barton (USA) BMC Racing Team
89Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team
90Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team
91Johann Tschopp (Swi) BMC Racing Team
92Chris Butler (USA) BMC Racing Team
93Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team
94Chad Beyer (USA) BMC Racing Team
95Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
96Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
97Alberto Ongarato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
98Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Leopard Trek0:00:42
99Davide Vigano (Ita) Leopard Trek
100Thomas Rohregger (Aut) Leopard Trek
101Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Leopard Trek
102Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Leopard Trek
103Bruno Pires (Por) Leopard Trek
104Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Leopard Trek
105Brice Feillu (Fra) Leopard Trek
106Addy Engels (Ned) Quickstep Cycling Team
107Francesco Reda (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team
108Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quickstep Cycling Team
109Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team
110Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team
111Davide Malacarne (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team
112Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team
113Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team
114Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Quickstep Cycling Team
115Carlos Oyarzun (Chi) Movistar Team
116Dominic Klemme (Ger) Leopard Trek0:00:46
117Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:00:49
118Yuriy Krivtsov (Fra) AG2R La Mon