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2014 Giro d'Italia stage 1

Local Hero
Believe it or not Northern Ireland has never produced a Giro starter, but that's not to say it hasn't had some cracking riders. Arguably the most pioneering of all was Belfast's Ian Moore. He crossed the channel to France, and earned himself a contract with Liberia, a powerhouse French team. His boss there was stroppy little Henri "Napoleon" Anglade. A champion on the bike, he was about as diplomatic as a sledgehammer off it. Regardless, Ian was good enough to merit a start at the 1961 Tour de France. He didn't make it round, but there was no shame in that. It was a pig of a course that year, and of the 132 starters only 72 made it back to Paris…

See, Hear, Feel...
It's not known precisely how many Italians perished on RMS Titanic. Only two Italian names appear on the passenger list. 29-year-old Sebastiano Del Carlo, from Lucca, had married Argene two months earlier, and they boarded at Cherburg for the trip of a lifetime. The "women and children first" lifeboat allocation saw Argene survive, but not her husband.

Initial estimates in the Corriere della Sera suggested that up to fifty of the ship's staff, principally waiters, were Italian. We know for sure that at least ten were lost, but the likelihood is that more were working in the kitchens and boiler room with a view to starting again once the ship reached New York.

Amongst those who didn't travel was Guglielmo Marconi. The radio pioneer and winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics had been offered free passage, but chose instead to travel on a rival vessel, the Lusitania. Regardless, without the radio equipment installed by his company, still more lives would have been lost.

Moment in Time
Many seem to believe that the team time trial is a recent development, but they couldn't be more wrong. It made its first appearance way back in 1937, a 60 kilometre dash along the Tuscan coast to Marina Massa. Back then the teams were composed of just seven riders, and the strongest of all was Gino Bartali's all-powerful Legnano outfit. When they won here he assumed stewardship of the maglia rosa he would wear in Milan, whilst his great rival Aldo Bini shipped 33 disastrous minutes.

Bartali was a genius climber, but no great shakes against the watch. Besides, back then Tuscan womanhood had eyes only for one of his team-mates. When Raffaele "the heart-stealer" Di Paco led them across the line there were scenes of chemically induced mayhem. He'd win again in Rome three days later, before Bartali demolished the field in the Dolomites.

Luca Scinto Says
Well it's not too technical, and essentially you know what you're going to get. A team like ours has no chance of winning it, simply because we don't have the money to be able to compete. For us – and for a lot of the others – it's really just a case of getting everyone round in a reasonable time, but above all not taking risks.
If I were to speculate I'd say the likely winners will be someone like Orica-GreenEdge. They don't have a GC rider, but they do have any number of extremely strong time trialists. It's quite possible thy will build their team around this stage, because if they get the maglia rosa here their job's half done.

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