Live coverage of stage 1 of Tirreno-Adriatico, a 22.7-kilometre team time trial at Lido di Camaiore.
Camaiore brings back memories of the late, lamented GP Camaiore, which - up until its last two editions in 2013 and 2014 - used to take place in blazing August sunshine, kicking off Italy's series of late summer racing. Italy's 'Class of 92' - a young Marco Pantani, Davide Rebellin, Michele Bartoli et al - made their professional debuts here after that year's Barcelona Olympics, for instance, but today is not a day for the boys of summer. Instead, Lido di Camaiore has the vibe of the coastal town they forgot to close down. Grey skies and temperatures of ten degrees great the teams of the 2016 Tirreno-Adriatico on today's opening stage.
Our first team, Movistar, are already waiting on the start ramp. The 23 squads set out at five-minute intervals on today's 22.7km test, with the Astana team of favourite Vincenzo Nibali the last off at 3:35 local time.
The starting order is as follows:
1 Movistar Team 13:45:00
2 Tinkoff Team 13:50:00
3 Dimension Data 13:55:00
4 Team LottoNl-Jumbo 14:00:00
5 CCC Sprandi Polkowice 14:05:00
6 FDJ 14:10:00
7 Trek-Segafredo 14:15:00
8 Cannondale Pro Cycling 14:20:00
9 Orica-GreenEdge 14:25:00
10 Team Katusha 14:30:00
11 Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 14:35:00
12 IAM Cycling 14:40:00
13 Bardiani CSF 14:45:00
14 Etixx - Quick-Step 14:50:00
15 Team Giant-Alpecin 14:55:00
16 Bora-Argon 18 15:00:00
17 Team Sky 15:05:00
18 BMC Racing Team 15:10:00
19 Lotto Soudal 15:15:00
20 Lampre - Merida 15:20:00
21 AG2R La Mondiale 15:25:00
22 Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec 15:30:00
23 Astana Pro Team 15:35:00
Alejandro Valverde and Movistar set out. Valverde is riding Tirreno-Adriatico for the first time since 2002, as he prepares for his first tilt at the Giro d'Italia. You would have had long odds on that ever happening back in 2009, mind, when CONI testing provided evidence of his links to Operacion Puerto... Valverde is joined today by Alex Dowsett and Andrey Amador in a strong Movistar line-up.
Next on the road are Tinkoff, who have sent their Classics unit here, while Alberto Contador and Rafal Majka ride Paris-Nice. World champion Peter Sagan leads the line here, and the team includes some decent rouleurs in Manuele Boaro, Roman Kreuziger, Evgeni Petrov and Daniele Bennati.
It's a flat and relatively uncomplicated team time trial, as Orica-GreenEdge directeur sportif Matt White told our man in Tuscany, Stephen Farrand, yesterday. There's a time check after 9.5 kilometres before teams turn back into the wind towards Lido di Camaiore.
Dimension Data are out on the road, with Mark Cavendish fresh from his endeavours at the Track World Championships in London on board. After his fine showings in Qatar and Oman, it will be interesting to see what Edvald Boasson Hagen can produce over the course of the week here. The eternal promise has never yet delivered a performance commensurate with his ability at the Monuments - could this be his year?
LottoNL-Jumbo are the fourth team to take the start and the Dutch squad has something of an Italian flavour. New signing Enrico Battaglin leads the line and - true story - Moreno Hofland is named after multiple Tirreno-Adriatico stage winner Moreno Argentin.
Tinkoff have the quickest time through the 9.5km mark, some 14 seconds quicker than Movistar. Sagan and company clocked 9:35, while Valverde et al went through in 9:49.
Davide Rebellin made his debut with GB-MG here back in August 1992, and at the age of 44, the Italian is back in the colours of CCC-Sprandi, the fifth team to start. We caught up Rebellin at the recent Tour of Qatar and he spoke of his experiences since testing positive at the 2008 Olympic Games.
As Thibaut Pinot's FDJ team prepare to start, Dimension Data go through the 9.5km check point in 9:54, some 19 seconds down on the flying Tinkoff.
The sun has poked through the clouds on the Tyrrhenian coast, incidentally, and the weather seems rather more pleasant in Tuscany than on the roads of Paris-Nice - which, of course, you can also follow live on Cyclingnews this afternoon if you'd like your racing to include the occasional snowflake.
Movistar are the first team to finish, stopping the clock in a time of 24:24. They were, remember, 14 seconds down on Tinkoff at the intermediate check point.
Fabian Cancellara and his Trek-Segafredo outfit set off on their effort. Jasper Stuyven, Bauke Mollema and the evergreen Stijn Devolder are all part of a strong unit.
Tinkoff cruise through the finish line in a time of 24:06, some 18 seconds quicker than Movistar. We obviously have just the one point of reference for Tinkoff at this stage, but that certainly seems like a very impressive effort.
Dimension Data cross the line in 24:58. That's 52 seconds down on Tinkoff, which gives us more of a feel for just how quickly Sagan and his comrades went this afternoon.
Rigoberto Uran and his Cannondale team are the next starters. Meanwhile, LottoNL-Jumbo look like they are about to post a decent time. They were second quickest at the intermediate check...
24:33 for LottoNL-Jumbo, good enough for the third best time, 27 seconds down on Tinkoff.
Mark Cavendish, incidentally, was dropped by his Dimension Data teammates during their effort, but the Manxman will doubtless be more concerned with picking up a sprint win in the next couple of days.
FDJ have worked a lot at their time trialling thanks to the efforts coaches such as Fred Grappe and Julien Pinot, and Thibaut Pinot, Steve Morabito et all have clocked the quickest time at the 9.5km mark, just ahead of Tinkoff.
FDJ's 9:31 after 9.5km was 4 seconds quicker than Tinkoff.
Fifth best time at the finish for CCC-Sprandi, 53 seconds down on Tinkoff.
The Orica-GreenEdge and Katusha teams have each started their efforts, but all eyes now on FDJ as they hurtle to the finish. Well, not exactly. There is no television motorbike behind the French squad, so we won't see them until the fixed cameras pick them up at the finish.
The helicopter has picked up FDJ as they enter the final kilometre - they still have six riders in formation.
FDJ shed one more rider in the final 600 metres but they have just pipped Tinkoff by two seconds to set the new fastest time. 24:04 for a blistering average speed of 56.592kph.
Fabian Cancellara puts in a mammoth turn on the front for Trek-Segafredo. They're down to six riders, but remain relatively cohesive.
Third best time for Trek-Segafredo, who stop the clock in 24:12, 8 seconds down on FDJ. Bauke Mollema won't be at all displeased with that start to his week.
The Cannondale team of Rigoberto Uran, Simon Clarke and Davide Formolo enters the final kilometre but the men in lime green won't come remotely close to troubling the best time of FDJ.
Cannondale are already 56 seconds down as they pass beneath the flamme rouge. A disastrous showing from Uran and his team.
Cannondale come home in 25:58, almost two minutes down on FDJ. That might very well have torpedoed Uran's hopes of overall victory before the race has even really begun, they're a minute down on even the slowest teams who set out before them.
It appears the Cannondale team trialling curse continues. Three of their number were reportedly involved in a crash out on the course, including Uran... To crash in one team time trial may be regarded as a misfortune; to crash in multiple team time trials looks like carelessness.
Meanwhile, Orica-GreenEdge come home with the fourth best time to date. Their 24:20 is some 16 seconds down on the flying FDJ.
Katusha come home all with all of their riders together. The Russian squad clocks the 7th best time, 50 seconds down on FDJ.
Etixx-QuickStep are a couple of kilometres into their effort. The line-up includes Tony Martin, Bob Jungels and Omnium world champion Fernando Gaviria.
Wildcard outfit Caja Rural-RGA Seguros cross the line in 25:36 for the 10th best time to date.
Etixx-QuickStep were two seconds quicker than FDJ through the 9.5km mark. Julien Vermote is showing signs of struggling at the rear of their formation as Tony Martin puts in a monstrous turn on the front.
IAM Cycling have put in a very decent effort over the back end of the course and they clock the third best time so far. Their 24:07 is just 3 seconds down on FDJ.
Johan Le Bon led FDJ over the line, incidentally, meaning that the former junior world champion is the provisional overall leader - but 11 teams have yet to finish, and Etixx-QuickStep were a shade faster at the 9.5km mark.
Bardiani-CSF cross the line in 25:36 for the 11th best time to date.
Etixx-QuickStep hit the red kite in 23 minutes flat. If they cover the final kilometre in 1:03 or less, the win is theirs.
New fastest time for Etixx-QuickStep, who cross the line in 23:57, seven seconds up on FDJ. Gianluca Brambilla, so impressive at Strade Bianche at the weekend, led them home and the Italian is in line to take the first blue jersey of the race.
The BMC team of Tejay van Garderen is out on the road. They have a lot of their world team time trial champion winners of the past two years in the line-up here, and if anyone can match Etixx-QuickStep's 56.7kph average, it could well be van Garderen, Taylor Phinney, Manuel Quinziato and Greg Van Avermaet. "Home court advantage means a lot. I’m going to stick the favourite tag on Vincenzo [Nibali] but I think I’m going to challenge him really well," van Garderen said of his overall challenge yesterday, as Stephen Farrand reports.
Etixx-QuickStep's average speed for the team time trial was, in fact, an eye-watering 56.98kph.
Giant-Alpecin cross the line with the 12th best time, 25:18.
Team Sky have come through the 9.5km check point in a time of 9:34, which is in line with the kind of marks established by FDJ, Etixx-QuickStep and Tinkoff.
Sam Bennett and Bora-Argon 18 are the next team across the line, their 25:06 more than a minute off the pace.
BMC scorched through the intermediate time check with the best time so far. Their 9:27 was two seconds quicker than Etixx-QuickStep's time after 9.5km. Van Garderen and company are now hurtling towards the final kilometres. Alessandro De Marchi has just swung off, but the men in red and black still look very smooth indeed.
Team Sky faded slightly over the second part of the course. Michal Kwiatkowski et al stop the clock in 24:16 for the sixth best time to date.
Vincenzo Nibali and his Astana team roll down the start ramp, the last of the 23 teams to begin their Tirreno-Adriatico. Meanwhile, BMC are deep into the final kilometre...
BMC set the new quickest time. Their rapid 23:55 is two seconds faster than Etixx-QuickStep.
BMC had six riders together at the finish, and on first glance it wasn't entirely clear who led them across the line, as Daniel Oss, Tejay van Garderen and Taylor Phinney were all spread across the road.
24:41 for Lotto-Soudal at the finish, good enough for the 11th best time.
Daniel Oss is the virtual overall leader at Tirreno-Adriatico. The Italian did indeed lead BMC across the line, as they clocked a remarkable average speed of 56.947kph. One sense that, as ever, Marco Pinotti had done his due diligence on the parcours beforehand.
Although there are four teams still to finish and Astana are yet to pass the 9.5km time check, an RCS representative has brought Daniel Oss a blue jersey to try on for size, perhaps unaware that the television cameras were rolling. Presumably something similar happens before the green blazer is handed out at August National every April.
Although there are four teams still to finish and Astana are yet to pass the 9.5km time check, an RCS representative has brought Daniel Oss a blue jersey to try on for size, perhaps unaware that the television cameras were rolling. Presumably something similar happens before the green jacket is handed out at August National every April.
A disappointing 25:21 at the finish for Lampre-Merida,while Ag2r-La Mondiale were well off the pace at the intermediate check. Daniel Oss could probably have kept that blue jersey on his shoulders after all...
Astana were 10 seconds off the pace at the 9.5km, clocking a time of 9:37.
Ag2r-La Mondiale take 12th place, 50 seconds down on BMC. Domenico Pozzovivo and Jean-Christophe Peraud will have some work to do over the coming days...
Over at Paris-Nice, meanwhile, stage 3 has been temporarily suspended as a result of the weather conditions. The riders will be driven 30 kilometres up the road and the race will resume at Villié-Morgon close to the foot of Mont Brouilly with around 40km to the finish. Shades of the remarkable 2013 Milan-San Remo. For more updates, follow our live coverage here.
The penultimate team across the line is Androni Giocattoli, and their 25:29 won't trouble the leaderboard. Only Astana remain on the road, and they were already 10 seconds down on BMC at the 9.5km mark.
BMC are gathered in the hot seat(s) watching Astana approach the final kilometre. Daniel Oss will be the first leader of this year's Tirreno-Adriatico.
A solid but unspectacular ride from Astana, who stop the clock in 24:10 for the sixth best time, 14 seconds down on stage winners BMC.
BMC win the stage, 2 seconds ahead of Etixx-QuickStep and 9 ahead of the surprising FDJ. Daniel Oss is our first race leader and he dances some manner of jig for the television cameras to celebrate, and it's not entirely certain whether that jaunty dance tallies with his usual "stay rock" manifesto. He can expect a grilling on his musical tastes in the press conference.
1 BMC Racing Team 0:23:55
2 Etixx - Quick-Step 0:23:57
3 FDJ 0:24:04
4 Tinkoff Team 0:24:06
5 IAM Cycling 0:24:07
6 Astana 0:24:10
7 Trek-Segafredo 0:24:12
8 Team Sky 0:24:16
9 Orica-GreenEdge 0:24:20
10 Movistar Team 0:24:24
11 Team LottoNl-Jumbo 0:24:33
12 Lotto Soudal 0:24:41
13 AG2R La Mondiale 0:24:45
14 Team Katusha 0:24:54
15 Dimension Data 0:24:58
16 CCC Sprandi Polkowice 0:24:59
17 Bora-Argon 18 0:25:06
18 Team Giant-Alpecin 0:25:18
19 Lampre - Merida 0:25:21
20 Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec 0:25:29
21 Bardiani CSF 0:25:36
22 Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:25:36
23 Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:25:58
1 Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team 00:23:55
2 Tejay van Garderen (Ita) BMC Racing Team
3 Greg Van Avermaet (Ita) BMC Racing Team
4 Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team
5 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team
6 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team
7 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx-QuickStep 00:00:02
8 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Etixx-QuickStep
9 Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx-QuickStep
10 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx-QuickStep
"It’s amazing. One of our objectives was to win the first stage because we have an amazing team for team time trials," says Oss before he mounts the podium. "This is a good start."
Over at Paris-Nice, meanwhile, the news is bleak. Stage 3 has been cancelled due to heavy snow. We'll have all the news and reaction here.
A full report, results and photos from Tirreno-Adriatico will follow here, and Stephen Farrand will have all of the news and reaction to today's team time trial on Cyclingnews in due course. Thanks for joining our live coverage today, we'll be back with more from both Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Nice tomorrow.
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