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The American team beats NetApp-Endura by a massive 15 seconds on the short 14.3km course near the Lake Garda to put Oss into the overall lead and give Evans the perfect start to the race

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22.04.2014 @ 16:30 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

For the second time in three years, BMC have opened the Giro del Trentino by winning the team time trial and this year they did it in commanding fashion. On the short, flat 14.3km course near Lake Garda, they put no less than 15 seconds into Team NetApp-Endura to give Cadel Evans the perfect start to the race and put Daniel Oss into the leader's jersey while pre-race favourites Sky and Movistar could only manage 3rd and 4th respectively.

 

Two years ago BMC Racing Team won the opening team time trial of the Giro del Trentino to put Taylor Phinney in the first leader's jersey in the traditional warm-up race for the Giro d'Italia. Today the team repeated that effort when the race again opened with a collective ride against the clock near Lake Garda in Northern Italy.

 

Before the race, most pre-race discussion had surrounded the Movistar and Sky teams. The Spanish teams had two big powerhouses in Alex Dowsett and Adriano Malori but the pair was mostly surrounded by strong climbers. Sky had a more homogenous team led by Bradley Wiggins and Dario Cataldo but were significantly handicapped by only being 6 riders.

 

In the end, however, none of the two favourites came away with the win as BMC proved to be the strongest on the 14.3km flat and technical course. The American team not only took a surprise victory, they did so in commanding fashion by putting 15 seconds into second-placed NetApp-Endura in a race where the time differences were otherwise very small.

 

As expected, Sky had set the early best time but NetApp-Endura had knocked them out of the hot seat to take a surprise early lead. The German team spent most of the afternoon as provisional leaders until BMC was the fourth last team down the ramp.

 

Already at the intermediate check, they had put 4 seconds into the leader but in the second half they really put down the hammer. Daniel Oss led the team across the line in a time of 14.02 to become the first leader of the race, shortly after coming back from a bad knee injury.

 

Movistar were the final team that was expected to challenge BMC but already at the intermediate check, it was clear that the Spaniards were not on a good day. In the end, they could only managed 4th, losing 22 seconds to the stage winners.

 

With the win, Cadel Evans got his Giro del Trentino campaign off to a perfect start as he put 29 seconds into Michele Scarponi (Astana) and 44 seconds into Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r), the two riders who are regarded as his biggest challengers. With three summit finishes coming up, however, nothing is decided in the mountainous race.

 

The first of those mountaintop finishes comes tomorrow in the second stage. A mostly flat first part with only two categorized climbs is followed by the 14.4km climb to the finish in San Giacomo di Brentonico. With an average gradient of 6.9%, the ascent is set to open up much bigger time differences than today's short stage.

 

A flat technical opener

The 38th Giro del Trentino opened with a 14.3km team time trial from Riva del Garda to Arco close to the Lake Garda.  The course was completely flat but especially the second half had several corners that made it a very technical affair that could potentially break the harmony for even the strongest teams.

 

At 15.15 local time, Neri Sottoli team was the first team down the ramp and they opened the Giro del Trentino in splendid weather conditions. Mauro Finetto led the team across the line in a time of 14.40 to set the early mark of the day.

 

Best time for Sky

The second team, however, was one of the day's two favourites, the depleted 6-rider Sky team, and already at the intermediate check they were 7 seconds faster than the yellow-clad leaders. In the second half, they really put down the hammer and when they crossed the line, their time of 14.21 was 19 seconds better than Neri-Sottoli. Bradley Wiggins led the team across the line.

 

For Lampre-Merida, it was all about limiting their losses and they did well to only lose 8 seconds to Sky in the first half of the course. They did even better in the second part as they made it into 2nd, 14 seconds behind Sky.

 

Disappointment for Rusvelo

One of the day's outsiders was Rusvelo who showed their intentions right from the beginning as they set the fastest split time, shaving 2 seconds off the time set by Sky. They were unable to keep the speed though and when they crossed the line they were no less than 12 seconds behind Sky.

 

MTN-Qhubeka are no specialists in this discipline and so it was no surprise that they set the slowest intermediate time, stopping the clock in 7.13 like Lampre-Merida. At the finish, their time of 14.42 again put them at the bottom of the provisional standings.

 

NetApp-Endura beat Sky

NetApp-Endura won the team time trial in the Settimana Coppi e Bartali two years ago but in this race, they were mostly regarded as outsiders. However, they produced a storming ride to shave 2 seconds off Rusvelo's mark at the intermediate check and unlike the Russians, they could keep it up all the way to the finish. Iker Camano led them across the line in a time of 14.17, thus pushing Sky out of the hot seat.

 

Cannondale have often done great time trials and Ivan Basso's team got their race off to a solid start when they clocked the fourth best time at the intermediate check. At the finish, they had passed Rusvelo and so made it into 3rd, 8 seconds behind NetApp-Endura.

 

Bad day for Bardiani

For Bardiani's many climbers, it was a day of limiting their losses but they didn't manage it very well in today's short opener. Already at the intermediate check they had lost a massive 17 seconds to NetApp-Endura and at the finish, team captains Stefano Pirazzi and Francesco Bongiorno had to accept a time deficit of 33 seconds as they set the slowest time so far.

 

The CCC Polsat team rode a consistent race to set the sixth fastest time at both the intermediate check and at the finish, losing 21 seconds to NetApp-Endura.

 

Solid ride by Colombia

The expectations for Caja Rural's climbers were modest and the team was never expected to feature near the top of the standings. At the intermediate check, they could only beat Bardiani and at the finish, they were tied with the green team at the bottom of the rankings.

 

Colombia have a history of finishing at the bottom of the standings in team time trials but today they did a solid ride. At the intermediate check, they were only 9th out of 11 starters but when they crossed the line, they had set the 7th fastest time.

 

Fantastic BMC performance

Androni Venezuela is another team that has never excelled in team time trials and that was evident in today's race. At the intermediate check, Franco Pellizotti's team set the slowest time, 4 seconds slower than Bardiani, and even though they did a bit better in the second half, they ended their day at the bottom of the standings.

 

All eyes were now at BMC who had won the opening team time trial two years ago. The team produced a fantastic ride to be the first team to go below the 7-minute mark at the intermediate check, lowering NetApp-Endura's mark by 4 seconds, and when they crossed the line, they had shaved a massive 15 seconds off the best time, with Oss being the first rider to cross the line.

 

Poor ride by Movistar

Prior to the stage, many had pointed to Movistar as the day's favourites but big engines Adriano Malori and Alex Dowsett were unable to make up for the many climbers on the roster. At the intermediate check, they had already lost 9 seconds to BMC and at the finish, they were only 4th.

 

Astana was the penultimate team on the course and for them it was all about keeping Michele Scarponi's and Fabio Aru's GC options open. At the intermediate check, they were 7th and when they crossed the line, they had improved a bit to slot into 6th, losing 29 seconds to BMC.

 

The final team down the ramp was the Ag2r team of 2012 winner Domenico Pozzovivo. As expected, he got the race off to a bad start as he was only 14th out of 16 teams at the intermediate check. At the finish, they had improved slightly to take 13th but Pozzovivo starts the race with 44 seconds to make up on Evans in the mountains.

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