Columbia High Road wins the Giro d\'Italia 2009 team time trial - Mark Cavendish wears the pink jersey
Under a grey sky, but fortunately without any rain, the first stage of the 100 year old Giro just finished. This stage, a team time trial, was won by the Columbia High Road team.
This team's leader, Mark Cavendish, takes the very first pink jersey of this Tour of Italy.
The Columbia High Road riders, who left first, had two wait for about two hours before they knew they indeed did the best time. They have finished the 20,5 kilometers on the Lido di Venezia island in 21 minutes and 50 seconds, with an average speed of 56,335 kilometers per hour.
Mark Cavendish was thus right when he said at a press conference that the complete focus of the Garmin Slipstream team on this team time trial was disrespectful. Indeed, the team which won this stage last year made this stage its primary goal in this year's Giro d'Italia.
Mark Cavendish said about this yesterday: The thing about it is that the Giroís 21 days. I think itís a bit disrespectful to the race to focus only on the first stage. Your race is going to start on the first day and end on the first day, and thatís what Garmin are fundamentally doing. Theyíve said their season starts tomorrow. Their sponsorís paid money for the first six months of the year ... and I think thatís highly respectful to those guys. Itís May. Their season starts tomorrow and I think itís going to end tomorrow night. I mean, come on ....
His manager, Bob Stapleton, added even more to this by saying that his team won 16 individual time trials in 2008 versus only 12 for Garmin.
There where Garmin beat Columbia with 7 seconds in the team time trial at the start of the Giro in Palermo last year, this year it was up to Columbia High Road to beat Garmin Slipstream with 6 seconds.
Mark Cavendish thinks he has 4 or 5 chances for a stage win in a sprint in this year's Giro.
Below you'll find the team ranking after this team time trial:
1/ Columbia High Road 21'50"
2/ Garmin Slipstream +0'06"
3/ Astana +0'13"
4/ LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini +0'22"
5/ ISD +0'27"
6/ Katusha +0'35"
7/ Rabobank +0'38"
8/ Liquigas +0'40"
9/ Lampre NGC +0'42"
10/ Milram +0'49"
11/ Cervťlo TestTeam +0'49"
12/ Barloworld +0'54"
13/ Saxo Bank +0'55"
14/ Caisse d'Epargne +0'58"
15/ Bbox Bouygues Telecom +1'01"
16/ Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni +1'06" 17/ Quick Step +1'14" (the team which learned today that Tom Boonen [photo], the three times winner of Paris-Roubaix was again tested positive on the use of cocaine; even though this positive check - out of competition - should not have any direct sports related impacts, there will most probably be legal impacts this time and his carreer now seriously is in danger)
18/ Xacobeo Galicia +1'19"
19/ Acqua & Sapone - Caffe' Mokambo +1'21"
20/ Silence Lotto +1'22"
21/ AG2R La Mondiale +1'35"
22/ Fuji Servetto +1'37"
The champagne bottles
The Giro organisation should have a quick chat with its champagne provider tonight ... During the official ceremony for the team which won today's stage, Columbia High Road, it took some time to open the bottle before everyone could be sprayed with champagne.
Just before the very first maglia rosa was handed out, we saw Mark Cavendish behind the scenes, with the girl who was going to give him the bottle a few minutes later, trying to prepare the bottle so that it would be easier to open afterwards. Despite this preparation, Cavendish needed some time anyway to open the bottle and once it was open, the champagne didn't really want to come out. In those conditions it becomes quite difficult to surprise someone who didn't expect to be sprayed with champagne! > 1 comment | shown 5405x