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90th Giro d'Italia - GT
Italy, May 12-June 3, 2007
Stage 1 - Saturday, May 12: Caprera - La Maddalena (Team TT), 25.6 km
Liquigas takes opening team time trial
By Gregor Brown and Tim Maloney, and Jean-François Quénet in La Maddalena
Enrico Gasparotto led Liquigas over the line in La Maddalena, ensuring he took the race leader's Maglia Rosa and that his Italian team took the win. The 25 year-old from Friuli-Venezia Giulia rolled in with team leader Danilo Di Luca in a time of 33'35", 16 seconds better than Paolo Savoldelli's Astana team and 33 seconds better than Team CSC.
"It was great for the team. I am in great condition and it [going over the line first] was planned by the team," said Gasparotto after winning the day.
Two-time Giro Champion Savoldelli had looked like the day's winner when he led his Swiss team over the line with a time of 33'51". That time was enough to knock Team CSC, a strong time trial squad, out of the top spot but was not enough to contain the day's eventual winner.
Six teams after Astana crossed before Liquigas came home the day's winner but the finish was slightly confusing. Gasparotto led out of the final right-hander and continued to do so to the line. The blond-haired riders, known as Giallo, took the same time as his companions but was able to gain the overall lead by finishing first. This did not seem to please his team caption.
Di Luca seemed to be shouting 'Dove vai?' ('Where are you going?') to Gasparotto as he kept on the front over the line. After the finish he was questioned.
"I was not upset, it is important that we as a team win," said Di Luca, who wore the Maglia Rosa in 2005. "It was great test for the team. ... I am not upset."
"It's a big satisfaction for me. I'm a foreigner in an Italian team," said Liquigas' Charles Wegelius of the team win. "There are a lot of expectations at the start of the Giro. If I don't perform I feel responsibilities towards my teammates. The course played in my advantage today because there were climbs and corners, which are my strong points. ... As for the man who crossed the line first, it was hard to plan in a downhill with curves. Everybody is happy at the end. Are we going to defend the pink jersey now? I doubt it."
Savoldelli almost controlled the first day. The winner of Tour de Romandie's prologue time trial was briefly in the virtual lead. "We organized ourselves well during the course," he said at the finish. Regarding the near win, he added, "but we are happy because the Giro is long."
World Champion Fabian Cancellara saw that his team held the early lead over the twisty parcours. He crossed the line with David Zabriskie and another three of his teammates for a time of 34'08".
"It was a very difficult course and we will have to see," the Swiss said before Astana or Liquigas finished. "We have a young team and we will seek to defend our lead over the coming days." The lead slipped out of the Danish team's hands.
The surprise of the day went to Damiano Cunego's Lampre-Fondital team. The 2004 Giro winner has been working on his time trial form. He rode amazingly well in last year's Tour de France and solidified this talent over the winter with wind tunnel testing. The Italian team crossed the line 1'42" back on Liquigas.
"It is hard to ride a perfect time trial. There were no tactics but we just went out to do our work," he summarized.
How it unfolded
On a windy, warm and sunny Saturday afternoon on the northern tip of Sardinia, Stage 1 of the Giro d'Italia got underway with a spectacular team time trial of 25.6 kilometres from Caprera to La Maddalena.
Française des Jeux rider Carlos Da Cruz didn't start after he hurt his foot during the team presentation Friday on the aircraft carrier Garibaldi so only 197 riders started the 90th edition of the Giro d'Italia.
The first off at 15:30 on the twisting, complicated course across the rocky, open terrain was the Gerolsteiner team composed of ProTour leader Davide Rebellin and young riders. They set the fastest time of 35'10" until the second squad, Predictor-Lotto powered through the finish line with 35'06".
Euskaltel-Euskadi was on a good ride until a crash on one of the tight turns with 750 metres to go slowed the Basque boys. They ended losing about a minute waiting for their fifth man and finished in next to last place overall.
After setting the fastest intermediate time of 21'53", proudly led by World TT Champ Fabien Cancellara and followed by the stars and stripes of USA TT Champ Dave Zabriskie, CSC blasted across the line in La Maddalena to set the new fast time of 34'08", almost a minute ahead of Predictor-Lotto's 35'06", at the superb average speed of 45 km/h that would eventually bring them third on the day.
Then it was the turn of Team Milram, who was led in by their leader, sprinter Ale-Jet Petacchi with a good time that eventually got them 14th place, just behind Predictor-Lotto, and still over the 35 minute mark. Then the orange crush of Rabobank finished with a decent time for an eventual 17th place.
After a strong ride on the windy climb, Saunier Duval-Prodir powered across the line with led by Riccardo Riccò with a surprisingly fast 35'03", moving it into second overall and eventually 11th place. Out on the course, the word was that Acqua e Sapone was on a good ride as T-Mobile crossed the finish line with a respectable time of 35'23". The soap and water boys of Acqua e Sapone were next across the line in La Maddalena and powered into second place, under the 35 minute mark, with a speedy 34'38". The time was good for an eventual fifth overall.
Riding standard road bikes, French squad Ag2r Prévoyance came across the line with the slowest time so far, while Ceramiche Panaria, also on standard road bikes came in just a few seconds ahead of the French squad. Next, the Lampre-Fondital squad of Damiano Cunego was going all out with good times at the intermediate time checks and great riding by Marzio Bruseghin. The fuchsia and blue team rode home with 34'20", and an eventual fourth overall.
Tinkoff Credit Systems, who also came home under 35 minutes, in 34'42", had an excellent time for a young Russian squad.
Astana's aqua-coloured boys cruised the final curves into La Maddalena with five riders. The Swiss-Kazakh squad was close to CSC as the finish approached. Super descender Paolo Savoldelli took things in hand over the final twisting kilometres and the team surprisingly unseated CSC with the brilliant time of 33'51" to move into the lead of Stage 1.
Next to finish was the Red guard of French squad Cofidis led by Colombian Ivan Parra. It rode through a slow time, with Caisse d'Epargne quickly following. Another French team, Bouygues Telecom, soft pedalled in for a slow finish. It was followed by the Quickstep-Innergetic squad of Paolo Bettini, cruising through the finish line with a decent time of 35'03".
Out on the course, Discovery Channel with Vandborg, Hincapie and Popovych pumping hard were off to a fast start, because starting just behind them were the motivated acid green and blue train of Liquigas, who had the fastest time yet at the first time check. Discovery Channel was still riding fast at the second time check after 16 kilometres, one second ahead of CSC's time and just a few seconds off Astana's pace. But it was the Liquigas boys, still with seven riders who were in charge of the situation. They blasted through the second time check after 16 kilometres with 21'36, seconds faster than Astana and they looked like winners the closer they got to La Maddalena.
Disaster struck Discovery Channel in the final kilometre when team leader Yaroslav Popovych crashed on a tight right-hand bend with 800 metres to go. As the Disco boys had only five riders, they had to wait for 'Popo' and ended up losing perhaps 30". Discovery Channel finished fifth in 34'27" but might have gotten past CSC's 34'08" for third if Popovych had not crashed.
As Discovery Channel had their drama, it was Liquigas that were headed for victory in La Maddalena. Liquigas was led across the finish line in 33'35" by former Italian Champion Enrico Gasparotto, who became the first Maglia Rosa in the 90th Giro d'Italia, while the eight men of Française des Jeux wrapped up the race last with a super-slow, non-competitive time of 36'28".
It was Liquigas first, a surprisingly plucky Astana second and CSC third, with a solid ride for fourth by Cunego's Lampre squad. Stage one's big winner among the contenders at this years Giro must be Liquigas leader Di Luca, who gained 13" on his rival Paolo Savoldelli (Astana), 42" on Damiano Cunego (Lampre) and 52" on Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel), while Saunier Duval's Gilberto Simoni and Riccardo Riccò lost 1'25".
Tomorrow's stage 2, starting in the small northern Sardinian town of Tempio Pausania, heads east along the Gulf of Asinara, then through Sassari, south over the Villanova Monteleone climb and then descends to the finish in Bosa. Milram's Ale-Jet Petacchi will be looking for the sprint win, but he'll have to get past CSC's emerging fast man JJ Haedo and fend off Predictor's Rockin' Robbie McEwen and new Maglia Rosa Gasparotto.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Roberto Bettini/www.bettiniphoto.net
Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti
Teams 1 Liquigas 33.38 (45.668 km/h) 2 Astana 0.13 3 Team CSC 0.30 4 Lampre-Fondital 0.42 5 Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 0.49 6 Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo 1.02 7 Tinkoff Credit System 1.04 8 Crédit Agricole 1.13 9 Caisse d'Epargne 1.23 10 Saunier Duval-Prodir 1.25 11 Quickstep-Innergetic 1.26 12 Predictor-Lotto 1.28 13 Gerolsteiner 1.32 14 Team Milram 1.33 15 Cofidis-Le Crédit par Téléphone 1.38 16 Rabobank 1.47 17 T-Mobile Team 1.49 18 Ceramica Panaria-Navigare 2.01 19 Bouygues Telecom 2.07 20 AG2r Prévoyance 2.17 21 Euskaltel-Euskadi 2.38 22 Française des Jeux 2.50 General classification after stage 1 1 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Liquigas 33.38 2 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas 3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas 4 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas 5 Andrea Noe' (Ita) Liquigas 6 Charles Wegelius (GBr) Liquigas 7 Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas 0.02 8 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Astana 0.13 9 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Astana 10 Andrey Mizourov (Kaz) Astana 11 Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana 12 Serguei Yakovlev (Kaz) Astana 13 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team CSC 0.30 14 David Zabriskie (USA) Team CSC 15 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team CSC 16 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team CSC 17 Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Team CSC 18 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - Fondital 0.42 19 Francisco Javier Vila Errandonea (Spa) Lampre - Fondital 20 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre - Fondital 21 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Lampre - Fondital 22 Marco Marzano (Ita) Lampre - Fondital 23 Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Lampre - Fondital 24 José Luis Rubiera Vigil (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 0.49 25 Volodymyr Bileka (Ukr) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 26 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 27 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 28 Steven Cummings (GBr) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 29 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo 1.02 30 Andrei Kunitski (Blr) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo 31 Dario Andriotto (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo 32 Alexandr Arekeev (Rus) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo 33 Massimo Codol (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo 34 Giuseppe Palumbo (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo 35 Branislau Samoilau (Blr) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo 36 Evgeni Petrov (Rus) Tinkoff Credit System 1.04 37 Ivan Rovny (Rus) Tinkoff Credit System 38 Pavel Brutt (Rus) Tinkoff Credit System 39 Daniele Contrini (Ita) Tinkoff Credit System 40 Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Tinkoff Credit System 41 Francesco Bellotti (Ita) Crédit Agricole 1.13 42 Julian Dean (NZl) Crédit Agricole 43 Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun) Crédit Agricole 44 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Crédit Agricole 45 Pietro Caucchioli (Ita) Crédit Agricole 46 Patrice Halgand (Fra) Crédit Agricole 47 Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 1.23 48 David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 49 Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 50 Aitor Perez Arrieta (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 51 Joan Horrach Rippoll (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 52 Angelo Furlan (Ita) Crédit Agricole 53 Riccardo Ricco (Ita) Saunier Duval - Prodir 1.25 54 Iban Mayo Diez (Spa) Saunier Duval - Prodir 55 Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Saunier Duval - Prodir 56 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saunier Duval - Prodir 57 Rubens Bertogliati (Swi) Saunier Duval - Prodir 58 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quickstep - Innergetic 1.26 59 Andrea Tonti (Ita) Quickstep - Innergetic 60 Leonardo Scarselli (Ita) Quickstep - Innergetic 61 Jurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Quickstep - Innergetic 62 Hubert Schwab (Swi) Quickstep - Innergetic 63 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 1.28 64 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Predictor - Lotto 65 Dario David Cioni (Ita) Predictor - Lotto 66 Josep Jufre Pou (Spa) Predictor - Lotto 67 Matthew Lloyd (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 68 Wim Van Huffel (Bel) Predictor - Lotto 69 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Quickstep - Innergetic 70 David Canada Gracia (Spa) Saunier Duval - Prodir 1.31 71 Robert Förster (Ger) Gerolsteiner 1.32 72 Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Gerolsteiner 73 Tim Klinger (Ger) Gerolsteiner 74 Matthias Russ (Ger) Gerolsteiner 75 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 76 Sergio Ghisalberti (Ita) Team Milram 1.33 77 Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Team Milram 78 Alberto Ongarato (Ita) Team Milram 79 Christian Knees (Ger) Team Milram 80 Alessandro Cortinovis (Ita) Team Milram 81 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Team Milram 82 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Team Milram 83 Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Team Milram 84 Steve Zampieri (Swi) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 1.38 85 Ivan Ramiro Parra Pinto (Col) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 86 Tristan Valentin (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 87 Amaël Moinard (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 88 Frédéric Bessy (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 89 Bingen Fernandez Bustinza (Spa) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 90 Mario Aerts (Bel) Predictor - Lotto 1.43 91 Gorazd Stangelj (Slo) Lampre - Fondital 1.45 92 William Walker (Aus) Rabobank 1.47 93 Mauricio Alberto Ardila Cano (Col) Rabobank 94 Pedro Horrillo Munoz (Spa) Rabobank 95 Koos Moerenhout (Ned) Rabobank 96 Max Van Heeswijk (Ned) Rabobank 97 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank 98 Gregory Henderson (NZl) T-Mobile Team 1.49 99 Axel Merckx (Bel) T-Mobile Team 100 Frantisek Rabon (Cze) T-Mobile Team 101 Marco Pinotti (Ita) T-Mobile Team 102 Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita) T-Mobile Team 103 Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita) Liquigas 1.51 104 Vladimir Miholjevic (Cro) Liquigas 105 Manuele Mori (Ita) Saunier Duval - Prodir 1.52 106 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 1.53 107 Emanuele Sella (Ita) Ceramica Panaria - Navigare 2.01 108 Luis Felipe Laverde Jimenez (Col) Ceramica Panaria - Navigare 109 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Ceramica Panaria - Navigare 110 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ceramica Panaria - Navigare 111 Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio (Mex) Ceramica Panaria - Navigare 112 Mathieu Perget (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne 2.05 113 Olivier Bonnaire (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 2.07 114 Nicolas Crosbie (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 115 Arnaud Labbe (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 116 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 117 Yoann Le Boulanger (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 118 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance 2.17 119 Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance 120 Yuriy Krivtsov (Ukr) AG2r Prévoyance 121 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2r Prévoyance 122 Julien Loubet (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance 123 Carl Naibo (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance 124 Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance 125 Martin Müller (Ger) Team Milram 2.19 126 Mickaël Buffaz (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 2.21 127 Michael Blaudzun (Den) Team CSC 2.23 128 Aitor Hernandez Gutierrez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 2.38 129 Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 130 Aketza Pena Iza (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 131 Benat Albizuri Aransolo (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 132 Anton Luengo Celaya (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 133 Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Lampre - Fondital 2.41 134 Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre - Fondital 135 Andrea Pagoto (Ita) Ceramica Panaria - Navigare 136 Paride Grillo (Ita) Ceramica Panaria - Navigare 2.43 137 Arnaud Gérard (Fra) Française des Jeux 2.50 138 Fabien Patanchon (Fra) Française des Jeux 139 Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Française des Jeux 140 Ian McLeod (RSA) Française des Jeux 141 Francis Mourey (Fra) Française des Jeux 142 Lilian Jégou (Fra) Française des Jeux 143 Cyrille Monnerais (Fra) Française des Jeux 144 Mauro Facci (Ita) Quickstep - Innergetic 3.02 145 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Quickstep - Innergetic 3.03 146 Addy Engels (Ned) Quickstep - Innergetic 147 Raivis Belohvosciks (Lat) Saunier Duval - Prodir 3.09 148 Angel Gomez (Spa) Saunier Duval - Prodir 149 Timothy Gudsell (NZl) Française des Jeux 3.16 150 Joseba Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 3.22 151 Mathieu Heijboer (Ned) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 3.32 152 Oscar Gatto (Ita) Gerolsteiner 3.37 153 Sven Krauss (Ger) Gerolsteiner 154 Thomas Fothen (Ger) Gerolsteiner 155 Gabriele Balducci (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo 3.39 156 Simone Masciarelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo 157 Assan Bazayev (Kaz) Astana 158 Thomas Ziegler (Ger) T-Mobile Team 3.41 159 Adam Hansen (Aus) T-Mobile Team 160 Salvatore Commesso (Ita) Tinkoff Credit System 3.43 161 Elio Aggiano (Ita) Tinkoff Credit System 162 Nikolai Trusov (Rus) Tinkoff Credit System 163 Ricardo Serrano Gonzalez (Spa) Tinkoff Credit System 164 Fortunato Baliani (Ita) Ceramica Panaria - Navigare 3.44 165 Franck Renier (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 166 Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 167 Alexei Markov (Rus) Caisse d'Epargne 4.01 168 Eric Berthou (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne 169 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole 170 Christophe Kern (Fra) Crédit Agricole 171 Matti Breschel (Den) Team CSC 4.07 172 Juan José Haedo (Arg) Team CSC 173 Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Team CSC 174 Maxim Gourov (Kaz) Astana 4.09 175 Benoît Joachim (Lux) Astana 4.11 176 Steve Morabito (Swi) Astana 177 Nick Gates (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 4.21 178 Stefano Zanini (Ita) Predictor - Lotto 179 Matthew White (Aus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 4.24 180 Brian Vandborg (Den) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 181 Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 182 Pavel Padrnos (Cze) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 183 Michael Barry (Can) T-Mobile Team 4.25 184 Aaron Olson (USA) T-Mobile Team 185 Alexandre Usov (Blr) AG2r Prévoyance 4.26 186 Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 4.38 187 Iban Velasco (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 188 Dionisio Galparsoro Martinez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 189 Pierre Drancourt (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 4.48 190 Yohann Gène (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 191 Leon Van Bon (Ned) Rabobank 4.58 192 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank 193 Dmitry Kozontchouk (Rus) Rabobank 194 Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Ceramica Panaria - Navigare 195 Laurent Mangel (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance 5.20 196 Hervé Duclos-Lassalle (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 5.45 197 Volker Ordowski (Ger) Gerolsteiner 7.38 DNS Carlos Da Cruz (Fra) Française Des Jeux Trofeo Super Team 1 Liquigas 20 pts 2 Astana 19 3 Team CSC 18 4 Lampre-Fondital 17 5 Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 16 6 Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo 15 7 Tinkoff Credit System 14 8 Crédit Agricole 13 9 Caisse d'Epargne 12 10 Saunier Duval-Prodir 11 11 Quickstep-Innergetic 10 12 Predictor-Lotto 9 13 Gerolsteiner 8 14 Team Milram 7 15 Cofidis-Le Crédit par Téléphone 6 16 Rabobank 5 17 T-Mobile Team 4 18 Ceramica Panaria-Navigare 3 19 Bouygues Telecom 2 20 AG2r Prévoyance 1 21 Euskaltel-Euskadi 22 Française des Jeux