All six of the British riders in the Giro d?Italia have finished the 12.9-kilometre time trial on the brutally-steep Plan de Corones.
Mark Cavendish (High Road) finished in a time of 48 minutes and 59 seconds.Bradley Wiggins (High Road) finished in 47 minutes and nine seconds, Geraint Thomas (Barloworld) was home in 46-46.Slipstream?s David Millar finished in 46-48.Steve Cummings, (Barloworld) rode it in 45-27.
The fastest of the Brits was Charly Wegelius of Liquigas. He rode the steep course in 44-14. When he crossed the line that was good enough for fourth place, just 52 seconds behind the early pace-setter Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio of the team of the moment, CSF Navigare. But with all the big favourites still to come, it?s certain Wegelius will slip down the list.
?That was hard, really hard,? Wegelius told Cycling Weekly.
?I tried to warm up as much as I could because I know I?ve got sore legs after what I?ve been doing in the last few days. A time trial like that is hard even if you do it with fresh legs.?
?People say you can ride it easy because you don?t have to think of the overall GC but I?d challenge anybody to come up here easily.?
All six Brits are certain to be within the time limit but some of the slowest riders ? Thomas Fothen of Gerolsteiner took 53-48 ? could be in jeopardy. The limit is 25% of the winner’s time.
CAVENDISH LOOKING FORWARD TO REST DAY
Mark Cavendish admitted he is feeling tired after the Dolomites and is looking forward to the second rest day.
Advisor and friend Max Sciandri wants Cavendish to carry on to the finish of the Giro in Milan on Sunday, even though there are two very hard mountain stages and only one realistic chance for Cavendish to win another stage (stage 17 on Wednesday).
Cavendish knows he needs to gain the experience of finishing a three-week tour and that it?ll be a big help for his Olympic Games preparations, even if it does cut down recovery time before the Tour de France.
It seems the sprinter from the Isle of Man is now in line for a place in High Road?s Tour de France team even though they know he would definitely not finish the race with the Olympics coming so soon afterwards.
But after two stage wins in this Giro it would be crazy not to take him to Brittany for the start of the Tour when there are a handful of opportunities for the sprinters to win a stage.
It?s reported that Daniele Bennati, the points competition leader, is suffering with a calf problem. Although it?s very unlikely he?d quit the race, Cavendish could be in with a very slim chance of winning that jersey if he did. Having said that, the climbers have leapt over him in the standings after the two mountain stages, pushing him down to fourth place.
MILLAR ANGRY WITH ORGANISERS AFTER TIME TRIAL
David Millar waited patiently for his team mate Ryder Hesjedal before descending by cable car to the Slipstream bus, but he was not happy to have to climb up the dirt track to entertain the Italian tifosi.
?This is ridiculous, this race is insane, there?s no doubt it?s a spectacular stage but it?s just a circus,” Millar said.
?It?s a combination of everything that is getting to us. It?s a good idea to have spectacular stuff like this stage, but not every day.?
Race director Angelo Zomegnan refused to show any compassion and replied strongly to Millar’s and other riders’ complaints.
?The riders that don?t want to ride the Giro can stay at home. If they don?t like the ride up to Plan de Corones, perhaps they should get a spinning bike and ride it in their garage,? the caustic Italian said.
?We?ve got to drag cycling out of mediocrity and made the racing exciting. Plan de Corones is one of the most spectacular places in the world. Obviously we can?t do anything much more extreme than this because otherwise they?d have to use mountain bikes.?
Zomegnan also refuted any criticism about the numerous transfers between stages in this year?s Giro. Both rest days have been preceded by a long transfer but Zomegnan said: ?The transfer on the second rest day is half the distance of the final transfer to Paris at the Tour de France.?
Of course, Zomegnan forgot to say that the final transfer is done by TGV that travels at 300km/h, not on team buses on twisting mountain roads.
GIRO D?ITALIA STAGE 16
How the Brits have done
Charly Wegelius (Liquigas) 44-14
Steve Cummings (Barloworld) 45-27
Geraint Thomas (Barloworld) at 46-46
David Millar (Slipstream) at 46-48
Bradley Wiggins (High Road) at 47-09
Mark Cavendish (High Road) at 48-59
Bradley Wiggins in action during the stage 16 mountain time trial
Steve Cummings was the fastest Brit ? until Charly Wegelius rode
Geraint Thomas rode strongly
Mark Cavendish has his eyes on Wednesday’s stage 17
Top Brit: Charly Wegelius finished in 34th spot
David Millar, not happy with the stage
GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: STAGE REPORTS
Stage 15: Sella strikes again in the mountains
Stage 14: Sella wins first Giro mountains stage
Stage 13: Easy victory for super-fast Cavendish
Stage 12: Bennati gets photo finish verdict over Cavendish
Stage 11: Bertolini wins hilly stage
Stage 10: Bruseghin wins Giro d’Italia time trial
Stage nine: Cavendish misses out in sprint
Stage eight: Ricco wins again
Stage seven: Di Luca, Ricco and Contador gain time on rivals
Stage six: Italians clean up
Stage five: Millar denied by snapped chain
Stage four: Cavendish wins
Stage three: Bennati romps home
Stage two: Ricco wins Giro d’Italia second stage
Stage one TTT: Slipstream wins Giro team time trial
GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: NEWS
Cavendish disappointed after missing out in Giro sprint
Can Cavendish win the Giro today? [stage 12]
Aggressive Cummings comes away empty handed [stage six]
Millar speaks out after missing out in Giro [stage five]
Reaction to Cavendish’s Giro stage win
Cav hits back at Pozzato’s snipe
Cavendish: This is my biggest win [stage four]
Millar celebrates Slipstream Giro d’Italia success
Bettini looking for final Giro glory
Astana’s troubled build-up to the Giro
Petacchi banned for Salbutamol positive
Yates and Astana make last minute rush to Giro
GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: PHOTOS
Giro d’Italia 2008: Photo gallery, week two – new photos added daily
Giro d’Italia 2008: Photo gallery, week one.
GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: FEATURES
Cycling Weekly’s all-time list of British pro winners
Giro d’Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 19)
Rest day 1: How the favourites are doing
Giro Britannia part two: From rule Britannia to cruel Britannia
Tuesday Comment (May 13): Why Cavendish is a bona fide world-class star
Giro Britannia: how the Brits are doing in Italy
Giro d’Italia 2008 preview
Giro d’Italia 2008: who will win?
Giro d’Italia 2008: The British are coming
Giro d’Italia on Eurosport: TV schedule