Orica-GreenEdge claims 2015 Giro d'Italia opening team time trial stage on a picturesque coastal route to San Remo. Photos by Graham Watson

Orica-GreenEdge repeated last year’s win in the opening team time trial of the Giro d’Italia on Sunday, blitzing the 17.6-kilometre seaside course under sunny skies to put Simon Gerrans in the race lead.

It’s some consolation for Gerrans after a season blighted by injury, and the elated Australian stood on the podium with his children whilst donning the coveted maglia rosa.

Orica-GreenEdge put in a typically well-drilled ride along the route from San Lorenzo al Mare to San Remo, the first stage of any Grand Tour to be run along a bike path. Though much was made pre-race of the narrow nature of the path, the stage was run off without incident, with all 197 starters finishing the stage without a crash.

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Of the overall contenders, Alberto Contador fared best, with his Tinkoff-Saxo team putting in a fast ride to place second behind Orica-GreenEdge. Contador’s team’s performance means that he has already gained 20 seconds on overall rival Richie Porte, whose Sky team finished in a disappointing ninth place.

Astana was third team on the stage, a satisfactory performance for home Italian favourite Fabio Aru, taking over team leadership in the absence of Vincenzo Nibali.

The riders will now face the first open road stage of the race on Sunday, a 173km route from Albenga to Genoa.