Slipstream won the opening team time trial at the Giro d?Italia on Saturday, with Christian Vande Velde crossing the line first and taking the first maglia rosa of the 2008 ‘corsa rosa’.

Slipstream blasted round the technical but slippery 23.6km course, stopping the clock with a time of 26-32.

Team CSC was second, six seconds back, with High Road an impressive third at seven seconds. Liquigas was fourth at nine seconds with Team Barloworld an excellent fifth at 14 seconds thanks to some huge efforts by Steve Cummings and Geraint Thomas.

31 year-old Vande Velde is the first American to wear the pink jersey since Andy Hampsten won the Giro in 1988.

?For me this is like a lifetime achievement award,? Vande Velde said.

?I?ll put a picture of me in the pink jersey on the wall and one day tell my grandchildren about it. It?s an amazing achievement and is the highlight of my career so far.?

?We came here with one and one only objective and that was to win today. That we won it is pretty unreal because Slipstream is still only a small team and we?re still getting things together. We?re over the moon to have won.?

Vande Velde was not afraid to say his win was a sign that clean teams can win major races.

?I think our win is a great sign of a new cycling,? he said.

?CSC and High Road were second and third in the team time trial and along with Astana, we have the biggest internal anti-doping programmes in the sport. That shows that clean teams are winning now. Without a doubt a clean team won today.?

Britain’s David Millar gave his all during the time trial and eased off after a huge effort in the final kilometres. He crossed the line a few seconds behind his team mates but was over the moon to have won.

?This is mission accomplished. We?ve worked really hard for this in the last week and it?s great to pull it off. I?m really happy for Christian and it?s great for the team.?

?Whatever happens now is cherries and icing?.? On an already very big cake.

Vande Velde will wear the race leader?s pink jersey during Sunday?s 207km second stage of the three-week race, from Cefalu to Agrigento.

1. Slipstream-Chipotle 23.6km in 26min 32secs
2. CSC at 6secs
3. High Road at 7secs
4. Liquigas at 9secs
5. Barloworld at 14secs
6. LPR Brakes-Ballan at 28secs
7. Astana at 29secs
8. Tinkoff at 33secs
9. Quick Step at 42secs
10. Lampre at 45secs
11. Milram at 45secs
12. S. Diquigiovanni-Androni G. at 51secs
13. Gerolsteiner at 54secs
14. Caisse D’Epargne at 54secs
15. Saunier Duval-Scott at 1min 2secs
16. Rabobank at 1min 4secs
17. Ag2r at 1min 5secs
18. Cofidis at 1min 5secs
19. CSF Group-Navigare at 1min 15secs
20. Euskaltel-Euskadi at 1min 1secs
21. Silence-Lotto at 1min 18 secs
22. Francaise des Jeux at 1min 26secs

1. Christian Vande Velde (USA) Slipstream in 26min 32secs
2. David Zabriskie (USA) Slipstream
3. Ryder Hesjdal (Can) Slipstream
4. Julian Dean (NZl) Slipstream
5. Magnus Backstedt (Swe) Slipstream all same time
6. Michael Blaudzun (Den) CSC at 6secs
7. Nicki Sorensen (Den) CSC
8. Bradley McGee (Aus) CSC
9. Stuart O’Grady (Aus) CSC
10. Jason McCartney (USA) CSC all same time

Team SlipstreamTeam Slipstream were very well drilled in the opening team time trial, and came away with top honours as reward

Team SlipstreamChristian Vande Velde crossed the line first for the team, and gets to wear the coveted Giro leader’s jersey

Team SlipstreamCheers!

Team SlipstreamDavid Millar’s bike gets the Union Jack treatment
All photos by Graham Watson

Stage two: Ricco wins Giro d’Italia second stage
Stage one TTT: Slipstream wins Giro team time trial

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

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