Mission accomplished for Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky who took the first pink jersey of the 2010 Giro d’Italia in Amsterdam today.
The Brit won the 8.4km time trial by just two seconds from Brent Bookwalter and Cadel Evans of the BMC racing team to become the second Briton to wear the race leader’s pink jersey.
Wiggins said: “I decided I wasn’t going to touch the brakes and thought if I crash, I crash. I wanted to get the pink jersey or die trying. I knew I had a good chance but you never know what the other riders are going to do so I just focused on what I could do and I was lucky enough to win.
“The pink jersey is one of the most special and iconic jerseys. You look back at all the great names who have worn this jersey and you realise how special it is.”
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Asked if he could defend the jersey for three weeks he said: “One day is enough. There’s bonifications [time bonuses] tomorrow so it’ll be very difficult but there’s a team time trial coming up so maybe we can do something in that. For the overall it wil be very difficult. There are stronger riders than me for that – Evans, Basso and Vinokourov.”
Today had been a big aim for Team Sky, and Wiggins looked suitably focused at the top of the start ramp. Riding his new Pinarello Graal time trial bike, and his British national champions skinsuit, Wiggins turned a huge gear down the start ramp before settling in to his trademark smooth pedalling style.
Ahead of him was fellow Brit and former team mate David Millar (Garmin), himself a favourite for today’s stage, but the Scot was just a few seconds off the pace. Wiggins looked fast, and like he’d done his homework; staying low through the corners when he came off his tri-bars and pushing his tyres to the limit as he crossed the painted white lines that littered the course.
All the riders had only been able to see the full barriered course this morning, leaving them guessing as to just how technical the course would be. In the end many of the corners were flowing ones, giving the advantage to the time triallers.
Wiggins, one of the best time triallers in the business, was chasing the time of unknown American Brent Bookwalter (BMC) who had earlier produced a good ride in drying conditions. Marco Pinotti (HTC Columbia) had finished off the pace after completing some of his ride in the rain. Although the clouds were constantly threatening, the rain held off for Wiggins and the overall contenders who started behind him.
Once he had beaten Bookwalter’s time there was only Cadel Evans (BMC) and Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) to worry about. World road race champion Cadel Evans came agonisingly close to the Brit’s time; just two seconds slower, equalling his young team-mate’s time.
Then for Vinokourov; but thankfully he was further behind. Although still in the top ten, the disgraced Kazakh saved the organisers blushes of having to give the race’s first pink jersey to a remorseless rider recently back from a doping ban.
Instead the leader’s jersey was presented to Wiggins, his first in a grand tour. It was also a first for a British pro team as Sky put their disappointing classics campaign behind them in spectacular fashion. Kiwi sprinter Greg Henderson also finished in the top ten, boosting his chances of taking over the lead from Wiggins tomorrow should the stage come down to a sprint finish.
Stage one ITT Amsterdam-Amsterdam, 8.4km
1. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky in 10.18 minutes
2. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC at 2sec
3. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 2sec
4. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) at 5sec
5. Greg Henderson (NZl) at 5sec
6. Richie Porte (Aus) Saxo Bank at 5sec
7. David Millar (GBR) Garmin-Transitions at 6sec
8. Gustav Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank at 7sec
9. Jos Van Emden (Ned) Rabobank at 9sec
10. Marco Pinotti (Ita) HTC-Columbia at 9sec
Others: British, Team Sky, favourites
11. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas at 10sec
15. Dario Cioni (Ita) Team Sky at 13sec
25. Andre Greipel (Ger) HTC-Columbia at 18sec
45. Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin-Transtions at 26sec
49. Charly Wegelius (GB) Omega Pharma at 26sec
69. Steve Cummings (GB) Team Sky at 33sec
70. Michael Barry (Can) Team Sky at 33sec
76. Daniel Lloyd (GB) Cervélo at 36sec
87. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Transitions at 39sec
94. Mathew Hayman (Aus) Team Sky at 41sec
101. Chris Sutton (Aus) Team Sky at 43sec
111. Morris Possoni (Ita) Team Sky at 46sec
138. Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky at 51sec
182. Adam Blythe (GB) Omega Pharma at 1-08
Giro d’Italia 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index
Cycling Weekly’s 2010 Giro d’Italia coverage in association with Zipvit