Orica-GreenEdge once again proved its team time trial credentials, winning the opening stage of the 2015 Giro d'Italia in San Remo on Saturday.
Simon Gerrans was the first Orica rider to cross the line, putting the Australian in the coveted pink jersey of race leader.
Orica-GreenEdge conquered the 17.6-kilometre stage from San Lorenzo al Mare to San Remo with a well-drilled performance. Tinkoff-Saxo finished in second spot at seven seconds, with Astana in third at 13 seconds.
Despite the narrow nature of the course - a coastal bike path built on the route of a former railway - the stage was run off without incident, unlike last year's opening time trial in Belfast that saw Dan Martin (Garmin) crash out of the race.
Team Sky put in a decent performance, but not good enough to overhaul the quickest teams and they ended up in ninth place - with Sky leader Richie Porte giving away 20 seconds to Tinkoff-Saxo's Alberto Contador, 14 seconds to Astana's Fabio Aru and eight seconds to Etixx-QuickStep's Rigoberto Uran.
"That was terribly fast," said Porte after the finish. "I think we were good today everyone was pretty smooth and solid, I think we did a good job. The race isn't going to be won today, but I think it's a good way to start the race."
The Cycling Weekly Giro d'Italia contenders preview
Tinkoff-Saxo set the day's fastest time at the 9.9-kilometre intermediate time check, but the squad's early pace looked like it had taken its toll with Contador and Ivan Basso both off the back shortly after. Contador then looked to be having difficulty keeping pace with his team-mates, taking short turns on the front. However, they kept up enough momentum for Contador to finish as the best of the overall contenders, a very solid start to his campaign.
One rider not taking part in the opening time trial was George Bennett, whose LottoNL-Jumbo team withdrew him the night before due to a low cortisol level returned from a UCI pre-race test. Bennett was not replaced in the squad's line-up.
The 2015 Giro d'Italia continues on Sunday with the first open road stage, a 173km trip from Albenga to Genoa, which looks highly likely to end in a bunch sprint.
Giro d'Italia 2015, stage one: San Lorenzo al Mare to San Remo (TTT) 17.6km
1. Orica-GreenEdge in 19-26
2. Tinkoff-Saxo at 7 secs
3. Astana at 13 secs
4. Etixx-QuickStep at 19 secs
5. Movistar at 21 secs
6. IAM Cycling at 25 secs
7. BMC Racing Team at 25 secs
8. FDJ at 26 secs
9. Team Sky at 27 secs
10. Katusha at 27 secs
11. Trek Factory Racing at 29 secs
12. Lotto-Soudal at 31 secs
13. LottoNL-Jumbo at 36 secs
14. Bardiani-CSF at 37 secs
15. CCC Sprandi-Polkowice at 45 secs
16. Ag2r La Mondiale at 48 secs
17. Giant-Alpecin at 49 secs
18. Southeast at 52 secs
19. Cannondale-Garmin at 53 secs
20. Nippo-Vini Fantini at 57 secs
21. Lampre-Merida at 59 secs
22. Androni-Sidermec at 1-03
Overall classification after stage one
1. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge in 19-26
2. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
3. Michael Hepburn (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
4. Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge
5. Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
6. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge at same time
7. Manuele Boaro (Ita) Tinnkoff-Saxo at 7 secs
8. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo
9. Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo
10. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo at same time
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1