Taylor Phinney (BMC) put in a commanding performance to win the opening time trial stage of the 2012 Giro d’Italia in Herning, Denmark, on Saturday
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The win is Phinney’s biggest victory to date, and his BMC team’s first WorldTour win of the season. The American beat second fastest rider, Welshman Geraint Thomas (Sky) by a stunning nine seconds over the 8.7-kilometre course, clocking an average of just over 50km/h.
Thomas posted the quickest time of the day at the intermediate checkpoint. However, Phinney gave a perfectly-measured ride to up his pace in the second half of the stage and earn the right to don the pink race leader’s jersey.
Thomas had gone into the time trial with high hopes of a win after claiming the prologue time trial in the Tour de Romandie at the end of April. In the end, he was simply out-classed by a rampaging Phinney, but the top pair where a fair margin ahead of the rest of the field.
Local hope Alex Rasmussen (Garmin-Barracuda) finished in third spot, 13 seconds adrift of Phinney.
Lithuanian Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Barracuda) had set the early fast time of 10 minutes and 48 seconds that stuck for a long time, as rider after rider came over the line outside his marker. It wasn’t until Manuele Boaro (Saxo Bank) came through with 10-41 in the final batch of riders that Navardauskas’s time was breached.
First Thomas, and then Phinney set new fastest times with 10-35 and 10-26 respectively.
The corner-strewn course around Herning made it hard for the riders to get into a steady rhythm, and it favoured those with enough explosive power to build back up to speed after the bends. Thankfully, the weather stayed dry but cool and the stage was completed without major incident.
Of the overall favourites, Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda), Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Roman Kreuziger (Astana) fared the best. Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) appeared to struggle and finished over a minute down on Phinney – not a good start for the defending champion.
Mark Cavendish (Sky) finished in 58th spot, at 47 seconds.
Phinney will wear the coveted maglia rosa going into Sunday’s 206km road stage, again starting and finishing in Herning – the second of three opening stages in Denmark. Giro d’Italia 2012 stage two preview>>
Giro d’Italia 2012, stage one: Herning to Herning, 8.7km ITT
1. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing in 10-26
2. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky at 9 secs
3. Alex Rasmussen (Den) Garmin-Barracuda at 13 secs
4. Manuele Boaro (Ita) Saxo Bank at 15 secs
5. Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Vacansoleil-DCM at 22 secs
6. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Barracuda at 22 secs
7. Brett Lancaster (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 23 secs
8. Marco Pinotti (Ita) BMC Racing at 24 secs
9. Jesse Sergent (NZl) RadioShack-Nissan at 26 secs
10. Nelson Oliveira (Por) RadioShack-Nissan at 27 secs
17. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Barracuda at 29 secs
28. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Astana at 36 secs
36. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at 39 secs
41. Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky at 41 secs
58. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky at 47 secs
66. Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Sky at 49 secs
113. Frank Schleck (Lux) RadioShack-Nissan at 59 secs
138. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-ISD at 1-06
154. Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Sky at 1-13
Overall classification after stage one
1. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing
2. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky
3. Alex Rasmussen (Den) Garmin-Barracuda
4. Manuele Boaro (Ita) Saxo Bank
5. Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Vacansoleil-DCM
6. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Barracuda
7. Brett Lancaster (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
8. Marco Pinotti (Ita) BMC Racing at
9. Jesse Sergent (NZl) RadioShack-Nissan
10. Nelson Oliveira (Por) RadioShack-Nissan
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