By Gregor Brown
The 2012 Giro d'Italia starts on Saturday in Denmark, but some teams, including Sky, are looking towards Verona and the team time trial on Wednesday.
Mark Cavendish's goal is to win sprints, but he said in a Team Sky press release: "We want to win the team time trial as well and hopefully that will get us the pink jersey."
The 33.2-kilometre leg comes after three days of racing in Denmark and one rest/transfer day to Italy. Just as the stage one TT will possibly set someone up for a pink jersey run in Denmark, the TTT will do the same. The leader will enjoy one or maybe two days in the lead ahead of the first mountain stages.
Sky's only team time trial victory comes from two years ago at the Tour of Qatar, but it has a strong chance to collect win number two in Verona. The team consists of fast men to support Cavendish, two of whom, Geraint Thomas and Pete Kennaugh, are from the British team pursuit squad that broke the world record at the recent world track champs.
Cavendish's HTC-Highroad team won the team trial last year and put Marco Pinotti in the pink jersey. Cavendish took the jersey the following day after placing second in the sprint.
"We had a great TT team last year, a team for the sprints," Pinotti told Cycling Weekly. He now leads America's BMC Racing team.
"Sky will bring Cavendish and riders who can do well in these types of stages. On paper, they'll be the strongest. We [team BMC] are there right below Sky, right there in the second position.
"Garmin usually goes well; they have good material and a good history. GreenEdge... look at how they did in Tirreno-Adriatico. They took men just for the time trial. They will show up to win stages and sprints, so they'll have men for the Verona stage. The favourites are the Anglo-Saxon teams."
GreenEdge announced its new title sponsor this morning and now races under the Orica-GreenEdge banner.
"It's a controlled environment, it's just what we are good at," General Manager, Shayne Bannan told Cycling Weekly. "There are no other variables, which you often have in cycling."
Bannan applied the same approach he used as Australia's head coach to help GreenEdge win the Tirreno-Adriatico time trial. The team arrived two days early and prepared specifically.
In Tirreno-Adriatico and at the Giro d'Italia last year, the time trial came on the first day. This year, it's after 400 kilometres of racing and may already reveal cracks in the armour.
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