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With a great performance on the 13.3km course, Bora-Argon 18 beat pre-race favourites Sky by just 0.3 second in the Giro del Trentino team time trial; Benedetti is the first leader of the race

Photo: Roth/Team NetApp

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21.04.2015 @ 16:33 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Bora-Argon 18 confirmed their status as a great team for team time trials when they managed to beat pre-race favourites Team Sky in the opening stage of the Giro del Trentino. Covering the 13.3km course in 14.05, they went 0.3 second faster than the Brits to put local rider Cesare Benedetti in the first leader’s jersey.

 

In 2012, Bora-Argon 18 who were then known as Team NetApp, proved that they had a great potential for team time trials when they powered to a win in the collective test at the Settimana Internazional Coppi e Bartali. Since then they have always been doing well in TTTs and so they were one of the outsiders for today’s opening team time trial at the Giro del Trentino.

 

However, they Germans were without powerhouse Jan Barta and Leopold König, with the latter having left the team, and so they were not expected to beat pre-race favourites Team Sky who were eager to get Richie Porte off to a great start in the traditional build-up race for the Giro d’Italia. The Australian could rely on strong time triallists like Kanstantsin Siutsou, König and an in-form David Lopez, and the Brits were widely tipped as the team to beat.

 

However, Bora-Argon 18 were on a great day when they rolled down the ramp as the 8th of the 16 teams in the four-day race. The combined power of Cesare Benedetti, Emanuel Buchmann, Barotsz Huzarski, Patrick Konrad, Jose Mendes, Dominik Nerz, Cristiano Salerno and Paul Voss was enough to move into the lead as they went four second faster than previous leaders Astana who had started the race with just 7 riders after Fabio Aru’s late withdrawal.

 

Among the final 8 teams, only Sky were expected to pose a threat but the Brits got the race off to a surprisingly poor start. At the intermediate check, they were four second off the pace and Bora-Argon 18 started to dream about the victory.

 

Sky made a great comeback to go faster than the Germans in the second half of the course but it was not enough. When they crossed the line, they had been beaten by 0.3 seconds and so had to settle for second while Astana completed the podium. Local rider Benedetti had been allowed to cross the line in first position and will wear the leader’s jersey in tomorrow’s stage.

 

Among the pre-race favourites, Porte got the race off to the best start as he managed to gain 4 seconds on the many Astana climbers and 7 seconds on the Ag2r trio of Domenico Pozzovivo, Romain Bardet and Jean-Christophe Peraud. Climbers like Edoardo Zardini, Manuel Bongiorno, Damiano Cunego, Franco Pellizotti, Fabio Duarte, Rodolfo Torres, Louis Meintjes and Merhawi Kudus all lost a significant amount of time and will have to go on the attack when the race hits the mountains.

 

They will get their first chance in tomorrow’s stage which has the first of two consecutive mountaintop finishes. After a lumpy first part, the riders reach the difficult finale where they will first go up the hard Monte Velo – the toughest climb of the race – before they descend to the bottom of the climb that leads to the finish in Brentonico.

 

A flat course

The 39th Giro del Trentino kicked off with the exact same 13.3km team time trial that opened last year’s race. The course brought the riders over completely flat roads from Riva del Garda to Arco and as only the second part of the test included a few technical challenges, it was expected to be a stage for the powerful specialists.

 

The first team on the start ramp was the Bardiani team of climbers Stefano Pirazzi, Manuel Bongiorno and Edoardo Zardini and they headed out on the course under a beautiful sunny sky. As expected, however, the Italian team suffered in the flat terrain and their time of 14.41 didn’t allow them to stay in the hot seat for a long time.

 

Astana take the lead

Already the second team managed to beat them as Astana were a massive 32 seconds faster. Despite being reduced to just 7 riders due to Fabia Aru’s late withdrawal, the Kazakh team was already 15 seconds faster at the intermediate check and they maintained the speed all the way to the finish.

 

The Southeast team of Mauro Finetto and Simone Ponzi was unable to beat Astana as their time of 14.27 was only good enough for second. Instead, it was the Ag2r team of Domenico Pozzovivo, Romain Bardet and Jean-Christophe Peraud that was expected to pose the first threat. However, the Frenchmen were 4 seconds behind at the intermediate check and even though they managed to take back 1 second in the final part, they had to settle for a provisional second place.

 

Disaster for Cannondale-Garmin

Damiano Cunego is surrounded by youngster on the Nippo-Vini Fantini team but the Italian team did surprisingly well to post a time of 14.36 that was 5 seconds faster than Bardiani. Despite not being known for the time trialling skills, Caja Rural had a solid ride to slot into third with a time of 14.24, getting the race off to a good start for David Arroyo and Amets Txurruka.

 

However, all eyes were on Ryder Hesjedal’s Cannondale-Garmin team as the Americans had posted the fastest time at the time check, one second better than Astana. However, disaster struck when two riders went down and as they crossed the line, their time of 14.29 was only good enough for fifth.

 

Best time for Bora-Argon 18

Bora-Argon 18 have always been known as a strong team time trial squad and is a former winner of the Coppi e Bartali TT. The German team was one of the outsiders and they fully lived up to expectations when they set the best time at the intermediate check, 5 seconds faster than Cannondale-Garmin. Unlike the Americans, they maintained their speed and when they reached the finish, they had gone four seconds faster than Astana to take the lead.

 

Unsurprisingly, Tirol which is the only continental team in the race was far off the pace with a time of 14.55. Better things were expected from Rusvelo but as they lined up without their many track riders, they were off the pace.

 

Sky miss the mark

Androni have never been a fan of team time trials and so it was no surprise to see them post the slowest time of 14.56. Instead, all eyes were on pre-race favourites Sky who found themselves 4 seconds behind Bora-Argon 18 at the midpoint. The Brits improved in the second part but they came up short by just 0.3 second.

 

Cult Energy had lots of time triallists on their roster but as they only had five riders at the start, they lacked the firepower to be a contender. With a time of 15.03, they were the only ones to use more than 15 minutes to cover the course. The Italian national team which is mainly made up of youngsters had a decent rider with 14.44.

 

Colombia have always suffered in team time trials and it was no surprise to see them post the second slowest time of 14.58. That left just MTN-Qhubeka to try to beat Bora-Argon but their time of 14.29 was only good enough for a position in the middle of the field.

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