Giro d'Italia (st. 1)
Movistar Team take 8th place in dangerous TTT in Belfast, marked by intermittent rain, ranks in the middle of the GC contenders’ fight on Giro’s day one
PICTURES | Giro d’Italia gallery
It was an acceptable performance by Nairo Quintana and the Movistar Team in the opening day of the 97th Giro d’Italia, a 21.7-kilometer team time trial in Belfast won by Australian team Orica, which set Canadian Svein Tuft as first ‘maglia rosa’. The telephone squad rode out bad weather, with abundant rain in the stint the Blues were scheduled to race and treacherous wind which changed several times during the competition.
Antón and Castroviejo, dropped before the opening intermediate reference, were the first Blues to lose contact with a train that overcame the infamous turns on the final section well. After leaving Ventoso behind, as well as Herrada -who could stick until the final meters-, the Spanish team crossed the finish with Malori, Izagirre, Quintana, Capecchi and Amador together, in provisional third -55″ behind the winners- which would ecome 8th at the end of the evening.
Quintana finishes behind Urán (OPQ), Evans (BMC), Roche and Majka (TCS) after round one, while putting 3″ on Pozzovivo (ALM), 6″ over Kelderman (BEL) and 38″ on Rodríguez (KAT), with Daniel Martin (GRS) crashing out. With any other trace of misfortune left behind, the Movistar Team will now tackle two flat stages, yet with narrow roads and likely coastal wind, starting with 219km to be covered tomorrow in and around Belfast.
REACTION / Eusebio Unzué: “To be honest, looking at the conditions we had during our time trial, how wet the roads were, the fact that we didn’t crash is already something to be satisfied about. We knew that weather in such a country changes in a matter of minutes – this could happen, since some favourites were starting more than one hour apart. We had to do our whole TT under the rain, from the very start, and especially the most complicated section, which was the downhill after the slopes to the palace. There wasn’t much water on the road there, but enough to force us to cover it more slowly. It was awful for us, but otherwise, I’m happy with how the boys did today. It’s true that we lost Antón very early into the course and that Castroviejo had to make an extra effort to close a gap and eventually dropped – but all of them were good.
“The gaps today? To tell the truth, knowing the route in this year’s Giro and how far Trieste is, I don’t think these seconds will decide the overall result, but of course, it’s better to have them on your favour than against. It’s not good for us to Urán and Evans having that gap, but the good news, apart from staying away from crashes, was putting those 38 seconds on Purito. Now we will have two more days in Ireland, which should be suited for sprinters unless there’s any surprise. When it comes to ourselves, we will try to get over them with no other difficulties and get back to Italy with no worries.”