Dowsett Takes Maiden Win in Giro ITT; Nibali Takes Maglia Rosa
Movistar has had an unexpected effect on the 2013 Giro d'Italia's time trials. Last Sunday, the Spanish squad surprised everyone by placing second in the team time trial. Today, British time trial champion Alex Dowsett won the first individual time trial of this year's Giro d'Italia.
The 24-year-old notched his victory by powering over the rolling 54.8-km course from Gabicce Mare to Saltara in 1:16:27. Bradley Wiggins (Sky) finished second at 0:10, and Karel Tangert (Astana) took third at 0:14. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) took the maglia rosa .
Maxim Belkov (Katusha) set the early standard with a 1:21:32. Twenty minutes after the Russian crossed the finish line, Jesse Sergeant (RadioShack-Leopard) obliterated Belkov's time with a 1:18:27. Dowsett then took the lead by bettering Sergeant's time by two minutes.
A number of riders came close to Dowsett's time. Australian time trial champion Luke Durbridge (GreenEdge) posted a 1:17:02, and Manuele Boaro (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff) posted a 1:17:12, and Stef Clement (Blanco) rode the course in 1:16:59.
Before Wiggins, however, no rider would come closer to Dowsett than Tangert. The Estonian was 0:26 slower than the Briton at the 26-km and 51-km checkpoints. He made up time on the final, uphill part of the course but fell 0:14 short of the lead.
Wiggins was the first of the overall contenders to start. The Olympic time trial champion lost time early on when he punctured and needed a new bike. At the first checkpoint, he was 0:52 behind Dowsett and was 1:01 in arrears at the second. The Tour de France champion made up a lot of time on the climb to the finish to yield only 0:10 to his compatriot.
Many of the contenders had good days. Nibali finished fourth at 0:21 to move into first overall. Cadel Evans (BMC) took seventh to move up to second. Wiggins's performance lifted him from 23rd to fourth. Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) went from 13th to fifth, although he lost time to the maglia rosa.
Two GC aspirants did not have good days. Defending champion Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) finished 18th at 2:23. The Canadian said that he is satisfied with his performance, but he cannot be happy about dropping from third at 0:08 to sixth at 2:05.
Another GC possibility who fell off of the pace today was Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi). The Spaniard dropped from ninth at 0:52 to 15th at 3:43. Sanchez's GC hopes are gone, and he will have to satisfy himself with stage hunting.
Dowsett was almost clinical about his victory. "For me, the race was about doing what I do," he said. I was catching a lot of riders. It was like a carrot on a stick for me, although I knew a lot of them were taking it easy. The wait was horrible. There were three standout moments: One, when Kangert came in very close to my time. Two, when I was up on Wiggins at the split, although I knew he'd improve. And three, with Nibali, when I knew the reverse would happen. I knew he'd be good in the twisty start, but I'd be better on the later, power sections, and that was how it went."
In the overall, Nibali leads Evans by 0:29 and Robert Gesink (Blanco) by 1:15. Stage 9, a hilly, 170-km ride from Sansepolcro to Firenze, will feature the Category 2 ascent of Passo della Consuma at 81.8 km, the Category 1 Vallombrosa