Lancaster Wins Giro Prologue
Brett Lancaster (Ceramiche Panaria) has drawn first blood in the Giro d?Italia. The Australian won the 1.15-km prologue in Reggio Calabria in 1:20. Matteo Tosatto and Alessandro Petacchi (both from Fassa Bortolo) finished second and third, respectively, at 0:01. The prologue was the second shortest in Grand Tour history.
Rony Martias (Bouygues Telecom) set the early standard. The Frenchman, who was the 49th starter, tore through the course in 1:23. His lead held for one hour and twenty minutes. Then, Tosatto bettered Martias?s time with a 1:21. Half an hour later, Lancaster set a new standard.
Lancaster had to weather challenges from former junior world kilometer champion Mark Renshaw (La Francaise des Jeux) and Stuart O?Grady (Cofidis), who finished eighth and sixth, respectively, but neither could match his mark. When defending champion Damiano Cunego (Saeco), the last starter, crossed the finish line in 1:24, Lancaster was the prologue winner and the first maglia rosa wearer in the 2005 Giro d?Italia.
Cunego was the day?s final competitor, but one other rider rode today. He was Mario Cipollini, who retired from competitive cycling recently. The Giro organizers invited the Lion King to make one last ride at the Giro, where he holds the career record for stage wins with 42. He started 15 minutes before the first competitor and soaked up the applause one final time. Cipo will be missed.
In the overall, Lancaster leads Tosatto and Petacchi by 0:01. Stage 1 might change this state of affairs. With the field separated by seconds and with time bonuses at stake, many riders will attempt to wrench the maglia rosa from Lancaster?s back. Will they succeed? Check in at Roadcycling.com and find out!