In the Pink: Savoldelli Wins Stage 1 of Giro
Defending champion Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel) has won Stage 1 of the 2006 Giro d?Italia.
Defending champion Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel) has won Stage 1 of the 2006 Giro d?Italia. Savoldelli routed the field to win the rugged, 6.2-km individual time trial in Seraing, Belgium in 7:50. Bradley McGee (Francaise des Jeux) finished second at 0:11, and Jose Enrique Gutierrez (Phonak) took third at 0:13.
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Philippe Gilbert (Francaise des Jeux) posted the early standard with an 8:29. Gilbert?s time did not last long because Jose Luis Rubiera (Discovery Channel) bested it with an 8:24. Marzio Bruseghin (Lampre) outdid that time with an 8:10, and Francisco Perez (Caisse d?Epargne) posted an 8:06. Former world time trial champion Sergei Gontchar (T-Mobile), a little past his prime but still fast, pipped Perez with an 8:05. Moments later, Stefan Schumacher (Phonak) shot into the lead with an 8:03, only to see Gutierrez best his time by a fraction of a second.
A number of riders who might have been expected to post faster times than Gutierrez?s failed to do so. Tom Danielson (Discovery Channel) settled for 12 th place with an 8:11, and world time trial champion Michael Rogers (T-Mobile) posted an 8:07 and took eighth place. McGee, however, blasted through the course in 8:01 to take the lead. McGee?s time was a potential winner.
The Giro favorites began to start. None of them except Savoldelli came close to the top of the leaderboard. Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas) finished 10 th at 8:09, Ivan Basso took 11 th at 8:13, 2004 Giro winner Damiano Cunego (Lampre) snared 15 th at 8:15, and two-time champion Gilberto Simoni (Saunier Duval) finished 16 th in the same time as Cunego. Savoldelli laid down the law, posting the fastest time at each checkpoint en route to victory. The defending champion has sent a message to those who want to win the 2006 Giro.
A number of the favorites were disappointed by their performances. One of them was Basso, who said, ?I had hoped for more, but I wouldn?t exactly say I?m disappointed. Realistically, I?d expected to be about four or five seconds faster, but I guess today wasn?t my day. But there are a lot of tough stages ahead, and I?m not worried about the time I lost to Savoldelli today. It?s plain to see that he?s in great shape, but at the same time he is a specialist in this particular discipline. The Giro is rolling now, and there?s still a very, very long way to Milan.?
CSC director Bjarne Riis put the day?s events in perspective. ?I have to take my hat off to Savoldelli, who was truly in a class of his own today,? Riis said. ?Like Ivan, I?d also hoped for more from him, but there?s no reason to panic. I know how hard he has worked to get ready for the Giro, and on the positive side of things at least we can spare the team a bit in the beginning, which will definitely prove an advantage later on.?
Stage 2 will be a sprinters? stage. The 203-km run from Mons to Charleroi/Marcinelle will