Lost on the island of Ischia: Vincenzo Nibali, 14 seconds, Ryder Hesjedal, 25 seconds and Cadel Evans, 37 seconds and a significant amount of hope.
That’s what happens when Sir Bradley Wiggins and his Sky mates scorch the technical 17.4k team time trial from Ischia to Forio in 22:05. Wiggins’ Italian teammate Salvatore Puccio enjoys the experience of a lifetime by crossing the line first and taking the pink jersey in his first Giro d’Italia.
While Nibali can count himself lucky to have lost only lost 14 seconds to Wiggins, last year’s Giro champion Ryder Hesjedal can’t be too pleased. They had a “No Ryder Left Behind” strategy but the Canadian already finds himself behind by 25 seconds.
Garmin-Sharp manager Jonathan Vaughters called the performance “good but not great.” Given that his team team makes an obsessive specialty of time trials, “good” might have been an overstatement. Managing no better than 7th place, they couldn’t even beat the time of Lampre-Merida. Yikes.
Things went even worse for old diesel Cadel Evans and his BMC squad. The plan was for young Taylor Phinney to drive the group but the team never seemed to get on track. Evans
is a tenacious fighter but at 36 and still trying to build form, we don’t see him as a factor in this Giro — or the Tour de France, for that matter.
Phinney’s tweet wasn’t about a big win and spraying the prosecco. “Not our best TTT today. Pretty disappointed, but it’s just a bike race! So happens tmrw there’s another one. And 18 more after that ;)”
Meanwhile Vincenzo Nibali, who’s made the Giro d’Italia the major goal of his season, can take confidence in his team’s ride against the clock. “We can be pretty happy all round, considering the squad is mainly made up of climbers,” said Nibali. “The course was extremely hard, and we fought this as a unit, I’m still feeling very positive about all of this.”
Lost and found. Nibali, Hesjedal and Evans will have to find what they lost in Ischia somewhere in the mountains of Italy. Sir Brad has time in hand.