Tirreno-Adriatico: Stage 1 TTT

Mitchelton-SCOTT powered their way to victory in the opening team time trial at Tirreno-Adriatico, Michael Hepburn leads overall, Adam Yates 4th on GC

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Tirreno-Adriatico: Stage 1 TTT

Mitchelton-SCOTT powered their way to victory in the opening team time trial at Tirreno-Adriatico, taking the stage by an impressive seven seconds in Lido di Camaiore. Despite being the last team off the start ramp, the seven-man squad didn’t let the pressure get to them, setting the second fastest time at the intermediate split before upping the pace and taking the win.

Pic: Getty Images

Australian Michael Hepburn was the first rider to cross the line and will line-up on the start in Camaiore for stage two in the leader’s jersey. The opening stage got underway in rainy conditions, making the relatively straightforward 21.5km course more technical, with a slippery road surface to contend for the teams setting off early. As the last team off the start ramp, Mitchelton-SCOTT had to deal with mixed conditions with the sun having dried some sections of the course, while others remained wet.

It was a strong start with Australian time trial champion Luke Durbridge putting in some big turns on the front as the squad passed the time check just two seconds down on the fastest time set by Team Jumbo-Visma. There were some nervous faces in the hot seat as it became obvious that Mitchelton-SCOTT were on a fast one with five riders still taking their turns on the front.

Disaster almost struck heading onto the finish straight when a member of the public strayed onto the course and the team had to take avoiding action, narrowly missing the woman and her dog. With a short run to the line the squad regrouped and powered over the line to take the day by seven seconds and start the week of racing in perfect fashion.
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Michael Hepburn: “Team trials are very technical these days and it’s something our team enjoys doing, especially myself. Tirreno is one of my favourite races of the year, I always seem to be in good condition here, but to be completely honest, I don’t deserve the jersey more than anyone else in the squad, that was just the order we were coming into the home straight.”

“It was a good little advantage for us being last off, knowing the times and also with the weather, the road dried up a little bit. We’ve been here before and gone off early and the wind changes, but finally this year we had a bit of luck on our side. We were quietly confident in our team, we have a lot of big boys, a lot of powerful time trialists and today was one of our chances to get some time and we did that.”

Adam Yates: “Super start! We’ve been trying to win a TTT for a long time, I think I’ve been here four or five years now and every time we try, every year we bring a super strong team and we’ve been close and now we’ve finally got it! Tonight we’ll look at the standings and work out where we are, it’s going to be tough, there’s no big, super hard mountain stages this year, but we’ll see and just take it stage by stage.”

Geraint Thomas (Sky): “It’s not ideal. We’re quite far behind, but there’s still a lot of racing to go. We’ll see what we can do over the coming days. We know we can attack – there’s proper racing to be had on this terrain over the coming days, there’ll be a lot of attacks from everyone, I’m sure. We can be aggressive and we’ll be giving our all, that’s for sure.”

Bad Luck for BORA-hansgrohe
Mitchelton Scott were not the only ones to have a close encounter with a member of the public. It was an unlucky opening stage for BORA-hansgrohe, with two riders crashing as a man walked straight in front of them leaving two riders on the ground. As one of the first teams on the road, the BORA-hansgrohe riders had barely started their ride when, 3.5km into the stage, a pedestrian walked out in front of the squad, taking out Rafał Majka and Oscar Gatto.

While the remaining five worked together well to reach the finish, the team slipped down the rankings as the day went on. Finishing the day in a time of 24:22 and in 20th position, the team vowed to keep their spirits high and work hard to create opportunities later in the race.

Maciej Bodnar: “It’s a pity we started the Tirreno-Adriatico with such an unlucky incident. I felt well and I think we were doing a good time-trial but the crash so early in the stage was not a good thing at all. We lost our momentum and we had only five riders left for most of the stage, so it was difficult to be competitive. I wish Rafał and Oscar a speedy recovery” –

Enrico Poitschke, Sports Director “The good news is that Rafał Majka is set to continue the race. He doesn’t look good after the crash but he will be there.” Oscar Gatto meanwhile, has quite a lot of bruises says the team doctor.

Jos van Emden (Jumbo-Visma): “It would have been nice if we had won. Losing seven seconds and becoming second is a pity”, said Jos van Emden, who won the team time trial in the UAE Tour with Team Jumbo-Visma last month. “Especially if you are fastest for a long time and only the last team proves to be faster. The tension was intense. We rode a very good team time trial nevertheless. We were very quick and we were positive about the possibility to win. Unfortunately, one team was faster. It also indicates that we are doing well this year and that we have made considerable progress in this discipline. We are now gaining the benefits. For now, it is a pity, but we need to flip a switch and get back into focus, because we have come here to ride a good classification with Roglic. We have won time on most competitors. So in that respect it was a great day.”

Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) spoke afterwards: “Third is good, not perfect, but it’s a good start and we’re satisfied. There are a few key GC guys close ahead and behind us, so we’ll see how it goes in regards to the overall. I’m here to try and win, so we’ll see how the race develops. Technically we did a good TTT today – we made a few small mistakes where we lost a few seconds here and there, but it was a good team effort.”
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Tirreno-Adriatico stage one results:
1 Mitchelton-Scott
2 Team Jumbo-Visma @ 7 secs
3 Team Sunweb @ 22 secs
4 Deceuninck – Quick Step @ 37 secs
5 Team Sky @ 47 secs
6 Lotto Soudal @54 secs
7 EF Education First @ 56 secs
8 Groupama – FDJ @ 58 secs
9 Israel Cycling Academy @ 1.05 secs
10 Bahrain Merida @ 1.10 secs
11 CCC Team @1.12 secs
12 Trek – Segafredo @ 1.13 secs
13 Astana Pro Team @ st
14 UAE-Team Emirates @1.19 secs
15 Movistar Team @1.32 secs
16 Team Dimension Data @1.34 secs
17 Team Katusha – Alpecin 1.38 secs
18 Gazprom-RusVelo @1.40 secs
19 Cofidis 1.54 secs
20 BORA – hansgrohe @1.57 secs
21 AG2R La Mondiale @ 2.01 secs
22 Neri Sottoli – Selle Italia @2.10 secs
23 Bardiani – CSF @2.41 secs


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