Second Place for ORICA-GreenEDGE in Tirreno-Adriatico Team Time TrialWed 12 Mar 2014
When they crossed the line of the Tirreno-Adriatico opening stage team time trial, ORICA-GreenEDGE had parlayed the fastest time in the intermediate check-point into the quickest time at the finish. Daryl Impey led seven riders across the finish line as the Australian outfit stopped the clock at 20’24 over 18.5 kilometres. The time would stand until the penultimate ride by Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, who managed to cover the technical course 11” quicker. With a time of 20’13, the Belgian squad put Mark Cavendish into the first race leader’s jersey of the Italian stage race.
“Our great battle with Quick-Step continues,” said Sport Director Matt White. “We’re up against the best team in the world in the team time trial, and they got the better of us today in Tirreno.”
“The boys rode very well,” White added. “We posted a good time compared to 20 other teams. We’re happy with how they executed. They really couldn’t have gone much better. We would have liked to have won; that was the goal. But second is nothing to frown about, that’s for sure.”
The Tirreno team time trial event is one of only a handful of opportunities for teams to practice the discipline in race conditions throughout the season. ORICA-GreenEDGE sent its time trial specialists, including two reigning time trial national champions in Impey (South Africa) and Michael Hepburn (Australia), as well as three former time trial champions Luke Durbridge (Australia), Cam Meyer (Australia) and Svein Tuft (Canada), to hone their skills in preparation for the team’s bid for gold in the team time trial at the World Championships in September.
“We were expecting a good ride from the team,” said White. “They delivered. Technically, they executed flawlessly. Seven of the guys finished together. Jens Mouris did one last big turn in the final kilometre before dropping off the pace.”
“The course is quite technical,” White added. “We had one small scare when Durbo hit a part of the road that had uplifted his bike because of a root. His back wheel picked up, and it was quite a close call in terms of keeping it upright. Luckily, Durbo is a very good bike handler and got through that unscathed. Really nothing went wrong other than that.”
Earlier in the week, White had identified three key objectives for the team over the eight day race. In addition to targeting the team time trial and using the race to prepare for the spring classics, the team harbours ambitions of supporting Ivan Santaromita to a strong overall result. White is encouraged by the time advantage the Italian National Champion will carry into the week.
“Ivan did well to hang on in a group that included five time trial specialists,” said White. “He did well today and certainly put himself into a good position for a high result on the general classification. We gave him between 15” and 45” on a lot of the other GC guys, which is a very good start.”
Racing continues tomorrow with a flat stage that will suit the fast finishers. Without a sprinter amongst their line-up, ORICA-GreenEDGE will prioritize staying safe in the bunch over chasing a result on the line.