MARINA DI CARRARA, Italy (VN) — Lars Boom and Rabobank continued their strong early season run with a tight win in the opening team time trial at Tirreno-Adriatico Wednesday. Boom crossed the line first to earn the blue leaders jersey, while the team’s GC man Robert Gesink pulled on the white best young riders jersey.
“Great. It’s a great achievement for a team like this. It’s not about the few guys who can do the really good pull, but it’s about the total. It’s the first time I win a team time trial,” Gesink said. “It’s really special to be a part of it.”
Garmin-Cervélo finished in 18:17, nine seconds in arrears and HTC-Highroad clocked in a further second back.
We are very happy with our performance,” Garmin director Jonathan Vaughters said. “The team started with a bit of hesitation; it’s a new team and the first time a lot of these guys have raced together in a TTT, so that’s natural. The course was very straight forward with few corners and once the guys go into a rhythm, from the halfway point to the finish we were the fastest team. We’re happy with that. The team is very motivated and we¹re looking forward to a great week of racing.”
Despite their specialist Erik Gustav Larsson falling ill, Saxo Bank-Sunguard was able to salvage fourth, two seconds behind Garmin.
“I’m really proud of the effort the riders did today,” said Saxo Bank’s Bjarne Riis. “It was a very impressive result considering the fact that Gustav Larsson was feeling sick and wasn’t able to pull as much he usually does and we were up against our strongest opponents and specialists. We came very close to second place and I truly believe that we could have won if Gustav was feeling well.”
Boom, who earlier this year won the prologue at the Tour of Qatar, was not the pre-ordained top finisher in the team. “We were not speaking about who would be first over the line,” he said. “(Sebastian) Langeveld went right, (Oscar) Friere left and I was there.”
While he enjoyed the win, Boom said the job of the day was to place Gesink atop the GC contenders. “The purpose today in Tirreno-Adriatico is for Gesink on general classification,” he said. “Also the team is preparing everything very detailed and it’s nice to give back with a victory now as a team.”
Gesink came to Italy for two reasons: to chase the final GC in Tirreno and prepare for the short, punchy climbs of the Ardennes classics. While he admitted that the climbs here don’t suit him, the Dutchman hoped to replace Boom when the road tilts up later this week.
“We’ll see the next few days. It will be a few really difficult stages. I think I’ve never done that many long stages in one tour,” said Gesink. “We have a really strong team. This is already something that we couldn’t even hope to win this time trial and it’s really good.”
Boom hoped to visit the podium again after the final-stage time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto. “I still hope for a good time trial in the end; then my Tirreno-Adriatico is okay,” he said.
2011 Tirreno-Adriatico, Stage 1
- 1. Rabobank, 16.8km in 18:08
- 2. Garmin-Cervelo, at 0:09
- 3. Htc-Highroad, at 0:10
- 4. Saxo Bank-Sungard, at 0:11
- 5. Liquigas-Cannondale, at 0:22
2011 Tirreno-Adriatico, Stage 1: Rabobank celebrates a big win. | Brad Kaminski photo
2011 Tirreno-Adriatico, Stage 1: Gesink is now the best young rider, but Rabobank is staking its GC hopes on the climber. | Brad Kaminski photo
2011 Tirreno-Adriatico, Stage 1: A former cyclocross world champion, Lars Boom is making a big impression on the road. | Brad Kaminski photo