Two riders came out on top of the team time trial sweepstakes at the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday: Ryder Hesjedal and Joaquim Rodríguez.
Both men rode the coattails of their respective squad’s dominating performance in the team race against the clock, with Garmin-Barracuda living up to its favorite status with victory while Katusha surprised just about everyone, including its team boss, Hans Michael Holczer.
“We’re not expecting much today,” Holczer said at a Canyon TT bike launch in the morning. “If we are in 15th, don’t blame the bike! We are only shooting for the top 15. We did not bring a strong time trial team.”
Katusha did a lot better than that and nearly rode away with victory, posting an early fast time that withstood all challengers except Garmin, who shaved five seconds off the Russian squad’s time for the win.
Powered by Mikhail Ignatyev and Gatis Smukulis, the respective national time trial champions in Russia and Latvia, the Russian-backed Katusha squad delivered a huge ride that will go a long way toward bolstering the GC hopes of Rodríguez.
“The team rode a spectacular time trial,” said a happy Rodríguez, who climbed into 10th overall, at 30 seconds back. “I am very content for the time we gained over the other favorites. This makes me even more motivated and is a big boost of morale.”
Thanks to the hot ride, Rodríguez took valuable time on his primary GC rivals, including 17 seconds over Roman Kreuziger at Astana; 21 seconds on Ivan Basso’s Liquigas-Cannondale team and 29 seconds on Michele Scarponi and Lampre-ISD.
Behind Rodríguez, the other GC favorites took stock after two time trials inside four days of racing.Pages: 1 2