2015 Giro d’Italia – Stage 1 Preview
For the second year in a row, the Corsa Rosa will kick off with a team time trial, which starts from the Ligurian coast, this being the 5th time in the Giro’s history when it will begin here, after 1980, 1987, 1992 and 2007. The race starts from San Lorenzo al Mare, ends in Sanremo and is 17,6 km-long. While the route – which has an intermediate point halfway throught he stage – isn’t technical, it poses a problem as it will be run mainly on narrow cycle paths, before finishing on the Lungomare Italo Calvino, where “La Primavera” used to end up until this year, when the arrival was moved back to Via Roma.
Last year, Orica-GreenEdge won the Giro d’Italia TTT in Belfast in commanding fashion and will look to repeat that feat and thus take the first pink jersey of the race. The team from Down Under has some very powerful engines, such as Luke Durbridge, Michael Hepburn and Brett Lancaster, and their presence should be enough for the victory in Sanremo. On paper, Sky and Tinkoff-Saxo will be fighting for second place, but also to give their leaders a chance to put some seconds into their opponents, which can act as a first psychological win.
Sky put on an impressive display in the Giro del Trentino and Tour de Romandie TTT, so it should have an upper hand, but Tinkoff-Saxo – while it isn’t a team known for its great time trial – always founds something extra in a Grand Tour, which helps the riders get a good result. Finally, two other squads that can dream of a podium are BMC (the world champion from Ponferrada) and Katusha, with the Russian outfit capable of putting its captain, Ilnur Zakarin, in a great position from the first day of the race, just as it did in April’s Romandie time trial. For other teams which are hoping for a good overall classification – Etixx-Quick Step, Movistar, Astana and AG2R – it will be all about protecting their GC cyclist and making sure they will not lose too many seconds on Saturday.
A Giro d’Italia stage hasn’t finished in Sanremo since 2001, when Pietro Caucchioli took the victory, ahead of Jose Azevedo and Jan Ullrich, while Italy’s Gilberto Simoni was 14th and kept his pink jersey, which he eventually took home.