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Giro judgement: Opening salvos

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Tour de France Podium Cafe

Aaaaannnnnd we're off!  The first and probably the best GT of the year started with a purty team timetrial in Turin. Join us for a look at who had a buon giorno and who did not.

I Vincitori

Veterans So far this Giro is more about old farts in goofy hats with feathers than anything else. After one day of racing and a team-presentation that was the biggest anti-climax since the last time AS Roma played a game, the most visible dudes at this years Giro are the veterans of the elite Italian Alpini-forces. They've been dominating the coverage and having a blast on the streets of Turin. So has another seasoned veteran, super-pro and all-round good guy, Marco Pinotti who today earned the honor of wearing the first Maglia Rosa of 2011 as he led his HTC team to victory . Who better to represent Italy in days when cycling news are filled with less honorable representatives of Italian cycling? Grande Marco!

More after the flip:

Belgian beer: It has been a long standing tradition to mock Omega Pharma - Lotto on team timetrial-days. While on the team, Cadel Evans saw his GC hopes vanish in poorly formed pacelines and a flurry of Buster Keaton-esque mishaps in the past. So imagine every ones surprise when the belgians pull of the TTT performance of a lifetime to hold off some of the best teams for a final fourth place, and they did it with a lineup that probably didn't scare anyone before today's race. After careful scientific analysis of all contributing factors it is hard to find the key to this super-result except the one suggested by tgsgirl in the livethread: "Just power of the beer,man"

Le-tour-sm_medium

I Perdenti

Spanish hopefuls: It looks like the plan that cannot fail: send your spanish climbing sensation to the toughest climbing race in recent history and cash in on the inevitable GC-success that is sure to follow. Of course it helps if you don't start off the race by snoozing your way through the short TTT that starts off the race. Both Euskaltel and Katusha turned in some sad, lackluster performances today to give their guys, Igor Anton & Joaquin Rodriguez the worst possible start . Sure a minute here or there might not mean much when you look at the stages in the last week of this race but when you're up against a guy like Alberto Contador*, giving up any advantage is a mistake.

(* = results may or may not count in the end)

Garmin-Cervélo.  So, that was disappointing....... We all expected a good grudge-match between Garmin and HTC but the former forgot to bring their a-game. Perhaps the argyles lost their chances already when they pulled TT-phenom Jack Bobridge from the Giro-team? Anywho, they were nowhere near their normal level. Not having sent Christian Vande Velde, who is always a GC-threat in the first two or three stages of the Giro, the TTT looked like the obvious target for Garmin but after this letdown who knows what the plan is? Sprintstages from Farrar? Well, fair enough but a sprinters Giro this is not, and also there is that British fella from England (yeah yeah, Isle of Man or whatever) here and that usually doesn't help. So I suppose it's stagehunting along with with the Italian ProContis next for the Armies of Evil?