The 16th Woman's Tour of Italy started with 2001 and 2003 champion, and one of the main suspects to take the 2005 title too, Nicole Braendli immediately showing her mettle and determination. The Team Bigla undisputed leader covered the 1.7-km. route of friday night's first ride against the clock - with both the start and finish at San Vendemmiano near Treviso - in a time of two minutes, six seconds asnd thirty-ninth hundredths, averaging a speed of 48.571 kph, and doing better than runner-up Chantal Beltman by close to a second - quite an accomplishment over such a short distance.
Lithuania's Edita Pucinskaite took the remaining podium position, wheareas Swetlana Boubnenkova, the Russian girl who prevented Braendli from taking the win at the recent Tour of Trentino by the very slimmest of margins, couldn't get higher than sixth this time, finishing almost three seconds behind the winner. Two English-speaking contenders managed a top 10 result: Australian Kathy Bates was 8th, while American Amber Neben took 10th. Luisa Tamanini (Team Bianchi-Aliverti) ended up 14th as top finisher from the host country, her time being 02'10"20.
ITT Prologue (San Vendemmiano, 1.7 km.): Top 10 Places:
1. Nicole Brandli (Swi - Team Bigla) - 02'06"39 (48.571 kph)
2. Chantal Beltman (Hol - Team Vrienden) - 02'07"29
3. Edita Pucinskaite (Lit - Nobili Rubinetterie-Guerciotti-Menikini) - 02'08"09
4. Mjriam Melchers (Hol - Buitenpoort) - 02'08"50
5. Zoulfia Zabirova (Rus - Team Bigla) - 02'08"55
6. Swetlana Boubnenkova (Rus - Fenix) - 02'09"06
7. Olga Slioussareva (Rus - Nobili Rub.-Guerciotti-Menikini) - 02'09"41
8. Katherine Bates (Aus - Australian National Team) - 02'09"42”
9. Zinaida Stahurskaia (Blr - Bianchi-Aliverti) - 02'09"63
10. Amber Neben (USA - Buitenpoort) - 02'09"69