Despite not being one of the contenders in this Italian race, Ivan Basso may well be satisfied with the outcome of Tuesday afternoon's Coppi & Bartali Week half-stage, as it showed that, less than two months from the start of his first big target of the season (the Giro, of course), the man from Varese can rely on a great and on-form bunch of teammates.
Indeed the Team CSC boys demolished opposition in the 12-km. team challenge against the clock around Misano Adriatico. David Zabriskie, Volodymyr Gustov, Nicki Sorensen, Michael Blaudzun, Peter Luttenberger, Jakob Piil, Kasper Klostergaard and the Italian veteran Giovanni Lombardi covered the route in a winning time of less than 12 minutes and 50 seconds, averaging an impressive speed of more than 56 kph and beating their magenta arch-rivals of T-Mobile (Ullrich-less, as the man didn't take the start of the race in the morning, but with three-time, and reigning, World Champion Michael Rogers as wel as former Rainbow Jersey holder Serhiy Honchar in the roster) by about five seconds, with the other German challenger Gerolsteiner (lining up Germany's ITT champion Michael Rich) taking the remaining podium spot.
The Team CSC Winning Machine.
Photo Courtesy PhotoreporTer Sirotti. All Rights Reserved.
The Lampres were Italy's best perfomers - even if first half-stage winner Napolitano fell a couple km. from the line, but didn't suffer any major consequences -, while Liquigas (fielding, among others, Britain's Charlie Wegelius as well as Franco Pellizotti, overall winner of the 2005 edition) finished sixth. Navigators didn't place higher than 19th instead.
Speaking of overall standings, well, it's no surprise that, after his "race of the truth" showdown, Utah's own David Zabriskie (Team CSC) replaced Graziano Gasparre at the top of the GC. With four more CSC warriors creditd with the same time. More good news for Riis and Basso even though, according to rumours, Zabriskie is likely to skip the "Corsa Rosa" in May, whereas - according to the same rumours, his fellow countrymen Julich and Christian Vandevelde should be part of the Team CSC Tour of Italy crew, possibly along with Giovanni Lombardi, Jens Voigt, Iñigo Cuesta, Nicky Sorensen, Michael Blauduzun. A crew that, according to Lombardi's own words, is hungry to repeat today's winning performance on the Giro d'Italia roads. But before that, they'll have to defend Zabriskie's leadership in this race, that is set to resume tomorrow with a 200-km. journey from Cervia to Faenza, with the tricky Monte Trebbio coming at 20 km. from the finishing line.
Stage 1B (Misano Adriatico - Team TT, 11.8 km): Results
1. Team CSC - 12'49"61 (55.242 kph)
2. T-Mobile Team - 12'54"72
3. Gerolsteiner - 12'57"19
4. Lampre-Fondital - 13'00"97
5. Davitamon-Lotto - 13'01"51
6. Liquigas - 13'02"62
7. Team Milram - 13'04"71
8. Phonak Hearing Systems - 13'11"18
9. Ceramica Panaria-Navigare - 13'13"49
10. Saunier Duval-Prodir - 13'15"35
11. Quick Step-Innergetic - 13'21"94
12. Acqua & Sapone - 13'23"54
13. Miche - 13'24"37
14. Naturino-Sapore di Mare - 13'26"27
15. Team Androni Giocattoli 3C-Casalino - 13'27"95
16. Team Barloworld - 13'28"27
17. Ceramica Flaminia - 13'29"25
18. Team Universal Caffè-C.B. Immobiliare - 13'30"28
19. Navigators Insurance Cycling Team - 13'30"65
20. AG2R Prevoyance - 13'31"65
21. Team LPR - 13'34"27
22. Selle Italia-Serramenti Diquigiovanni - 13'34"64
23. Amore & Vita-McDonald's - 13'37"25
24. OTC Doors-Lauretana - 13'42"44
Settimana Internazionale Coppi & Bartali - Top 10 after Stage 1B:
1. David Zabriskie (USA - Team CSC) - 02h26'16"
2. Micheal Blaudzun (Den - Team CSC) - s.t.
3. Nicky Sorensen (Den - Team CSC) - s.t.
4. Volodymyr Gustov (Ukr - Team CSC) - s.t.
5. Peter Luttenberger (Aut - Team CSC) - s.t.
6. Olaf Pollack (Ger - T-Mobile) - at 05"
7. Oscar Sevilla (Spa - T-Mobile) - at 05"
8. Michael Rogers (Aus - T-Mobile) - at 05"
9. Serhiy Honchar (Ukr - T-Mobile) - at 05"
10. Scott Davis (Aus - T-Mobile) - at 05"
Settimana Coppi & Bartali - Stage 1A