Today Was the start of the 2015 Giro d’Italia. It was anything but normal as the racers faced a short and intense Team Time Trial held on a narrow bike path along the ocean. This was my first grand tour stage, as well as my first Team Time Trial so there was a lot for me to take in. First off, it really is incredible how the entire country of Italy gets behind there race. Everything becomes pink! Pink balloons everywhere, pink cars, pink buildings, pink cars, pink flowers, pink signs, etc. The race course essentially painted the beautiful city of San Remo pink. The fans here in Italy seem different from other countries I have visited. They are extremely passionate and know each and every cyclist that goes by. They also seem quite respectful of the athletes, allowing them space warming up, and getting to and from the race.
As for the race, a TTT (Team Time Trial) is a logistical nightmare for the staff and racers. It requires more preparation, more planning, more staff, more food, and of course more equipment than a normal time trial. Just take the day of Cannondale Garmin. The day started at 7am for the staff. Driving to the course, setting up all the trucks and buses at the start finish, organizing and preparing all nine bikes plus nine spare bikes plus nine bikes for the riders to warm up on. So that is 27 bikes for a 20 minute effort. Each team essentially sets up a car show and a bike shop for this event. When the riders arrive its non-stop until the race is over. Riding the course, practicing the rotation order, and then warming up for the event. It was mind boggling to see how much each team puts into the race.
I walked down the course to get a perspective different than I normally get at race starts and finishes and was able to see many of the teams go by. My favorite thing to look at in a TT is the riders face. The grimaces showed not only pain but intense concentration. Each and everyone had there eyes firmly fixed on what was ahead. It became apparent how the TTT is not just about power and going fast, but it’s about each team member being completely focused to prevent and recover from any mistakes that might or do happen.
Each team came by with a fleet of motorcycles and police ahead of them and they were followed by a TV motorbike and two team cars (as nine bikes TT bikes do not all fit on one). If you blink you might miss the riders going by. The video I posted doesn’t quite do it justice.
After the race its a mad dash to pack all the equipment up and bus the riders back to the hotel for recovery for the next stage. Cannondale-Garmin did the best they good being a team of primarily climbers and limited their losses quite well. It was no surprise to see Simon Gerrans in the pink jersey and Orica-green edge take the win, they have so many powerful riders and with no GC riders this was a big goal for them. The Australian team beat Alberto Contador’s Tinkoff-Saxo by seven seconds, the Spaniard being the best placed among the favorites after the first stage. He is ahead of the Italian hope Fabio Aru by 6 seconds and 12 seconds ahead of last year’s second place finisher Rigoberto Uran. Richie Porte and his teammates ended up 27 seconds behind the winners and 20 behind his biggest GC rival. However, there are still a lot mountains to climb and I have a feeling we will have a very different result in Milan.
I decided not to do an in-depth race recap of every stage because I will not being attending all of them. I hope to bring you some cool behind the scenes stuff that most people don’t get to see. Interviews with the staff, an insider look into the feed zone and the team cars. Let me know if there’s anything else you want to see specifically in the comments! Thank you for reading and I cannot wait to see what Italy and the Giro has for me to see tomorrow in Stage 2.