Giro d'Italia: Dan Martin crashes out as Orica-GreenEdge win stage one team time trial
By Matt Westby in Belfast
Last Updated: 09/05/14 11:35pm
Ireland's Dan Martin crashed out of the Giro d'Italia on the opening day as Orica-GreenEdge won stage one's team time trial in Belfast to put Svein Tuft into the leader’s pink jersey.
Martin, who had been targeting a place on the overall podium, lost control of his front wheel on a wet but straight and seemingly innocuous part of the 21.7km course, and subsequently brought down three Garmin-Sharp team-mates behind him.
While the other three were able to remount and finish, Martin immediately clutched his shoulder and was left sitting on the ground for several minutes receiving treatment. He did not finish the stage and it was later confirmed that he had broken his collarbone.
There was no such agony for Canadian rider Tuft, who celebrated his 37th birthday by crossing the line first as Orica-GreenEdge defied rainy conditions to complete the route in an unbeaten time of 24min 42sec.
Their mark was five seconds faster than runners-up Omega Pharma – Quick-Step and seven seconds quicker than third-placed BMC.
Tuft said afterwards: "It's an amazing day. It started with a lot of stress, but this is a crazy way to celebrate your birthday. It is once in a lifetime for a guy like me. They [his team-mates] gave me the gift [of crossing the line first] as a birthday present. I just feel really fortunate."
The day turned out to be a significant one in the general classification, as big gaps emerged between the pre-race favourites for overall victory.
While Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) and Cadel Evans (BMC) both fared well and were separated by only two seconds, Nairo Quintana (Movistar) lost 50 seconds on Uran and, more significantly, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) lost a huge 1min 28sec.
The teams were roared on through Belfast by large and vocal crowds in spite of the at-times heavy rain, and Tuft admitted the support had helped Orica-GreenEdge.
He added: “That was truly impressive. I never expected to see that type of a crowd. The entire course was lined four or five deep, people wearing pink and screaming. Any time you have crowds on a climb and you can feel that energy. It’s a really special thing and pushes you on to the next level.”
However, Tuft said that the weather and road conditions had made the course dangerous and was not surprised to see Martin's Garmin-Sharp team crash.
“The real trick to the course today was the wind was never coming from one area,” he explained. “It was always blustery and so it made for quite a difficult time as a nine-man group on narrow corners. It makes for quite a dangerous course. You can never overlap wheels. As we saw with Garmin, you have one mistake and you really pay.”
Stage one result
1 Orica-GreenEdge, 24:42
2 Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, +5secs
3 BMC, +7
4 Tinkoff-Saxo, +23
5 Team Sky, +35
6 Astana, +38
7 Cannondale, +53
8 Movistar, +55
9 Giant-Shimano, +56
10 Ag2r-La Mondiale, +58
1 Svein Tuft (Can) Orica-GreenEdge, 24:42
2 Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge, same time
3 Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge, st
4 Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge, st
5 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge, st
6 Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Orica-GreenEdge, st
7 Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, +2secs
8 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, st
9 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, st
10 Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, st