With the 2012 Giro d’Italia back on home soil after the 1st rest day/long transfer it was time for the teams to show their strength in numbers with the 33.2km Team Time Trial. Early leaders Lampre -ISD got their team leaders Scarponi & Cunego over the line within the first 5 finishers thus limiting their losses for later stages.
When the ‘super teams’ eventually rolled out down the ramp in Verona it was pretty much a sequential new fastest time with each team that crossed the line - Katusha & Astana notably holding strong against the might of Team Sky (nursing an injured Mark Cavendish to the line) and BMC (with injured Maglia Rosa holder Taylor Phinney also slowing down proceedings) not quite on form given their problems. BMC at one point badly misjudged a corner and sent several of their riders, including Phinney, carving their TT bikes through a grassy field – all remarkably staying upright & continuing down the road. One of the last teams on the road was Garmin Barracuda who went into the stage as favourites & didn’t disappoint, though perhaps without the perfect result they were looking for. Alex Rasmussen seemed to be suffering early on and was dropped – handing the GC victory to team mate Ramūnas Navardauskas – who becomes the first Lithuanian to lead the Giro d’Italia.
Modena – Fano
Flat & fast
Stage 5 sees the Giro travel from Modena, home of Ferrari down to Fano on the east coast, the stage is very, very flat and almost die straight so expect to see an extremely fast ride (wind permitting!) it will almost certainly decided by a sprint finish & our first chance to see if Cavendish can put his injuries to one side & take another win. It wont be easy though and will be a case of whoever’s team has managed to grind down the competition & destroy the sprint trains – I’d imagine Orica GreenEdge are perfectly placed to deliver Matt Goss to a second victory in order to increase his points jersey lead.