What's Cool In Road Cycling

Giro06 St5: Discovery Channel’s Service Interrupted!

The guy that could have added more oomph to the Discovery squad’s team time trial effort was stewing behind them in the team car today. Lance Armstrong may have said he doesn’t miss the racing these days, but it’s a fair bet that he wanted to grab a spare bike off the roof and get rolling to help out.

Paolo Savoldelli’s confidence must have taken a dent today as the Discovery Channel was ruthlessly unplugged by CSC and T-Mobile. ‘Il Falco’ is still only a handshake behind Ivan Basso on GC, and better off than Di Luca, Simoni, Rujano and the rest, but it won’t be a comfortable feeling to have been so comprehensively steam-rollered.

Discovery was not the usual TTT juggernaut today, but Paolo Savoldelli didn’t lose much in the grand scheme of things – he’s only 9 seconds behind Basso on GC.

Bjarne Riis looked very happy with life as he took to the podium with the CSC squad to celebrate putting one over on his big TT rivals, after several years of trying. CSC produced a super-efficient performance, driven by Basso, Voigt and Julich to storm the shorter than advertised parcours into Cremona.

They blasted the course, fastest at all the checkpoints, and never looked like losing, although T-Mobile’s deceptive performance pushed them much closer than anyone expected.

T-Mobile rode impressively to narrowly miss taking the win. They’ll look to defend the lead now – and who know, Sergei Gonchar was once 2nd overall at the Giro.

It was a fabulous sunny day with the temperature cruising into the 80s. That coupled with flat, wide, level roads caused a few surprises, as some of the squads had big problems keeping their men together. In fact, T-Mobile should have snatched the win but their 5th timed rider, Matthias Kessler, got tailed off at the line costing them a couple of seconds – and without a doubt – the win. In last year’s Tour TTT, Discovery benefitted from Dave Zabriskie’s wreck to take the win by the narrowest of margins; today the tables turned for CSC and they finally took that hard-earned team time trial win.

CSC finally got that hard-earned TTT win today – even if it was by only the narrowest of margins.

The magenta boys will be very happy going back to the team hotel tonight, though. It’s time to try some colour co-ordination because Sergei Gonchar will be wearing pink tomorrow – I regularly have this discussion with my girlfriend about the maglia rosa; is pink OK for a guy? Whatever your personal take on the matter, T-Mobile will think that the Ukrainian gear masher looks damn fine in the pink jersey for the first time since 1998.

T-Mobile still haven’t won much this year, but leading the Giro will do nicely for now. The bonus is that Ullrich looked like he produced a ‘satisfactory’ ride, and ‘Dodger’ Rogers was right in the mix, too.

Gonchar is back in Pink for the first time in a long while – how long can he hold on to Rosa?

The top three squads weren’t a surprise, even if the order wasn’t what some people would have expected, but it was great to see Liquigas doing a ride to keep Di Luca in the frame.

Brad McGee’s Francaise des Jeux rode solidly, while the sprinters’ teams (Gerolsteiner, motivated by trying to keep the overall lead, Quick.Step, Davitamon-Lotto and Milram) all came home ahead of Rabobank, Saunier Duval, Cofidis and ………… Liberty-Seguros.

Gerolsteiner fought the good fight in Stage 5, but couldn’t match up with the heavy firepower of the super-teams – still, they rolled in 6th, only 1.03 back.

Manolo Saiz’s team had a bit of a shocker, coming in 17th. It’s not a disgrace to lose a minute and a half to CSC, but in a shade over 20 miles? The boss man ain’t gonna be too happy about that.

Another big loser was Gilberto Simoni, now almost two minutes behind Basso, after his Saunier Duval squad came home one place behind Liberty.

As it’s a flat stage tomorrow what’s the betting Jens Voigt will try a flyer to get the maglia rosa, and that McEwen’s Davitamon boys will pull him back so that Robbie can score a hat-trick of wins in week one?

Giro d’Italia Stage 5 Piacenza-Cremona TTT 35km
1 Team CSC 36’ 56”
2 T-Mobile + 1”
3 Discovery Channel + 39”
4 Liquigas + 42”
5 Francaise des Jeux + 1’ 00”
6 Gerolsteiner + 1’ 03”
7 Quick.Step same
8 Lampre + 1’ 04”
9 Phonak same
10 Credit Agricole + 1’ 07”
11 Davitamon-Lotto + 1’ 08”
12 Milram + 1’ 13”
13 Caisse d’Epargne + 1’ 14”
14 Rabobank + 1’ 17”
15 Ag2r + 1’ 22”
16 Bouyges Telecom + 1’ 23”
17 Liberty Seguros + 1’ 25”
18 Saunier Duval + 1’ 26”
19 Cofidis + 1’ 34”
20 Selle Italia + 1’ 37”
21 Ceramica Panaria + 1’ 41”
22 Euskaltel + 1’ 56”

Giro d’Italia Overall GC After Stage 5
1 Sergui Gonchar (Ukr) T-Mobile 15hrs 30’ 23”
2 Jens Voigt (Ger) CSC + 6”
3 Michael Rogers (Aus) T-Mobile same
4 Olaf Pollack (T-Mobile) + 10”
5 Ivan Basso (Ita) CSC + 11”
6 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel + 20”
7 Nicki Sorensen (Den) CSC + 29”
8 Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner + 31”
9 Bobby Julich (USA) CSC + 33”
10 Jose Luis Rubiera (Spa) Discovery Channel + 38”

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