Giro d’Italia Prologue: Another Jersey For McGee
The first three week stage race of the year kicks off to day with a 6.9 kilometer prologue time trial, a technical course of many corners and even a little up-hill, around some of the most beautiful streets in Genoa (see: PEZ Rides Prologue!). The battle starts here!
The first man of 169 was off at 15:42 from the Piazza della Vittoria, the favorite seems to be Brad McGee of FdeJeux.com, early leader was Olaf Pollack (Gerolsteiner) at over 46 kph in a time of 8 minutes 40 seconds, but all the stars were still to show their form to the large crowds forming at the sides of the wide boulevards, the narrow un-barriered climb section gave the Tiffosi their chance to get close to their heroes in their usual flag waving shouting mad way.
Winner of Paris-Roubaix Magnus Backstedt (Alessio-Bianchi) looked fast, but is a bit big to get round the tight bends, the course looked more suited to a smaller, agile rider, old-man Pavel Tonkov (Vini Caldirola) was away from the start ramp fast, although I would expect him to be working hard for his leader Stefano Garzelli later in the Giro than doing so much for himself these days. At this stage of the proceedings the yachts and big boats in the harbor were more interesting to most spectators and the TV cameramen.
Now a bit of excitement, Mario Cipollini in a full long-sleeve, long-legs one-piece white and gold suit (more fines for the UCI), bit gay if you ask me! Don’t know what his sponsor must think as you couldn’t see their name on the suit of gold. The “Lion King” looked slow, but wasn’t, the other sprint king, Alessandro Petacchi looked much faster, but was 3 seconds slower and both were out of the reckoning.
The favorite, Brad McGee was throwing himself into all the corners and sprinting out of them like the track-star that he is, to take the lead with a time of 8 minutes 30 seconds The stars for the final overall, Popovych, Garzelli and Simoni had started by this time, all were going well but unlikely to get near the flying Aussie McGee, the best of them was Popovych in 8 minutes 50 seconds and last years winner Simoni in 9:05, Garzelli no where.
Rider Comments – compiled by Michele Tomasi
Gilberto Simoni (Saeco): “I didn’t expect this time, but my legs were turning well. I couldn’t do more. Good time for Popovych – a nice surprise. We will have to watch him. About Garzelli, it doesn’t matter if his time is bad. He is still my favourite for this Giro”.
Stefano Garzelli (Vini Caldirola): “It didn’t go as I expected, anyway the race is just started. Let’s hope to be there in the mountains”.
Prologue Results And Overall:
1st. B.McGee (FDJ) in 8:30
2nd. O.Pollack (GER) at 10 secs.
3rd. Y.Popovych (LAN) at 20 secs.
4th. G.Trampusch (AQU) at 24 secs.
5th. D.Rebellin (GER) at 27 secs.
6th. M.Bruseghin (FAS) at 30 secs.
7th. M.Velo (FAS) at 32 secs.
8th. M.Backstedt (ALE) at 32 secs.
9th. D.Cioni (FAS) at 33 secs.
10th. J.C.Dominguez (SAU) at 34 secs.