The 2012 Giro d'Italia opened Saturday with a time trial in the city of Herning, Denmark. Taylor Phinney, an American representing Santa Rosa's BMC Cycling, took the 8.7km (5.4mi) stage in ten minutes twenty six seconds. A bit longer than a standard prologue, the stage gives Phinney the event's first maglia rosa, the pink jersey given to the race's overall leader.
Phinney is a strong time trial rider, winning the 2010 National and World Time Trial Championship in the Under 23 division. This is Phinney's first even grand tour, and opening his career in the big leagues with a victory sends the message that he expects to be taken seriously.
Race favorites Ivan Basso and Michele Scarponi both had conservative days, with Basso finishing :39 seconds back and Scarponi at 1:06 off the lead. The early portion of the race favors the sprinters, so look for the overall contenders to try to stay safe and save themselves for the big showdowns in the later mountain stages. The complete standings can be seen here.
Stage 2 opens in the same city as stage one before running up the western coast of Denmark and looping back into Herning. The 206km (128mi) stage could see some of the strong North Sea winds that caused so much chaos in the 2010 race, so expect to see teams with GC contenders and strong sprinters fight for position at the front of the pack. Hanging back too far risks being separated from the leaders in a crash, or worse being dragged into the crash itself. With a long, flat finish, there should be plenty of action just before the line.
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