Tirreno-Adriatico TTT to Omega Pharma-QuickStep

Mark Cavendish is the first leader of the Tirreno-Adriatico after his Omega Pharma-QuickStep team won the opening team time-trial over 16.9km from San Vincenzo to Donoratico.

The former world road race champion led his team-mates Tony Martin, Niki Terpstra, Zdenek Stybar, and Michal Kwiatkowski over the finish line in 19min 24sec, 11sec ahead of Movistar with the BMC team of former Tour de France winner Cadel Evans coming home third at 16sec.

Cavendish paid tribute to current world time trial champion and team-mate Tony Martin.

"One name is a huge reason why we did so well today, Tony Martin," said Cavendish. "He did the majority of the work, but the guys today, all of them, were just incredible.

"As for the planning, we did a lot of it but we didn't put too much pressure on it. It was actually quite relaxing. Everyone knew what they had to do. We finished with five but everyone had a part to play. Maybe that's what makes us so good, because no one has a real ego except maybe me (laughs).

"For everybody, it's about getting eight guys from point A to point B as fast as possible. I'm super proud to be a part of it. For me, when there's a team time trial win, it's one of the nicest things in cycling. The whole team gets to celebrate. That's what makes this event special."

As well as Evans of Australia, Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Andy Schleck (RadioShack-Leopard Trek) are also in the field as well as last year's Paris-Nice winner, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Team Sky's Chris Froome.

Nibali and the Astana team finished fifth, 20sec back with Tour de France runner-up Froome, in the Sky line-up that finished seventh at 25sec.

Contador's Saxo-Tinkoff team finished next 29sec behind with Schleck's RadioShack-Leopard Trek in 10th, 36sec off the pace.

Evans said he was satisfied with BMC's performance as he aims to duplicate his 2011 Tirreno-Adriatico victory.

"We lost a few riders midway through, but I think it was more of a bit of a discrepancy of strength," said Evans. "When you have a couple of time trial specialists in a team, it is stronger. But it means for the four guys who have to follow behind, it's not always easy.

"But it's always good to have a few seconds on whom I consider to be the main GC (general classification) contenders like Vincenzo Nibali (Cannondale), Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Chris Froome (Sky)."

Sixth place Orica-GreenEDGE, a winner on the same stage in 2012, was disappointed with their showing in the wet weather. The team lost Mitch Docker then Brett Lancaster to finish the stage undermanned.

"I would have to avoid the truth entirely if I said we are anything but disappointed to finish sixth in the team time trial," said team sporting director Neil Stephens.

"After pulling off the win here last year, we were highly motivated to do the same this year. We flew into Italy four days early to do specific preparation for the effort, and our training sessions indicated we were at least as good as last year if not better.

"Of course, we didn’t know how we compared to our opponents, but I was quietly confident that we would do well."

Belgian commentary

Stage 1: 16.9km TTT, San Vincenzo to Donoratico
1 Omega Pharma-QuickStep 0:19:24min     
2 Movistar 0:00:11     
3 BMC 0:00:16     
4 Cannondale 0:00:19     
5 Astana 0:00:20     
6 Orica-GreenEDGE 0:00:24     
7 Sky 0:00:25     
8 Saxo-Tinkoff 0:00:29     
9 Lampre-Merida 0:00:35     
10 RadioShack Leopard Trek 0:00:36     
11 Blanco 0:00:37     
12 NetApp-Endura 0:00:39     
13 Katusha 0:00:44     
14 Argos-Shimano 0:00:51     
15 Lotto-Belisol 0:00:54     
16 Garmin-Sharp 0:00:57     
17 MTN-Qhubeka 0:01:00     
18 FDJ 0:01:02     
19 Vacansoleil-DCM 0:01:04     
20 AG2R 0:01:05     
21 Vini Fantini-Selle Italia 0:01:06     
22 Euskaltel-Euskadi     

General classification
1 Mark Cavendish (GBR) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 0:19.24min     
2 Tony Martin (GER) Omega Pharma-QuickStep           
3 Michal Kwiatkowski (POL) Omega Pharma-QuickStep           
4 Zdenek Stybar (CZE) Omega Pharma-QuickStep           
5 Niki Terpstra (NED) Omega Pharma-QuickStep           
6 Giovanni Visconti (ITA) Movistar 0:00:11     
7 Benat Intxausti (ESP) Movistar           
8 Andrey Amador (CRC) Movistar           
9 Jonathan Castroviejo (ESP) Movistar           
10 Eros Capecchi (ITA) Movistar           

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