Giro d'Italia favourites at risk in team time trial
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The stage four team time trial in the Giro d'Italia today is only 33 kilometres long and is dead-straight from Savigliano to Cuneo, but it is as dangerous as a stage over the Mortirolo climb.
At four times the distance of the opening time trial in Amsterdam, favourites Sky's Bradley Wiggins and Garmin-Transitions' David Millar can hammer out massive advantages over their rivals and eat into Astana rider Alexandre Vinokourov's overall lead.
Australian Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) and Spaniard Carlos Sastre (Cervélo Test Team) will both be under the hammer today. Evans wore the leader's pink jersey on Monday, but he lost it due to a crash and a lack of team support.
"I was criticised for not attacking Evans," Basso told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "If he had gone into crisis I would have ordered a higher tempo to put minutes into him. But he had crashed, and I believe you should give respect to your rivals if they are on the ground."
Basso has a chance to put time into his rival today. With Team CSC, he holds the record for the fastest team time trial at the Giro d'Italia, 56.860kph over 35 kilometres in 2006. (Later that year, Spanish investigators linked him to the Operación Puerto doping investigation and he subsequently served a two-year suspension.) As Monday showed, Evans will have to be the driving force behind BMC Racing in order to limit time losses.
"It would have been better not to lose those seconds in the third stage," explained Evans, "but it's passed."
Italians Stefano Garzelli and Michele Scarponi are both with 16 seconds of Vinokourov, but both will be under pressure not to lose over a minute today. Neither Garzelli's Acqua & Sapone team nor Scarponi' Androni team is noted for its time trial strength.
They will be looking ahead to the mountain stages to gain back time, as will 2008 Tour de France winner, Sastre.
"Whoever thinks the Giro d'Italia is already decided is mistaken," said Sastre, 1'40" behind Vinokourov. "We still have 18 stages, with all of the climbs, to come."
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