Geraint Thomas and Taylor Phinney head the list of favourites for today’s Giro d’Italia opener, an 8.7-kilometre time trial through Herning’s streets.
“I’ll just go flat out and see what happens,” Thomas said of his plan in the race’s opening stage in Denmark. “I obviously have the speed from the track, but if I can keep that going for 8.5km…”
Thomas comes from the track World Championships, where with Sky team-mate Peter Kennaugh he set the world record and won gold over 4km in the team pursuit. In the last couple of weeks, he won the 3.3km Tour of Romandy time trial, and helped Bradley Wiggins win the overall.
USA’s Phinney comes from a full road season, including the Giro del Trentino two weeks ago, when he helped BMC Racing win the team time trial. In 2010, he was under-23 time trial champion and is two time individual pursuit world champion.
The two have been previewing the course, Phinney more so. In fact, this race is one of Phinney’s major goals for the season. He explained that he’s been having a hard time falling to sleep at night because he’s dreaming of taking the pink jersey.
“The corners aren’t terribly technical, the roads are wide. You’ll be able to keep your speed without braking. It also reminds me of some criterium courses in the US, which is what I loved doing before,” Phinney explained.
“The last four kilometres drags on and is more open. For me, I’m focusing on the last half, that’s where the race will be won.”
He told Cycling Weekly that he might use tyres with more tread. “I’ll probably err on the side of traction just to be able to go through the turns faster,” he said. “It’s supposed to be windy, so not too deep of a front wheel.”
“There are quite a few corners early on, hopefully I’ll carry some speed through there,” Thomas explained. “I’ll give it everything and see what happens.”
Phinney put Thomas lower down on the list of favourites, which includes Jesse Sergent (RadioShack-Nissan), Jack Bobridge (Orica-GreenEdge) and home rider, Alex Rasmussen (Garmin-Barracuda). “Eight K is different than four K, but Thomas has the power and is an incredibly strong individual,” Phinney said. “It’ll be exciting to watch, I can’t wait to get to the start line.”
Thomas starts the Giro stage one time trial at 5.43pm and Phinney 5.47pm UK time.
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