Melinda opening team time trial clearly means good luck for the riders from Trentino. German Bora-Argon 18 upset every prediction and gave Cesare Benedetti – 27-year-old from Rovereto, a whole career racing in Germany with no huge satisfactions thus far – the first leader’s jersey of the race. Pretty much the same had happened last year: team time trial ending in Arco, success from an American team (BMC) and a rider from Trentino in fuchsia (Daniel Oss).
“We made a sprint for the line, but my teammates were happy that I eventually won it – Benedetti told, – I always put my best effort to the team’s service, and this jersey is a great reward for many tough moments. It is great for me to take the start from Dro – where I started racing – tomorrow in the leader’s jersey, and wear it on my training roads…”
Team Sky and Team Astana took the other two steps of the podium. It was a tough defeat for Team Sky, since the British line-up clocked the same time of the winners, only surrendering the lead for a matter of hundredths of second. Anyway, it was still a good display for Australian Richie Porte, who gained 4 seconds on Diego Rosa, seven on Pozzovivo-Bardet-Peraud Ag2r trio, and 24 seconds on Meintjes and Hesjedal.
Porte clear targets the Giro del Trentino Melinda to get to the Giro in great swing. Tomorrow’s stage, Dro-Brentonico (168,2 km, official start at 10) will give him a huge opportunity with the Monte Velo, a hors categorie, 15 km long climb, with 1000 metres altitude difference and 8,6% average gradient, before the final climb to Brentonico, in the Mount Baldo Natural Park. “I am sorry that the duel with Aru will not take place – Porte said – it would have been an interesting test. But it won’t make winning this race any easier. In the meantime, I am enjoying this wonderful land in Garda Trentino: I want to come back on vacation.“
The second stage will be run on streets Cesare Benedetti knows by heart, so he knows how hard it will be for him to defend the lead. The hope of the local fans (and Italian National Team Coach Davide Cassani’s as well) is to see some promising Italian names come to the fore, filling the void of Fabio Aru’s absence.