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2014 Giro d’Italia: Birthday boy Svein Tuft in pink after opening team time trial

Svein Tuft of Orica-GreenEdge is the second Canadian to wear the Giro d'Italia's pink leader's jersey - 2012 winner Ryder Hesjedal being the first - after he led his squad over the Belfast, Northern Ireland finish line to win Friday's first stage team time trial. It was a 37th birthday never to be forgotten for the eight-time Canadian chrono champion.

Svein Tuft of Orica-GreenEdge is the second Canadian to wear the Giro d’Italia’s pink leader’s jersey – 2012 winner Ryder Hesjedal being the first – after he led his squad over the Belfast, Northern Ireland finish line to win Friday’s first stage team time trial. It was a 37th birthday never to be forgotten for the eight-time Canadian chrono champion.

The early teams had the advantage of dry roads, and since Orica-GreenEdge was the second squad to start after Colombia, its early time of 24:42 over 21.7-km stood up for the entire day. Third to leave the start ramp was Tinkoff-Saxo, who had the fourth best time Friday. Sky blazed a brilliant second half of the course to slot in at fifth.

The disaster of the day was Garmin-Sharps’s. With eight riders left in the drill-line, the fifth man fell and suddenly four argyle-clad riders were on the pavement. Stunned, one of the Garmin men managed to remount and join the four up front, as five were required to finish. Co-leader Dan Martin, however, stayed down on the tarmac and went to the hospital with a broken collarbone, and didn’t even make it to his home country of Ireland. Hesjedal becomes the team’s sole leader. Garmin finished 3:20 behind Orica.

BMC had the second-best late ride. Fourth from last to start, Cadel Evans’ team was only seven seconds slower than Orica, but found Omega Pharma-QuickStep eclipsing them by two-seconds. Evans put 46 seconds into Ivan Basso (Italy/Cannondale) and 48 seconds into Nairo Quintana (Colombia/Movistar), but lagged behind Omega’s Rigoberto Uran (Colombia).

Orica-GreenEdge’s opening day success is similar to its performance at last year’s Tour de France where it won the fourth stage team time trial to put Simon Gerrans and then Daryl Impey in yellow.

Saturday’s stage is a 219-km flat stage that starts and finishes in Belfast with two Cat. 4 climbs to establish the first mountains jersey wearer.

2014 Giro d’Italia Stage 1

1) Orica-GreenEdge 24:42
2) Omega Pharma-QuickStep +0:05
3) BMC +0:07

2014 Giro d’Italia GC
1) Svein Tuft (Canada/Orica-GreenEdge)
2) Luke Durbridge (Australia/Orica-GreenEdge) s.t.
3) Peter Weening (The Netherlands/Orica-GreenEdge) s.t.

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