The rain in Donoratico failed to dampen the effort or celebrations of Omega Pharma-QuickStep.
The Belgian squad trounced their opposition on the opening stage team time trial of the 2013 Tirreno-Adriatico, completing the 16.9km stage from San Vincenzo to Donoratico, some 19 seconds faster than their nearest rivals.
By happy coincedence, or careful strategy at OPQS HQ, Mark Cavendish, registered as the team’s first rider, claimed the leader’s jersey. Given the profile of stages two and three, he may wear it for half the race.
Cavendish was characteristically gracious, volunteering world time trial champion, Tony Martin, as the difference between his squad and their competitors.
Tomorrow, with the sprinters expected to go wheel-to-wheel on the run in to Indicatore, he will hope to be the defnining factor.
Here are some superb pictures of today’s action from official UCI WorldTour photographer, Stefano Sirrotti.
Mark Cavendish described Tony Martin as the difference between OPQS and their rivals. The German world time trial champion leads here
The diminutive Manxman (number 131) can be seen gaining plenty of shelter from his team-mates, who went ‘full gas’, despite the treacherous conditions
Cavendish is no stranger to the podium. After winning the Tour of Qatar in February, and the Eneco Tour last year, he’s also no stranger to leader’s jerseys
Cadel Evans did the lion’s share of the work for BMC Racing: an early indication of returning form for the Australian?
Vincenzo Nibali (number one) appears to be shouting encouragement to his troops. The crash of Dmitriy Gruzdev blunted the challenge of the defending champion’s Astana team