Mark Cavendish will start the second stage of the 2013 Tirreno-Adriatico in the leader’s blue jersey.
The Manx Missile was a member of the victorious Omega Pharma-QuickStep team that finished the 16.9km course from San Vincenzo to Donoratico in a time of 19.24, some 11 seconds quicker than second-placed Movistar.
He described the team time trial victory as “the nicest feeling in cycling,” and said the difference between OPQS and their rivals could be described in two words: “Tony Martin”, referring to his German team-mate, the world time trial champion.
“I’m super proud to be part of something like that. It’s a real nice feeling,” said Cavendish.
“For me, the team time trial, when it works, it’s the nicest feeling in cycling. The whole team get to celebrate it, and that’s what makes this event special.”
Cavendish said the team had planned meticulously, without putting pressure on the riders, allowing the riders to enjoy the ride.
“We finished with five, but everybody had a part to play, and that’s what makes it,” he added.
The challenge of defending champion, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) was blunted by a fall from Dmitriy Gruzdev, the Kazakh national champion. Gruzdev continued, but was unable to rejoin his colleagues, and the team failed to recover their rhythm, finishing fifth.
Team Sky rode to a modest seventh place in treachorous conditions, but team leader, Chris Froome, lost only five seconds to Nibali, and nine seconds to BMC’s Cadel Evans.
The Kenyan-born Brit, winner in February of the Tour of Oman, also gained time on likely rivals, Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank), and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha): four and 19 seconds respectively.
Tomorrow’s second stage from San Vincenzo to Indicatore is expected to benefit the sprinters, and Cavendish could end a second day in the leader’s blue jersey.
Tirreno-Adriatico 2013 – stage one – result
1) Omega Pharma-Quick Step – 19.24
2) Movistar +11″
3) BMC Racing +16″
4 Cannondale Pro Cycling +19″
5 Astana +20″
6 Orica-Greenedge +24″
7 Team Sky +25″
8) Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank – 32″
9) Lampre-Merida +35″
10) RadioShack-Leopard +36″