With five of their six world championship silver medallists in their ranks, Orica-GreenEDGE must have fancied their chances of causing an upset on stage one. Once again, however, they found Omega Pharma-Quickstep to be in scintillating form and were forced to settle for second place. Nevertheless, there are plenty of reasons to be cheerful for the Australian team.
In last year’s race they finished sixth, some 24 seconds behind the world champions, and yet they still went on to win the team time trial at the Tour de France before securing their silver medal at the world championships. They have started this year, evidently, in much better shape. Omega Pharma-Quickstep appear unstoppable at times, but if anybody can halt their charge against the clock, the Australian team appear one of the best-placed to do so.