Tirreno-Adriatico 2018: Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and Adam Yates well placed despite BMC Racing winning team time trial
Success for British GC hopefuls but Mark Cavendish suffers another crash on stage one
Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and Team Sky duo Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas are well-placed overall at Tirreno-Adriatico 2018 after their respective teams finished second and third behind BMC Racing in the stage one team time trial.
On a mixed day for British riders in the Race of the Two Seas, Mark Cavendish suffered his second consecutive first-stage crash, however – finishing on a road bike with bad cuts on his face.
Cavendish was racing for the first time since suffering a race-ending crash in the neutral zone ahead of stage one of the Abu Dhabi Tour last month.
Another Brit on the startline, Alex Dowsett, helped Katusha-Alpecin to sixth place in his first hit-out in the discipline alongside new team-mates Tony Martin and Marcel Kittel.
It was a good day for both Yates and Froome, however, as they opened up some big early leads on some of their expected general classification rivals.
Movistar had posted the first benchmark, stopping the clock in 23.09 with Mikel Landa their primary GC leader.
Sky finished strongly though, as expected with a team including Jonathan Castroviejo, Vasil Kiryienka, Gianni Moscon, Salvatore Puccio and Michal Kwiatkowski alongside Thomas and Froome.
With such strong time trialling prowess in their ranks, it was little surprise to see them shave 40 seconds off Movistar’s time.
After Katusha-Alpecin – another strong team time trialling unit thanks to the acquisitions of Dowsett and Kittel to join Martin in the winter – lost 18 seconds to Sky, a series of big-name GC riders also ceded notable time gaps to Froome and Thomas.
Fabio Aru’s UAE Team Emirates lost 35 seconds to Sky – as did Rigoberto Uran’s EF-Drapac – while Vincenzo Nibali and Bahrain-Merida were 39 seconds slower.
Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) – who came into the race on the back of his second place at Strade Bianche – will have 53 seconds to make up to Froome, meanwhile, after the French team finished in 23.22.
Dimension Data were never expected to challenge overall, but suffered the big blow of Cavendish’s crash and injuries meanwhile – the Manxman finishing the stage, but heading to hospital for a check-up afterwards.
The first team to overhaul Sky’s mark were instead Mitchelton-Scott, making light of the suggestions they might have to hold back in order to support Adam Yates.
Luke Durbridge led the Australian team home, with Daryl Impey, Michael Hepburn and Yates making up the final quartet to cross the finish line together five seconds faster than Sky.
BMC Racing were already on the course at this point, however, and it was Damiano Caruso, Rohan Dennis, Patrick Bevin and Greg van Avermaet who stopped the clock in a stage-leading time of 22.19.
And when neither QuickStep Floors (22.34) or current world team time trial champions Team Sunweb, with Tom Dumoulin in their ranks, (22.44) could overhaul that time, BMC Racing were left to celebrate a third consecutive stage-one win at Tirreno-Adriatico.
Damiano Caruso will now roll out in the blue leader’s jersey for stage two, for the second consecutive year.
Tirreno-Adriatico 2018: stage one (TTT) - result
1) BMC Racing - 22.19
2) Mitchelton-Scott +4"
3) Team Sky +10"
4) QuickStep Floors +15"
5) Team Sunweb +25"
6) Katusha-Alpecin +28"
7) Bora-hansgrohe +30"
8) Trek-Segafredo +39"
9) UAE Team Emirates +45"
10) EF-Drapac - ST
1) Damiano Caruso (ITA) - BMC Racing - 22.19
2) Rohan Dennis (AUS) - BMC Racing - ST
3) Patrick Bevin (NZL) - BMC Racing
4) Greg van Avermaet (BEL) - BMC Racing
5) Luke Durbridge (AUS) - Mitchelton-Scott +4"
6) Daryl Impey (RSA) - Mitchelton-Scott - ST
7) Adam Yates (GBR) - Mitchelton-Scott
8) Michael Hepburn (AUS) - Mitchelton-Scott
9) Geraint Thomas (GBR) - Team Sky +9"
10) Jonathan Castroviejo (ESP) - Team Sky - ST