McGee Wins Giro Prologue
Brad McGee (La Francaise des Jeux.com) has won the prologue of the Giro d'Italia. The Australian blitzed through the technical, 6.9-km course in Genoa in 8:30. He was 0:10 faster than Olaf Pollack (Gerolsteiner) and 0:20 than Yaroslav Popovych (Landbouwkrediet).
Australian Brett Lancaster (Panaria) set the early standard. He rode a 9:10. It was evident, however, that Lancaster's time was soft, and in rapid succession Andrus Aug (Domina Vacanze), Dario Cioni, and Marzio Bruseghin (both from Fassa Bortolo) set new standards. Bruseghin's time was 9:00.
Bruseghin spent 20 minutes at the top of the heap. Pollack crushed the Italian's time with an 8:40. For a time, the German time trial specialist looked like a winner.
McGee started an hour after Pollack finished. He rode strongly throughout the course en route to a new best time. His 8:30 would take some beating.
No one else in the field could eclipse McGee's time. Popovych posted the fastest time of the GC contenders with his 8:50, but McGee took the day's honors.
Popovych won the battle of the GC contenders. Defending champion Gilberto Simoni (Saeco), who is not known as a time trialist, finished 15th with a 9:05. More important, he yielded only 0:15 to Popovych. Stefano Garzelli (Vini Caldirola), the 2003 runner-up, finished 0:11 behind Simoni and admitted having a difficult time on the course.
Stage 1 will be a rolling one. The 143-km run from Genoa to Alba will feature a number of climbs, but the last one will be 50 km from the finish, so the day should end with a bunch sprint. Who will take it? Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo)? Mario Cipollini (Domina Vacanze)? Robbie McEwen (Lotto)? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!
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