1. VeloNews / News / Road / Any questions? Savoldelli dominates Giro opener

Any questions? Savoldelli dominates Giro opener

By VeloNews.com • Published

By Jason Sumner, Special to VeloNews

Photo: Graham Watson

If defending champion Paolo Savoldelli is feeling the pressure, you sure couldn’t tell on the opening day of the 2006 Giro d’Italia Saturday.

First Il Falco sailed to a commanding 11-second win in the 6.2-kilometer stage 1 prologue in Seraing, Belgium. Then, with an encouraging crowd cheering him on, the Discovery Channel captain doused two helpless podium girls with champagne before taking a big pull from the oversized bottle of bubbly.

Who was this guy heretofore better known for stoicism than stage antics? Well, it’s far too early to call him the ‘new’ man to beat here at the Italian tour. But maybe all the talk about this year’s Giro favoring the “pure” climbers — and not someone like Savoldelli — was just a bit premature.

That’s what happens when you put 23 seconds into pre-race favorite Ivan Basso on a TT course that most figured would have suited the Team CSC leader.

2006 Giro d’Italia
Results – Stage 1
1. Paolo Savoldelli (I), Discovery Channel, 7:50
2. Bradley Mcgee (Aus), Francaise des Jeux, 8:01
3. Gutierrez Cataluna José E. (Sp), Phonak, 8:03
4. Stefan Schumacher (G), Gerolsteiner, 8:03
5. Serhiy Honchar (Ukr), T-Mobile, 8:05
6. Francisco Sanchez (Sp), Caisse d’Epargne-I.B., 8:06
7. José Gutierrez (Sp), Caisse d’Epargne-I.B., 8:06
8. Michael Rogers (Aus), T-Mobile, 8:07
9. Davide Rebellin (I), Gerolsteiner, 8:08
10. Danilo Di Luca (I), Liquigas-Bianchi, 8:09
Full Results
“It definitely can be an indication of condition,” said Discovery Channel director Johan Bruyneel, who couldn’t hide his wry smile while watching Savoldelli take the podium after posting a 7:50, the only sub-eight-minute time. “You can not judge somebody just on a prologue, but it’s a big difference and I did not expect that on just six kilometers.”

Of course Bruyneel knows this was just a small battle in a very long war.

“A stage race is three weeks and the last week is very, very hard,’ he said. “On top of that Basso is really going for the overall in the Giro and the Tour, so for him it’s really important that he’s at his strongest in the last week.”

Aussie Brad McGee (Française des Jeux) finished second on the first day, with Spaniard Jose Gutierrez (Phonak) and German Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner) tied for third at 0:13.

Had McGee’s time held up it would have been the second time he’d worn the Giro’s distinctive pink jersey, which he wore in 2004 after winning the opening stage.

José Ivan Gutierrez comes in at 8:03…

Photo: Graham Watson

“There’s not much to say,” he said. “I hate getting seconds and thirds. I did everything right. It wasn’t even close, Jesus Christ. I’m very surprised. I thought I put out a good one. I was really happy with it.”

Other notables included reigning time trial champion Michael Rogers (T-Mobile) eighth at 0:17, Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas) 10th at 0:19, Damian Cunego (Lampre-Fondital) 15th at 0:25 and Gilberto Simoni (Saunier Duval-Prodir) 16th at 0:26.

... as did Gerolsteiner's Schumacher.

… as did Gerolsteiner’s Schumacher.

Photo: Graham Watson

German Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) was 80th at 0:49.

“The beginning was really flat so it was hard,” said Discovery’s Tom Danielson, who finished 12th at 0:21, on the course that started and finished along the Meuse River in this small industrial town just south of Liege in the French-speaking part of Belgium. “Then it got hilly. It’s a big contrast. Someone would think okay it’s got a 2.5k climb so it’s for a climber, but I don’t think so. A climber has to put in a big effort in the flats to have a good overall time trial.”

Perhaps that’s why it suited Savoldelli so well. Or maybe it was just an early birthday present to himself. The Italian will turn 33 on Sunday.

“I was a little surprised that I went this well,” admitted Savoldelli. “Twenty seconds is nothing and keeping the jersey will not be of big importance in the next days. But winning early always takes a little pressure off. It’s better to have a few extra seconds that to give them away.”

Di Luca takes 10th, at 8:09.

Di Luca takes 10th, at 8:09.

Photo: Graham Watson

Next up at the Giro is the 197km stage 2 run from Mons to Charleroi-Marcinelle in the south central part of Belgium. With virtually no climbing on the backwards s-shaped course, look for sprinters to dominate.

Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) will be seeking his 20th Giro stage win in four years, but most combat rival Robbie McEwen, who will be hoping to show well in front of his team’s Belgian sponsors, Davitamon and Lotto.

Others who could be in the mix are Gerolsteiner’s Robert Förster, T-Mobile’s Olaf Pollack, Phonak’s Fabrizio Guidi, Rabobank’s Graeme Brown, Panaria’s Luca Mazzanti and Bouygues Télécom’s Sebastien Chavanel.

“It’s not a big deal to defend right now,” said Discovery directeur sportif Sean Yates. “We have three more days in Belgium and obviously the sprinters teams — especially Lotto — will want to keep thingstogether. Okay we might have a few guys up there riding tempo. But you know that Milram, Lotto, they aren’t going to waste an opportunity.”

Race NotesOdds are like just about anyone with an opinion on the outcome of this year’s Giro d’Italia, European bookmakers see Team CSC’s Basso as the rider to beat.The online gaming website sportingodds.com installed Basso as a 17-to-20 favorite on the eve of the race. Cunego, winner of the 2004 Giro, was second at 4-1, with Savoldelli listed at 8-1.Italians occupied the first five spots, with Simoni next at 19-2, then Di Luca (Liquigas) at 14-1. Next are Danielson (Discovery Channel) and Venezuelan climber José Rujano (Selle Italia), both listed at 18-1. Other notables include Bobby Julich (CSC), 33-1; Ullrich, 66-1; and Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank),100-1.Paolo Bettini (Quick Step-Innergetic) is a slight favorite in the points competition at 2-1. Cunego is listed at 23-10, with Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) at 13-5. Clearly the bookies are not convinced that Ale-Jet is going to be around for the finish in Milan in three weeks. Bettini won the points competition a year ago, while Petacchi took the title in 2004.There is also a Petacchi special on the board where you can wager on the his over/under for stage wins – 3.5 or more pays 2-1, while less than 3.5 gives back 7-20. Rujano, who was third overall last year and won the King of the Mountains competition, is a 3-4 favorite to repeat as KOM. Ivan Parra (Cofidis) is next at 9-2, followed by Colombian Jose Serpa (Selle Italia). Danielson could be worth a flyer at 54-1.Liquigas is a 3-2 favorite in the team competition, with Lampre at 7-4 and CSC and Discovery both at 3-1.

Results – Stage 1
1. Paolo Savoldelli (I), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, 7:50
2. Bradley Mcgee (Aus), Francaise des Jeux, 8:01
3. Gutierrez Cataluna José E. (Sp), Phonak, 8:03
4. Stefan Schumacher (G), Gerolsteiner, 8:03
5. Serhiy Honchar (Ukr), T-Mobile, 8:05
6. Francisco Perez Sanchez (Sp), Caisse d’Epargne-Illes Balears, 8:06
7. Gutierrez Palacios José Ivan (Sp), Caisse d’Epargne-Illes Balears, 8:06
8. Michael Rogers (Aus), T-Mobile, 8:07
9. Davide Rebellin (I), Gerolsteiner, 8:08
10. Danilo Di Luca (I), Liquigas-Bianchi, 8:09

Photo: AFP

To see how today’s stage developed, simply clickhere to open our Live Update window.

Photo Gallery


Results – Stage 1
1. Paolo Savoldelli (I), Discovery Channel, 7:50

2. Bradley Mcgee (Aus), Francaise des Jeux, 8:01

3. Gutierrez Cataluna José E. (Sp), Phonak, 8:03

4. Stefan Schumacher (G), Gerolsteiner, 8:03

5. Serhiy Honchar (Ukr), T-Mobile, 8:05

6. Francisco Perez Sanchez (Sp), Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears, 8:06

7. Gutierrez Palacios José Ivan (Sp), Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears, 8:06

8. Michael Rogers (Aus), T-Mobile, 8:07

9. Davide Rebellin (I), Gerolsteiner, 8:08

10. Danilo Di Luca (I), Liquigas-Bianchi, 8:09

11. Marzio Bruseghin (I), Lampre, 8:10

12. Tom Danielson (USA), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, 8:11

13. Ivan Basso (I), CSC, 8:13

14. Jens Voigt (G), CSC, 8:15

15. Damiano Cunego (I), Lampre, 8:15

16. Gilberto Simoni (I), Saunier Duval, 8:16

17. Marc Wauters (B), Rabobank, 8:17

18. Carlos Sastre Candil (Sp), CSC, 8:17

19. Remmert Wielinga (Nl), Quick Step-Innergetic, 8:17

20. Rik Verbrugghe (B), Cofidis, 8:18

21. Joan Horrach Rippoll (Sp), Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears, 8:19

22. Christophe Brandt (B), Davitamon-Lotto, 8:19

23. David Dario David (I), Liquigas-Bianchi, 8:20

24. Jason Mccartney (USA), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, 8:21

25. Francesco Bellotti (I), Credit Agricole, 8:21

26. Michele Scarponi (I), Liberty Seguros, 8:21

27. Laurent Lefevre (F), Bouygues Telecom, 8:22

28. Olaf Pollack (G), T-Mobile, 8:23

29. Rubiera Vigil José Luis (Sp), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, 8:24

30. Tomas Vaitkus (Lit), Ag2r Prevoyance, 8:25

31. Alessandro Petacchi (I), Milram, 8:25

32. Gorazd Stangelj (SLO), Lampre, 8:25

33. Manuel Juan Manuel (Sp), Quick Step-Innergetic, 8:26

34. Imanol Erviti (Sp), Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears, 8:26

35. Bert Roesems (B), Davitamon-Lotto, 8:26

36. Serge Baguet (B), Quick Step-Innergetic, 8:26

37. Vila Errandonea Francisco J. (Sp), Lampre, 8:26

38. Parra Pinto Ivan Ramiro (Col), Cofidis, 8:27

39. Marco Pinotti (I), Saunier Duval, 8:27

40. Pena Grisales Victor Hugo (Col), Phonak, 8:28

41. Sergiy Matveyev (Ukr), Ceramica Panaria – Navigare, 8:28

42. Yoann Le Boulanger (F), Bouygues Telecom, 8:28

43. Inigo Cuesta Lopez De Castro (Sp), CSC, 8:29

44. Andrea Noe' (I), Liquigas-Bianchi, 8:29

45. Jurgen Van De Walle (B), Quick Step-Innergetic, 8:29

46. Rujano Guillen José (Vz), Colombia – Selle Italia, 8:29

47. Jussi Veikkanen (FIN), Francaise des Jeux, 8:29

48. Philippe Gilbert (B), Francaise des Jeux, 8:29

49. Evgeni Petrov (Rus), Lampre, 8:30

50. Pauriol Rémi (F), Credit Agricole, 8:31

51. Matthew White (Aus), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, 8:31

52. Ronny Scholz (G), Gerolsteiner, 8:31

53. Nicki Sorensen (Dk), CSC, 8:31

54. Roberto Laiseka Jaio (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 8:32

55. Serguei Yakovlev (Kaz), Liberty Seguros, 8:32

56. Leonardo Duque (Col), Cofidis, 8:32

57. Michael Blaudzun (Dk), CSC, 8:32

58. Fabio Sacchi (I), Milram, 8:32

59. Paolo Bettini (I), Quick Step-Innergetic, 8:32

60. Gabriele Missaglia (I), Colombia – Selle Italia, 8:33

61. Sandy Casar (F), Francaise des Jeux, 8:33

62. Laverde Jimenez Luis Felipe (Col), Ceramica Panaria – Navigare, 8:34

63. Axel Merckx (B), Phonak, 8:34

64. Steve Zampieri (Swi), Phonak, 8:34

65. Pavel Padrnos (Cz), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, 8:34

66. Bobby Julich (USA), CSC, 8:35

67. Sylvester Szmyd (Pol), Lampre, 8:35

68. Tadej Valjavec (SLO), Lampre, 8:36

69. David Lopez Garcia (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 8:36

70. Volker Ordowski (G), Gerolsteiner, 8:36

71. Benoit Poilvet (F), Credit Agricole, 8:36

72. Staf Scheirlinckx (B), Cofidis, 8:36

73. Franco Pellizotti (I), Liquigas-Bianchi, 8:36

74. Angel Gomez Gomez (Sp), Saunier Duval, 8:38

75. Alexandre Botcharov (Rus), Credit Agricole, 8:38

76. Ardila Cano Mauricio Alberto (Col), Rabobank, 8:38

77. Erik Gustav Erik (Swe), Francaise des Jeux, 8:38

78. Mirco Lorenzetto (I), Milram, 8:39

79. Charles Wegelius (GB), Liquigas-Bianchi, 8:39

80. Jan Ullrich (G), T-Mobile, 8:39

81. Torsten Hiekmann (G), Gerolsteiner, 8:39

82. Arnaud Labbe (F), Bouygues Telecom, 8:40

83. Hubert Dupont (F), Ag2r Prevoyance, 8:40

84. Sven Krauss (G), Gerolsteiner, 8:41

85. Grischa Niermann (G), Rabobank, 8:41

86. Maxime Monfort (B), Cofidis, 8:42

87. Emanuele Sella (I), Ceramica Panaria – Navigare, 8:42

88. Carrasco Gamiz Jose Luis (Sp), Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears, 8:42

89. John Gadret (F), Ag2r Prevoyance, 8:42

90. Alessandro Cortinovis (I), Milram, 8:43

91. Daniel Navarro Garcia (Sp), Liberty Seguros, 8:43

92. Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, 8:44

93. Mc Carty Jonathan Patrick (USA), Phonak, 8:44

94. Stef Clement (Nl), Bouygues Telecom, 8:44

95. Patrice Halgand (F), Credit Agricole, 8:44

96. Cristian Moreni (I), Cofidis, 8:44

97. Vladimir Miholjevic (CRO), Liquigas-Bianchi, 8:45

98. Matthias Kessler (G), T-Mobile, 8:45

99. Johann Tschopp (Swi), Phonak, 8:45

100. Alessandro Vanotti (I), Milram, 8:45

101. Josep Jufre Pou (Sp), Davitamon-Lotto, 8:45

102. Perez Cuapio Julio Alberto (MEX), Ceramica Panaria – Navigare, 8:45

103. Unai Osa Eizaguirre (Sp), Liberty Seguros, 8:45

104. Joerg Ludewig (G), T-Mobile, 8:45

105. Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus), Rabobank, 8:46

106. Cyrille Monnerais (F), Francaise des Jeux, 8:46

107. Peter Mazur (Pol), Saunier Duval, 8:46

108. Volodymir Gustov (Ukr), CSC, 8:46

109. Robbie Mcewen (Aus), Davitamon-Lotto, 8:46

110. Luca Mazzanti (I), Ceramica Panaria – Navigare, 8:47

111. Andrea Moletta (I), Gerolsteiner, 8:47

112. Nicolas Vogondy (F), Credit Agricole, 8:47

113. Manuele Mori (I), Saunier Duval, 8:48

114. Inigo Chaurreau Bernardez (Sp), Ag2r Prevoyance, 8:48

115. Matthias Russ (G), Gerolsteiner, 8:48

116. Wim Van Huffel (B), Davitamon-Lotto, 8:48

117. Renaud Dion (F), Ag2r Prevoyance, 8:49

118. Elia Rigotto (I), Milram, 8:49

119. Julia Cegarra Jose Cayetano (Sp), Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears, 8:50

120. Sergio Ghisalberti (I), Milram, 8:50

121. Sylvain Calzati (F), Ag2r Prevoyance, 8:50

122. Patrick Calcagni (Swi), Liquigas-Bianchi, 8:50

123. Leonardo Scarselli (I), Quick Step-Innergetic, 8:51

124. Guido Trentin (I), Saunier Duval, 8:51

125. Wladimir Belli (I), Colombia – Selle Italia, 8:51

126. Mark Scanlon (IRL), Ag2r Prevoyance, 8:52

127. Rubiano Chavez Miguel Angel (Col), Ceramica Panaria – Navigare, 8:52

128. Christian Knees (G), Milram, 8:52

129. Rast Grégory (Swi), Phonak, 8:52

130. Serrano Rodriguez Marcos A. (Sp), Liberty Seguros, 8:52

131. Preben Van Hecke (B), Davitamon-Lotto, 8:53

132. Dariusz Baranowski (Pol), Liberty Seguros, 8:53

133. Michael Rasmussen (Dk), Rabobank, 8:53

134. Carlos Da Cruz (F), Francaise des Jeux, 8:54

135. Paolo Tiralongo (I), Lampre, 8:54

136. Giovanni Lombardi (I), CSC, 8:54

137. Yuriy Krivtsov (Ukr), Ag2r Prevoyance, 8:54

138. Benoit Joachim (Lux), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, 8:54

139. Theo Eltink (Nl), Rabobank, 8:55

140. Jan Kuyckx (B), Davitamon-Lotto, 8:55

141. Korff André (G), T-Mobile, 8:55

142. Alessandro Bertolini (I), Colombia – Selle Italia, 8:55

143. Marco Fertonani (I), Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears, 8:56

144. Manuel Beltran Martinez (Sp), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling, 8:56

145. Christophe Edaleine (F), Credit Agricole, 8:57

146. Giampaolo Caruso (I), Liberty Seguros, 8:58

147. Jose Serpa (Col), Colombia – Selle Italia, 8:58

148. Leonardo Piepoli (I), Saunier Duval, 8:58

149. Chavanel Sébastien (F), Bouygues Telecom, 8:58

150. Javier Ramirez Abeja (Sp), Liberty Seguros, 8:59

151. Mikel Pradera Rodriguez (Sp), Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears, 8:59

152. Martin Elmiger (Swi), Phonak, 8:59

153. Frantisek Rabon (Cz), T-Mobile, 9:00

154. William Bonnet (F), Credit Agricole, 9:01

155. Addy Engels (Nl), Quick Step-Innergetic, 9:02

156. Ivan Mayoz (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 9:02

157. Henk Vogels (Aus), Davitamon-Lotto, 9:03

158. Alberto Ongarato (I), Milram, 9:03

159. Ruben Lobato Elvira (Sp), Saunier Duval, 9:03

160. Fortunato Baliani (I), Ceramica Panaria – Navigare, 9:03

161. Koen De Kort (Nl), Liberty Seguros, 9:03

162. Nick Gates (Aus), Davitamon-Lotto, 9:03

163. Andy Flickinger (F), Bouygues Telecom, 9:04

164. Anton Luengo Celaya (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 9:05

165. Marc De Maar (Nl), Rabobank, 9:05

166. Arnaud Gerard (F), Francaise des Jeux, 9:05

167. Dario Andriotto (I), Liquigas-Bianchi, 9:05

168. Santo Anza' (I), Colombia – Selle Italia, 9:05

169. Vladimir Efimkin (Rus), Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears, 9:05

170. Yannick Talabardon (F), Credit Agricole, 9:06

171. Markel Irizar Aranburu (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 9:06

172. Giovanni Bernaudeau (F), Bouygues Telecom, 9:07

173. Robert Forster (G), Gerolsteiner, 9:07

174. Aaron Olsen (USA), Saunier Duval, 9:07

175. Scott Davis (Aus), T-Mobile, 9:09

176. Fabrizio Guidi (I), Phonak, 9:09

177. Garrido Lima José Antonio (Sp), Quick Step-Innergetic, 9:10

178. Paolo Fornaciari (I), Lampre, 9:10

179. Sergio Barbero (I), Colombia – Selle Italia, 9:10

180. Mathew Hayman (Aus), Rabobank, 9:11

181. Alessandro Spezialetti (I), Liquigas-Bianchi, 9:11

182. Leonardo Bertagnolli (I), Cofidis, 9:12

183. Mickael Delage (F), Francaise des Jeux, 9:13

184. Davide Bramati (I), Quick Step-Innergetic, 9:14

185. Raffaele Illiano (I), Colombia – Selle Italia, 9:14

186. Maximiliano Axel Maximiliano (ARG), Ceramica Panaria – Navigare, 9:15

187. Andoni Aranaga Azkune (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 9:17

188. Olivier Bonnaire (F), Bouygues Telecom, 9:19

189. Amael Moinard (F), Cofidis, 9:21

190. Moises Aldape Chavez (MEX), Ceramica Panaria – Navigare, 9:21

191. Yohann Gene (F), Bouygues Telecom, 9:21

192. Thierry Marichal (B), Cofidis, 9:22

193. Alberto Loddo (I), Colombia – Selle Italia, 9:29

194. Koldo Fernandez (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 9:34

195. Graeme Brown (Aus), Rabobank, 9:39

196. Benat Albizuri Aransolo (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 9:40

197. Iker Flores Galarza (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 9:42

198. Carl Naibo (F), Ag2r Prevoyance, 9:43