By VeloNews Interactive wire services , Copyright AFP2002
The Italian Fassa Bortolo team won the opening stage of the 29th Mediterranean Tour, besting Creddit Agricole by seven seconds in a 36km team time trial from Salon-de-Provence to Berre-l’Etang.
The team’s Michele Bartoli assumed the race leader’s jersey on the strength of the team’s performance as they covered the stage in 38:10. Italy’s Mapei-Quick Step squad rounded out the top three, finishing 10 seconds behind the winning team.
The 176 riders, representing 22 teams left the start in Salon-de-Provence at three-minute intervals. A small Category III climb two kilometers after the start was the only difficult section on what was otherwise a flat and fast course.
The early leader of the day, Bonjour, set a strong pace, turning in a time of 25:05 at the 22km mark. But the effort may have proven to be too much as the French team ultimately finished fourth, behind Fassa Bortolo, Crédit Agricole and Mapei.
29th Mediterranean Tour. Stage 1 Salon-de-Provence to Berre-l’Etang1 (Team Time Trial)
1. Fassa Bortolo (I), 36km in 38:10 (56.100 kph); 2. Crédit Agricole (F), at 0:07; 3. Mapei (I), at 0:10; 4. Bonjour (F), at 0:19; 5. Gerolsteiner (G), at 0:35; 6. Rabobank (Nl), at 0:41; 7. Taconi Sport (I), at 0:44; 8. CSC (Dk), at 0:46; 9. Saeco (I), at 0:47; 10. Domo-Farm Frites, at 0:48.