Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Tens of thousands bid farewell to Morgan Tsvangirai

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Afrin: 'a war without images'

Read more

THE DEBATE

Syria on the Brink: Can Assad help the Kurds against Turkish forces?

Read more

FOCUS

Inside the murky business of cobalt mining in DR Congo

Read more

ENCORE!

100% Pure Parisian: Comedian Julie Collas helps locals laugh at themselves

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Chinese textile wholesalers open Marseille site

Read more

IN THE PRESS

Meet Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer: Angela Merkel's 'mini-me'

Read more

IN THE PRESS

Major French student union rocked by sexual assault claims

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Photographer Pete Souza shares his ‘portrait’ of Obama

Read more

Cavendish leads Columbia team into opening stage win

Video by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-05-10

Britain's Mark Cavendish took the race leader's pink jersey after his Columbia team won the opening stage of the Tour of Italy, a 20 km team time-trial at Venice Lido.

REUTERS - Team Columbia went out first and finished first in the opening time trial of the Giro d'Italia with Britain's Mark Cavendish bagging the pink jersey on Saturday.

Garmin-Slipstream, criticised by rivals for concentrating their preparation on the time trial rather than the three-week race, came in second while Lance Armstrong's Astana pulled off a minor surprise by finishing third.

Going first on the 20-km course around Venice's Lido may have been seen as a disadvantage but America's Team Columbia surged round and never looked like being beaten.

Times were recorded for the fifth-finishing rider in the teams and Columbia managed the flat route in 21 minutes 50 seconds, with Cavendish leading the way.

The 23-year-old from the Isle of Man won the Milan-San Remo race in March and again showed his sprinting skills in front of a crowd who had packed the water-taxis east of Venice's main centre.

OVERCAST CONDITIONS

Slightly overcast conditions and a pick up in the wind affected teams going out in the middle while some lost time with lead riders pulling too far ahead of their fifth-placed colleague.

Avoiding the distraction of a panoramic view of the Venice skyline across the lagoon, Armstrong grimaced as he hauled himself over the line after his impressive Astana team had gone out last.

The 37-year-old American, who returned to cycling in January after spending more than three years in retirement, had only just recovered from a broken collarbone and lies 15th overall.

Sunday's 156-km second stage goes from Jesolo to Trieste in the very east of Italy. The finish is in Rome on May 31.

Date created : 2009-05-09

COMMENT(S)