Pinotti sitting pretty in pink

HTC-Highroad make winning start in Italy

Last Updated: 07/05/11 7:06pm

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Pinotti: All smiles in the Maglia Rosa

Pinotti: All smiles in the Maglia Rosa

Sky Bet

Marco Pinotti became the first rider to don the leader's pink jersey at the 2011 Giro d’Italia after his HTC-Highroad team romped to victory on the opening team time trial stage.

The squad - who also included Briton Mark Cavendish - were the 14th of the 23 teams to roll down the start ramp in sun-drenched Venaria Reale and were 14 seconds ahead of Rabobank as they passed through the intermediate time check after 9.1km.

Over the 10.2km that followed Pinotti and co continued to extend their lead, and crossed the line in Turin with a time of 20 minutes and 59 seconds that was 22 seconds faster than early pacesetters Omega Pharma-Lotto.

None of the other teams could challenge that time in the closing stages, although RadioShack and Liquigas both denied Omega Pharma-Lotto a place on the podium, coming in 10 and 22 seconds adrift of HTC-Highroad respectively.

Pre-race favourite Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Sungard) meanwhile, sits 30 seconds adrift in the general classification with Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) and Denis Menchov (Geox) 22 and 53 seconds back respectively.

Team Sky ended the day in ninth place overall, with six of their riders trailling Pinotti by 37 seconds.

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