Cavendish leads Tirreno-Adriatico after opening stage

Mark Cavendish leads Tirreno-Adriatico after the opening stage, a 16.9km team time trial from San Vincenzo to Donoratico.

Cavendish’s Omega Pharma-QuickStep team finished 11 seconds quicker than second-placed Movistar to hand him the blue leader’s jersey.

After the race, Cavendish praised teammate and world time trial champion, Tony Martin.

“Two words, one name: Tony Martin,” he said, “When a team time trial works out, it’s the best feeling in cycling.”

Chris Froome and Team Sky, meanwhile, finished 25 seconds back in seventh position, though Froome will hardly be concerned about the leaders at this stage.

More importantly, the Brit rider gained four seconds and 19 seconds on GC rivals Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) respectively.

However, Froome’s other main GC rivals Cadel Evans (BMC) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) gained 19 seconds and five seconds on the 2012 Tour de France runner-up.

Tomorrow’s 232km stage to Indicatore will see the race proper begin, and it should provide another opportunity for Cavendish to podium.

The long, flat route will have been earmarked for a stage win for the Isle of Man sprinter.