So, Taylor Phinney (BMC) takes the pink jersey after a roaring start to this race for the American. The BMC time trial specialist beat Geraint Thomas (Sky) by nine seconds and Alex Rasmussen (Garmin) by 13 seconds. Thanks for joining us and see you tomorrow for live coverage of stage two.
Herning - Herning
Giro d'Italia - 5 May 2012
Giro d'Italia – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 21:40 on 5 May 2012. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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That's a slow time for Michele Scarponi - in fact, slower even than Frank Schleck. A terrible start to the defence of his de facto crown. He's already 30 seconds down on rival Ivan Basso.
Barta finishes just inside the top 30, leaving just Scarponi on the road now. The Italian will be handing over his pink uniform to Taylor Phinney tonight, that's for sure.
Not bad for Dutch time trial champion, Stef Clement, who crosses the line in 10:54 for 12th place. Just Jan Barta and Scarponi to go now.
Basso crosses the line outside the 11-minute mark and out of the top ten. Earlier, Schleck finished more than a minute off the pace of Phinney.
Scarponi is 27 second down at the first time check.
Off goes Michele Scarponi, all in pink, the pink that he was gifted following the over-turning of Alberto Contador's victory last year. Down the ramp goes the Italian, but surely it's a question of damage limitation for the Lampre leader today.
Just three more riders to go now: Stef Clement (Rabobank), Jan Barta (NetApp) and the de facto 2011 winner Michele Scarponi (Lampre).
Here's Ivan Basso: the Liquigas veteran is the only other Grand Tour winner alongside Damiano Cunego making up the field. He's one of the favourites for the overall race, but his form is patchy and he is no ITT specialist.
Alex Rasmussen of Garmin crosses the line third fastest - nice effort from the Dane. 13 seconds down on leader Phinney.
With 13 riders still to finish: 1. Phinney (BMC) 2. Thomas (SKY) +9 / 3. Boaro (SAX) +15 / 4. Navardauskas (GRM) +22 / 5. Lancaster (OGE) +23
Frank Schleck gets his unexpected Giro under way. The RadioShack man says he'll be riding into form over the first 7-10 days. Don't expect much from him today!
Joaquim Rodriguez down the ramp for Katusha. Meanwhile, Gustav Erik Larsson crosses the line in fourth place, 22 seconds down, for Vacansoleil-DCM.
Danish rider Alex Rasmussen down the ramp. The Garmin-Barracuda chrono specialist is probably the only remaining rider who could upset Phinney.
John Gadret of Ag2r down the ramp - and it's safe to say he won't be in the reckoning for the win today. In fact, we probably won't be seeing much of the bald Frenchman until the second week of the race, when the roads head uphill a bit.
Can Thomas hold on for the win? We'll find out soon, because here's Taylor Phinney (BMC), the favourite for today's opening stage. The American looks on course for the win. Yes, he takes a huge nine seconds off Thomas to move into the lead. Surely no one can beat Phinney's time?
But Boaro won't lead for long: here comes Thomas, and he's roaring. The Welshman shaves six seconds off Boaro and moves into the lead. Superb stuff from the Sky track specialist.
Here comes Manuele Boaro. The Saxo Bank rider is going to set the new best time - yes, he's taken eight second off Ramunas Kavardauskas's previous longstanding leading time. Great stuff.
Geraint Thomas is one second quicker than Navardauskas at the time check - promising stuff from the Welshman, who won the 4km prologue at the Tour of Romandie last week.
Saxo Bank's Manuele Boaro is going very well. The Italian is level with Navardauskas at the intermediate time check - can he hold on over the quicker part of the course?
Here comes Damiano Cunego of Lampre, and it's a slow start to the Giro for the former winner. He's 41 seconds down in 103rd place.
Jose Rujano of Androni is on course now. It will be a task of damage limitation for the pocket rocket Venezuelan today. Sky's Geraint Thomas is also under way.
Surprise ride from Nelson Oliveira of RadioShack, the Portuguese rider coming home to take fifth place at the moment.
A reminder of the leaders: 1. Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin) 10:48, 2. Brett Lancaster (Orica GreenEdge) 10:49, 3. Marco Pinotti (BMC) 10:50. There are four Garmin riders in the top ten - not bad for Jonathan Vaughters' Argyle Army.
Not a bad time for Farrar, who posts the 17th best time, 14 seconds down. Perhaps his team-mate Navardauskas will hold on for the win today?
Damiano Cunego - one of just two former Grand Tour winners in this year's Giro (the other is Ivan Basso) - is down the ramp.
Here comes Thomas de Gendt of Vacansoleil-DCM. He's an outside bet for the white jersey this year. The Belgian all-rounder crosses the line 10 seconds down in 11th place. Chapeau.
It will be an emotional race for Tyler Farrar, who lost his best friend Weylandt last year in that tragic accident. The American has not been the same rider since, although he did win one stage in the Tour de France in July.
It's been a pretty torrid season so far for former world champion Hushovd, whose career in BMC colours has been hampered by illness, injury and poor form - much like that of fellow new arrival Philippe Gilbert. There's litle evidence of the rot stopping with this ride: the norwegian crosses the line 27 seconds down in 40th place.
The likes of Rigoberto Uran (Sky) and Thor Hushovd (BMC) and, now, Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Barracuda) are all on the road now.
Italian national time trial champion Adriano Malori of Lampre sets only the 11th best time.
Jose Serpa of Androni is on the road now. It looks like the Colombian has shaved off his jet-black trademark goatee.
A toiling Andrea Guardini of Farnese Vini is well off the pace, rolling in 1:05 behind the best time to set one of the slowest times far.
Garmin's Hesjedal almost catches Manuel Belletti of Ag2r on the final stretch as he crosses the line seven seconds behind the leader, his team-mate Ramunas Navardauskas of Lithuania.
Ryder Hesjedal on course for a solid time. He's about 11 seconds down at the halfway point. The Canadian is one of the outsiders for the whole race - a top 10 is a definite target.
Here comes Pinotti... so close! The Italian sets the third fastest time, just 2 seconds behind Navardauskas and one second behind Sergent. Only one Garmin rider on the podium now then.
Cavendish is into the final straight now. It's not the winning time, but it's not too bad. He finishes a respectable 25 seconds down, in 27th.
Cavendish is wearing an extraordinary pair of cycling boots - combining a black shoe with a black zip up sock that rises to the mid calf. Italy's Marco Pinotti of BMC is on the course too - he's another one to watch today.
So, 10:48 is still the time to beat in this opening 8.7km time trial. Ramunas Navardauskas of Garmin-Barracuda leads Jesse Sargent of RadioShack by four seconds, with two other Garmin riders six seconds in arrears.
Bennati crosses the finish line a bit off the pace. The Italian veteran can only muster up the 28th fastest time, 27 seconds down.
Mark Cavendish, looking unusually different in the black Sky skinsuit and not his world championships rainbow jersey, heads down the ramp to start his ITT. He finished third in the prologue last week in Romandie, incidentally.
Italian stallion Daniele Bennati, one of cycling's best looking riders, is on the road now for RadioShack. He's an outside bet for this one so it will be interesting to see how he fares over this flat, but winding course.
Brett Lancaster crosses the line just one second behind the leader Navardauskas. That's a great ride by the Orica GreenEdge Australian, who almost sprung a surprise at the top.
GreenEdge's Brett Lancaster is approaching his minute man, Andrey Zeits of Astana. The Australian is going well. He's wearing the 105 bib. Incidentally, no one is wearing the 108 bib this year, which has been withdrawn from all Giro races henceforth in memory of Wouter Weylandt, who died last year. GreenEdge wear bibs 100 to 107, and then 109. 100 is the only bib in the race divisible by 10, and it's worn by Matt Goss.
There's a lull in proceedings here with none of the stage or race favourites currently on the road. Remember, you can watch the ITT live on British Eurosport or
Alessandro Ballan is on course and looking thinner than ever: there's no an ounce of fat on his lithe, slender, lanky frame. He's going well, is the Italian. The BMC former world champion approaches the finish line now... and he's set the 12th best time, 17 seconds behind leader Navardauskas.
Garmin have three riders in the top four at the moment, with Ramunas Navardauskas in the lead and both Robbie Hunter and Jack Bauer six seconds back in third and fourth. RadioShack's Jesse Sergent is second, four seconds in arrears.
It's worth stressing that none many of the favourites for the GC are competant chrono riders. Of the big guns, only perhaps Basso and Kreuziger are any good at the discipline. The likes of Rodriguez, Gadret, Pozzovivo, Rujano, Scarponi, Cunego, Schleck et al are hardly ITT specialists...
Kreuziger crosses the finish line 14 seconds down on the current leader, Ramunas Navardauskas of Garmin.
Bobridge faded in the second half of the course and crossed the line in 11:26, a huge 38 seconds back. He'll be very disappointed with that one.
Roman Kreuziger is on the course: the Czech rider from Astana is one of the race favourites. No longer a youngster, this is a big year for Kreuziger. He was disappointing in his first season at Astana, but looks in good shape this year - and very lean.
Dennis Venendert, brother of Tour de France stage winner Jelle, takes a tight bend rather brazenly for Lotto Belisol. It will be interesting to see how he fares in this, his debut Grand Tour.
New Zealander Jesse Sergent of RadioShack Nissan is now second best at the finish, four seconds behind Navardauskas. But Bobridge is approaching the finish soon, so things will be turned on their head in a jiffy.
Bobridge had to slow down just now at a tight - and wet - bend, but he's going well.
While you're waiting for the big guns to head down the ramp, why not read our blogger Blazin' Saddles, who has cobbled together a
Bobridge is a big unit. He's the world 4km pursuit record holder and he knows a thing or two when racing against the clock. These Danish roads offer a lot of grip - it's a very course type of concrete, lovely for riding, but you'd really feel it if you came off your bike at top speed.
Orica GreenEdge's Jack Bobridge drops down the ramp - and the Australian rookie has a realistic chance of getting a top result today. In ten minutes' time, he should be on the top of the standings - if it goes to plan.
So, who do you think will win today's ITT? What about the whole race? Have your say below...
We have a new leader: Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin) takes six seconds off Hunter's previous marker.
There is some interesting, that's to say rather bleak, architecture in the Herning suburbs. Hunter still leads at the finish, eight seconds ahead of Coledan and 13 ahead of both Jan Bakelants (RadioShack) and Martin Velits (Omega Pharma-QuickStep).
It will be interesting to see how the start order affects Roman Kreuziger, who will head down the ramp almost two hours before the other race favourites. Rumour has it conditions may get less windy later in the day...
The current fastest time at the finish has been set by Garmin-Barracuda's Robbie Hunter, the South African completing the 8.7km course in 10:54. Colnago's Marco Coledan of Italy has the second best time, 8 seconds down.
Stage favourites Taylor Phinney (BMC) and Jack Bobridge (GreenEdge) start at 17:47 and 15:33 respectively. Also watch out for local talent Alex Rasmussen (Garmin) at 18:01. Thor Hushovd (BMC) could be one to watch at 17:19, ditto Daniele Bennati (RSK) at 16:46, while Sky Brits Mark Cavendish and Geraint Thomas start at 16:55 and 17:43 respectively.
The first of the big race favourites to start this ITT will be Roman Kreuziger (Astana) at 15:54. Others to note: Rigoberto Uran (Sky) at 17:17, Domenico Pozzovivo (Colnago) at 17:28, Damiano Cunego (Lampre) at 17:35, John Gadret (Ag2R) at 17:59, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) at 18:07, Frank Schleck (RadioShack) at 18:09, Ivan Basso (Liquigas) at 18:13 and Michele Scarponi (Lampre) at 18:19.
It's cold and windy today in the Danish town of Herning, with temperatures around 8 degrees celsius and the sun peeking through the clouds. No doubt loads of bacon sandwiches have been devoured this morning - particularly from Saxo Bank.
The favorites to take the win today include American time trial machine Taylor Phinney (BMC), Australian chrono specialist Jack Bobridge (Orica GreenEdge) and Welsh wonder Geraint Thomas (Sky), who won the recent Tour of Romandie prologue. This opening stage, incidentally, is not a prologue because it is over 8km in length.
Today's 8.7km course is flat but quite technical, with 19 turns - including one hairpin at around 300 degrees - around the town of Herning. The roads start off pretty narrow but get wider as we get into the parcours. The time gaps should appear in the second half of the race because most of the large bends and corners come early on.
Rodriguez heads down the ramp to get the 2012 Giro d'Italia under way! He'll be followed by Italy's Marco Bandiera (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Jonas Aaen Jorgensen (Saxo Bank) of Denmark and Austria's Bernhard Eisel (Team Sky).
198 riders are taking part in this year's race and the first to start this 8.7km ITT is Venezualan Jackson Rodriguez of Androni Giocattoli, who will head down the ramp at 14:40. The riders will then leave at one-minute intervals until the final 23 riders, who will leave at two-minute intervals.
Welcome to live coverage of the opening stage of the 95th edition of the Giro d'Italia. We're 1,200 miles away from Italy in the Danish town of Herning for the 8.7km race against the clock.