Many thanks for joining us today for live coverage of the opening stage - be sure to return tomorrow for the first road stage of the race, a 177km slog from Albenga to Genova which should end in a bunch sprint.
San Lorenzo al Mare - Sanremo
Giro d'Italia - 9 May 2015
Giro d'Italia – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 21:10 on 9 May 2015. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Confirmation that the pink jersey is Simon Gerrans, which will be music to the Aussie veteran's ears after a string of setbacks this season. He lives just up the road with his family in Monaco and so it's smiles all round for the man who has career stage wins in all three Grand Tours.
So, that's it. Orica-GreenEdge win the opening team time trial - just like they did last year. Tinkoff-Saxo take second, Astana third after leading for the majority of the event.
Just six riders for FDJ but that's a good time - 26 seconds down for eight place.
Only the 18th best time for Cannondale-Garmin, who come home in a time of 20:19. To think they used to be quite good at this discipline...
So, it's not officially over, but Cannondale and FDJ shouldn't pose Orica-GreenEdge any problems and so it will be a maillot rosa for Simon Gerrans today.
It's not the fastest, but it's a top time for Tinkoff-Saxo, who come home seven seconds down on Orica-GreenEdge in a time of 19:33. Second best for Contador's men, who set down an early marker against the other GC favourites.
Tinkoff-Saxo are roaring along so fast that they've shed three riders, including veteran Basso. Can they topple Orica-GreenEdge and take the pink jersey? They're entering the final kilometre now...
Eighth place for Katusha for now, with a time of 19:53.
Tinkoff-Saxo are two seconds up at the first check, but both Basso and Contador were momentarily distanced just there, so they will lose time bringing it back together.
That's it - the final team rolls down the ramp in the form of FDJ. The French outfit does not have an out-and-out GC riders, but expect to see a fair bit of Kenny Elissonde, Jussi Veikkanen and Kevin Reza, a new recruit from Europcar.
Jurgen van den Broeck looks lean and mean as he drives his Lotto-Soudal team-mates across the line in a time of 19:55. They had just the five riders, including Greipel.
Cannondale-Garmin are the penultimate team to leave the start house today. They have former champion Ryder Hesjedal, former great hope Thomas Danielson and promising tyros Tom Jelte Slagter and Davide Villella.
Not bad from LottoNL-Jumbo, who cross the finish line in a time of 20:02 for ninth place.
The Tinkoff-Saxo team of Alberto Contador roll down the ramp. The Spaniard is the out-and-out favourite to win this Giro, and has a very strong team to support his bid for a rare Giro-Tour double. Veterans Ivan Basso and Sergio Paulinho, climbers Michael Rogers and Roman Kreuziger and the experienced Matteo Tosatto will all be an asset to Contador over the next few weeks.
And here come Orica-GreenEdge... they are looking very solid and it's a question of whom they will put into the pink? It's the best time for GreenEdge - 13 seconds quicker than Astana with a time of 19:26. And it's veteran Simon Gerrans who crosses the line first and is in provisional pink.
CCC Sprandi are 30-odd seconds down in ninth place as they cross the line in a time of 20:11.
The Katusha team of Luca Paolini and surprise Tour of Romandie winner Ilnur Zakarin get their race under way.
Orica-GreenEdge have gone out very quickly - eight seconds faster than anyone else at the first check. But Etixx were also fast out of the traps, before fading. This one is going to do right to the wire.
Just five more teams to start now, starting with the Lotto-Soudal team of Jurgen van den Broeck and Andre Greipel.
Current top five: 1. Astana 19:39, 2. Etixx-QuickStep 19:45, 3. Movistar 19:47, 4. BMC 19:51, 5. IAM Cycling 19:51
It was Fabio Aru who led Astana over the line first, so the 24-year-old Sardinian could well be in pink tonight if Orica-GreenEdge cannot pull something out of the bag.
Movistar cross the line eight seconds down on Astana to take third place. Their time was 19:47.
Back to the start ramp, and it's Team Lotto NL-Jumbo - the only team with just eight riders after Kiwi rider George Bennett was ruled out by race organisers when pre-race UCI tests revealed he had a low cortisol level.
Down the ramp go last year's TTT winners, Orica Greenedge. They are without the injured Svein Tuft, who wore the pink jersey after last year's team time trial in Belfast, but have the likes of Michael Matthews, Estaban Chaves, Simon Gerrans and Pieter Weening. They are many people's favourites for today...
IAM Cycling finish with five riders to set a solid time of 19:51, which is just 12 seconds down in Astana for third place provisionally.
Next up is CCC Sprandi Polkowice, the Polish pro conti team of Davide Rebellin and Stefan Schumach-- hang on... those two aren't allowed to race as part of an alleged agreement between the team and RCS, the race organisers. The boys in orange boast the likes of Maciej Paterski, Grega Bole and Sylwester Szmyd.
Can anyone topple Astana? Giant-Alpecin can't: the bearded Simon Geschke leads the team over the line, but they're 36 seconds down on the leaders with 20:15.
The Southeast team of veteran sprinter Alessandro Petacchi are next to start. If they don't sound familiar it's because they used to be called Neri-Sottoli and needed a face lift following the doping scandals of Danilo Di Luca, Mauro Santambrogio and Matteo Rabottini.
Etixx-QuickStep are down to six riders as they cross the line six seconds down on Astana for provisional second place. That time from the Kazakh team is looking even more impressive by the minute. 19:44 for Etixx.
Next up is Movistar, who have also sent quite a strong squad. Benat Intxausti is their GC hope, supported by the likes of Igor Anton, Andrey Amador, Jon Izaguirre and Jesus Herrara. Giovanni Visconti will hunt some breaks, while Juan Jose Lobato will contest the sprints. In the absence of defending champion Nairo Quintana, we have the Colombian's younger brother, Dayer, who makes his Grand Tour debut.
Vasil Kiryienka leads Sky onto the finishing straight and grimaces in pain as he drives his team-mates towards the line. But it won't be enough. Their eight riders set the third best time of 19:53, which is 14 seconds down on Astana's target time.
Etixx-QuickStep are riding very well - despite almost overcooking one of the narrow corners and running very close to the verge. They have set the best intermediate time so we could see a new leader shortly...
Off go the IAM Cycling team of Sylvain Chavanel, Henrich Haussler and Matteo Pelucchi. The Swiss squad don't really have a GC man so will be hunting individual honours this year.
It would be remiss not to mention the fact that today marks the fourth anniversary of the sad passing away of Wouter Weylandt, the Belgian rider who was killed in a fall in stage 3 of the 2011 Giro d'Italia. Our thoughts are with his friends, family and former team-mates. #WW108
Giant-Alpecin the next to start this TTT. In the absence of both Kittel and Degenkolb, their sprinting duties will be left to Luca Mezgec (a stage winner in Trieste last year) and Nikias Arndt. Always a strong unit, they should go quite strong in today's challenge - especially with the big engine of road captain Simon Geschke.
Here come the day-glo jersey sof Bardiani CSF, with eight riders in contention as they sweep onto the finishing straight. It's the third best time - 20:03, 24 seconds down on leaders Astana.
Etixx-QuickStep roll down the ramp. They have quite a motley crew of riders here, with no much support for Rigoberto Uran, who has finished runner up in the past two years here in Italy. Tom Boonen makes a belated debut in the Giro, aged 34, after missing out on both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. Gianni Meersman is due a big race, while Maxim Bouet is always an asset.
Just six riders for Trek as they approach the line. One rider is dropped, and then another, meaning there's a small gap between the first four, and the firth rider needed to set the time of 19:55. It's the second fastest, but 16 seconds down on Astana's target.
Androni-Sidermec set the third best time so far: 20:23 at 44 seconds adrift.
Richie Porte's push for the pink jersey gets under way as Team Sky roll down the ramp. It's the British team's strongest ever Giro squad with the likes of Mikel Nieve, Vasil Kiryienka, Bernard Eisel, Kanstantin Siutsou and Leopold Konig all on the roster. They have Elia Viviani for sprints and Salvatore Puccio, Bernie Eisel and Seb Henao to carry water and do domestique duties.
BMC get their race under way - and they have the Giro's youngest rider on their team, 21-year-old Rick Zabel, son of former green jersey king Erik Zabel. Damiano Caruso is their GC hope, while the likes of Silvan Dillier, Darwin Atapuma and Philippe Gilbert will be sniffing out stage wins.
Now it's Astana rampaging towards the line - and they have all nine riders who come home a huge 39 seconds clear with the fastest time of 19:39. Impressive stuff - although the competition hasn't been up to much so far.
As the cameras lingered on one Italian wildcard team, another rolled down the ramp. Bardiani CSF have the likes of Enrico Battaglin, Nicola Boem, Sonny Colbrelli, Stefano Pirazzi and Edoardo Zardini on their roster. Don't expect much from them today - but you'll be sure to see a whole host of Bardiani riders in a breakaway near you soon...
With seven riders, Pro Conti team Androni-Sidermec make their way down the finishing straight to set a time of 20:29, the slowerst time so far and 15 seconds adrift of leaders Ag2R-La Mondiale.
New fastest time set by Ag2R-La Mondiale, who come home with seven riders in a time of 20:14 which is 11 seconds quicker than Lampre-Merida.
Trek Factory Racing are primed to start... and down the ramp they go in their black and white minimalist kit. Their sprinter is Giacomo Nizzolo and their stage hunter is Fabio Felline. That aside, there's not much to write home about.
On course now it's the peach and black shirts of Nippo-Vini Fantini, whose main man is former Giro champion Damiano Cunego.
Lampre-Merida cross the finish line with six riders to set the target time of 20m 25s.
Today's TTT starts at the foot of the famous Cipressa climb, which features in the finale of the annual Milan-San Remo spring classic. With the exception of the 1.6km tunnel, it's a costal affair running along a disused railway line that has been turned into a bike path. It's fast, flat and sheltered - so expect some speedy times and a bunched leaderboard.
Now it's the turn of the Astana team of Italian youngster Fabio Aru, who finished third last year. It's been a different story altogether in 2015 with Aru struggling with form and fitness and good health. There have also been some controversial rumours doing the rounds, which won't help Astana's cause in mending their tarnished name. It remains to be seen if Aru can replicate last year's blistering performances - one suspects not.
Ag2R-La Mondiale's Julien Berard has already been distanced by his team-mates...
Now it's the turn of the Androni-Sidermec team of Italian veteran Franco Pellizotti. With the exception of Romanian Serghei Tvetvoc, it's an all-Italian team boasting the likes of Davide Appollonio, Marco Bandiera, Marco Frapporti and Oscar Gatto.
The Ag2R-La Mondiale team of Domenico Pozzato get their race under way. It will be interesting to see how Colombian Carlos Betancur rides for the French team after nearly two years of bad form and fitness concerns.
Lampre's GC man is Przemyslaw Niemiec, although the Pole does not have real designs on a podium finish. They'll look for stages through the likes of Diego Ulissi, Roberto Ferrari and Sacha Modolo.
It's an interesting route today, running pretty much entirely along a coastal bike path that has been laid on a disused railway line. There's a kilometre-long tunnel shortly after the start - but apart from that the route hugs the coast all the way to the finish. The corners are soft and the path is very narrow, meaning it should be a very fast route. But such is the width of the road, there are some points where support cars will not even be allowed... so fingers crossed for no crashes, punctures or mechanicals. In terms of gradient, it's pretty much pan-flat.
And they're off! Lampre-Merida - the first of 22 teams - roll down the ramp to get this race under way...
Italian team Lampre-Merida will be the first down the ramp in a matter of minutes. Teams will be leaving at five-minute intervals with Ag2R-La Mondiale off second, then Androni Giocattoli and Astana. Looking at the other favourites, BMC starts at 14:45, Team Sky and Etixx-Quickstep follow them at 14:50 and 14:55 respectively. Orica-GreenEdge start at 15:25, with Tinkoff-Saxo off at 15:45. Cannondale-Garmin starts at 15:50, with FDJ the last team to start at 15:55. All times in GMT.
The favourites for today's team time trial will be the Orica-GreenEdge of spring tyro Michael Matthews. Remember, the Australian squad won last year's TTT in Belfast to put Svein Tuft into the pink jersey on his 39th birthday. Some present!
Hello and welcome to live coverage of the 98th edition of the Giro d'Italia! Things kick off with a 17.6km team time trial from San Lorenzo al Mare to San Remo on the Ligurian coast in northern Italy.