LA MADDALENA, Sardinia -- Liquigas cyclist Enrico Gasparotto
won the opening leg of the 90th edition of the Giro d'Italia on
Gasparotto finished the 15.9-mile team time trial that started
in Caprera in 33 minutes, 38 seconds.
Paolo Savoldelli and the Astana team were second -- 13 seconds
back -- followed by Fabian Cancellara's Team CSC, 30 seconds behind
Lance Armstrong's former team Discovery Channel looked on course
for the fastest time until its Ukrainian captain Jaroslav Popovych
fell shortly before the end, trying to negotiate one of the tricky
stage's 167 bends.
Discovery finished fifth, 49 seconds off the lead.
Giro favorites Damiano Cunego, who rides for Lampre-Fondital,
and Saunier-Duval rider Gilberto Simoni were fourth and 10th,
Francaise des Jeux rider Carlos Da Cruz missed the race after
fracturing his foot during Friday's opening ceremony. He will
return to France on Sunday and could miss the Tour de France.
Defending champion Ivan Basso and five other riders implicated
in a doping scandal were also absent from the 197-strong field.
Basso has admitted involvement with a doctor accused of running a
doping clinic in Madrid.
A seventh rider, Astana rider Eddy Mazzoleni of Italy,
reportedly was under pressure to withdraw from the race. However,
team manager Giovanni Fidanza denied the reports.
"There's no Mazzoleni case," Fidanza said. "No one has ever
asked us to stop the rider from racing. Eddy is relaxed and, as far
as we are concerned, he has nothing to do with the judicial
The course winds its way south Sunday in the 127.4-mile second
leg from Tempio Pausania to Bosa.
The Giro returned to Sardinia for the first time in 16 years.
Two more stages will be run on the Mediterranean island before the
race heads to Salerno and mainland Italy for the fourth stage on