Mark Cavendish became the first British rider to pull on the Maglia Rosa after his Columbia Highroad team led from the front to take the team time trial victory on a 20km course along the Venetian seafront. Cavendish, who led the team over the line, takes the overall lead.
Talking after the win, Cavendish said, "I'm so happy - the team worked perfect. We did no TTT training like some of the other teams but I think it shows how close we work together as a team. We just drop in and everybody knows their job. It was perfect".
In a way the biggest losers of the day were Garmin Slipstream, who had trained hard for the TTT and went on record as saying it was one of their main aims for the race, a statement that's brought them a lot of criticism. They were the pre-race favourites but Columbia Highroad went out in the unfavoured first slot and set a blistering pace. completing the course in 21:50. David Millar and Bradley Wiggins' Garmin team came in just six seconds behind.
Astana, who went out last, finished a further seven seconds back in third. Armstrong was clearly hurting by the end but had the strength to lead his team over the line; whether that'll translate into any meaningful challenge on the podium remains to be seen.
Cavendish had already earmarked Sunday's 156km Stage 2 from Jesolo to Trieste as a target, so the chance to stay in pink will surely make him all the keener to add a second stage victory. Should he hit the line first he'll match his 2008 tally of two stage wins.
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.