It was a birthday present with announcement that Orica-GreenEdge gave Canadian Svein Tuft for his 37th birthday: a pink jersey on the Emerald Isle - and that after Tuft finished last in the 2013 Tour de France. A wonderful highlight in the autumn of his career, which the team will definitely immortalize again in one of the notorious videos.
Such planned campaigns tend to go haywire; Cycling is not chess. The Australian team was fortunate enough to be able to drive on relatively dry roads. Half an hour later it looked much more disadvantageous for the teams that were on the road at all times. Some of the co-favorites for overall victory lost a lot of time on the first day. Nairo Quintana, for example, has 50 seconds to make up, Joaquin Rodriguez almost 1:30 minutes. But the Garmin-Sharp team with Fabian Wegmann was hit the hardest. With Daniel Martin they lost their man for the general classification in a crash. Four drivers slid away on the rain-soaked streets of Belfast. Martin of all people got it the worst with a broken collarbone and the fact that he had to give up the Giro after just under 15 minutes could be a new record for a rendezvous favorite. Ryder Hesjedal, after all the 2012 Giro winner, lost 3:21 minutes as a result of this mishap and can therefore probably forget the joker card.
Weather aside, Belfast was at its most party mood. The government has invested three million pounds to make the streets prettier and to be able to present themselves from their best side. The very atmospheric pictures, which almost reminded of a high mountain stage despite the flat route, showed that it was worth it.
On Saturday the riders can expect a flat but certainly windy 213 km long stage to the north of the island. Marcel Kittel will certainly give everything to set a first exclamation point in the sprint.