|Sütterlin punching it on the finishing straight (Photo: Race Wesbite)|
Taking advantage of some of the only flat parcours they will have, the German duo of Jasha Sütterlin and Maximilian Schachmann (both Thüringer Energie) went 1-2 in the opening 2.5 kilometer prologue with Sütterlin taking the win by a slim .81 of a second. This prologue was a stark contrast to the last few years which featured a twisting uphill prologue that favored lithe climbers.
The opening event of the 50th Giro Ciclisto della Valle d'Aosta took place in Pont-Saint-Martin, a small valley town that sits near the border of the Valle d'Aosta and Piemonte. The course was a 2.5 kilometer loop that went started in town, near the 1st-century Roman bridge, and looped around to the west before heading back into the city center for the finish. Pont-Saint-Martin is one of the small gateways to the Aosta Valley, the smallest, least populated and least densely populated region in Italy and home to mythic peaks and stunning scenery.
The race features 22 teams but with only 5-man teams (and a four man Euskadi squad), the race started with only 109 riders. Sütterlin, a consistent threat in nearly any TT, was the easy favorite and put on a storming performance. Schachmann, last year's 3rd place in the World Junior TT in Valkenburg, continued his streak of impressive time trialling performances with 2nd place and by next year, he should be contending for even more wins. The next closest rider was Swiss Adrian Chenaux (Atlas Personal-Jakroo), which made for an all-Teutonic podium. Chenaux is no stranger to the hills of Aosta as he finished 24th overall here last year.
Diego Brasi (Palazzago) wore #1 on his back, courtesy of Fabio Aru's winning performance here last year, and did well by going 4th and was one of only three Italians in the top 10. While some of the Italian media lamented about Italy's lack of strong time trialling, it should be noted that many of the Italian teams are loaded with climbers and will be looking to the hills to make the race. The mountains of Aosta and Rhône-Alpes, the French region the race will be going through, will negate (or vastly expand depending on how you see it) the time gaps of a short flat prologue.
- Jasha Sütterlin (Thüringer Energie)
- Maximilian Schachmann (Thüringer Energie)
- Adrian Chenaux (Atlas Personal-Jakroo) +2"
- Diego Brasi (Palazzago) +3"
- Xandro Meurisse (Lotto-Belisol U23) +4"
- Daniel Peeters (Ventilair-Steria) +5"
- Loïc Vliegen (BMC Development)
- Mattia Frapporti (Trevigiani)
- Jan Brockoff (Thüringer Energie) +6"
- Marco Chianese (Palazzago)
Placings for some GC contenders include...
-19th Louis Vervaeke (Lotto)
-20th Mathieu Le Lavandier (Chambery CF)
-27th Haritz Orbe (Euskadi)
-29th Daniele Dall'Oste (Trevigiani)
-39th Pierre-Roger Latour (Chambery CF)
-54th Davide Formolo (Petroli Firenze)
-58th Pierre Paolo Penasa (Zalf Euromobil)
-69th Clement Chevrier (Chambery CF)
-71st Bahktiyar Kozhatayev (Astana CT)
Tuesday's flat will be sorely missed as tomorrow will be mountain heavy with four categorized summits along with back-to-back category one ascents in the Col St. Pantaléon and the uphill finish at La Magdeleine. Without a juggernaut like Fabio Aru or Joe Dombrowski this year, the race will be more open but look to some of the highlighted riders for high finishes.