Friday, May 9, 2008
Lemont native Christian Vande Velde pulled on the maglia rosa today at the completion of todays 23.6km TTT to open the 91st edition of the Giro d'Italia .
Team Slipstream-Chipotle had announced that the opening TTT had been a major objective after being invited to the Giro for the first time. Having the national time trial champions on the squad didn't hurt their chances either. The team has been considered an underdog by many, but they proved their worth today averaging over 33 mph for more than 26 minutes, beating well established powerhouses such as CSC and Astana.
The team hopes to be able to keep the maglia rosa for a few more days, and pin their hopes for a few stage wins on sprinter Magnus Backstedt of Sweden. Making the victory even more sweet for the Americans on Slipstream-Chipotle was the fact that the last time an American was in pink was Andy Hampsten's overall win in 1988. Perhaps 20 years has been long enough, and American will be wearing pink in Milano.