My heart says Alex, but my head says Phinney,’ my statement as I walked out the door of our rented cottage in search of a stable wi-fi connection. I would have loved Alex Rasmussen to win, but something told me that he wasn’t ‘sparkling.’ And the same voice told me the Giro d’Italia 2012 – Stage 1 around Herning was too far for Geraint Thomas.

The Romandie prologue was perfect – less than team pursuit distance.

But Herning was more than double that – Geraint hasn’t had time to get back the base you need to hang on at the limit for ten minutes.

Taylor Phinney celebrates taking the first stage and the race lead.

Phinney’s different, a real greyhound but with a Spring Classics campaign behind him to give him the edge on Geraint and his endless laps of Manchester.

A couple of years ago, if you mentioned Phinney’s training regime to team mates at Trek-Livestrong, they just laughed.

Training wasn’t his bag and his buddies marvelled at his palmares – achieved on minimal training.

Taylor has been a prodigious talent.

But when he moved up to the pro ranks with BMC there was a rude awakening.

For all the science and power metres, most top pros still do big hours on the bike.

Merckx used to do 300 kilometre runs; Van Petegem and Museeuw would put in factory hours in the saddle; Basso does a prodigious amount of hours too.

But credit to Phinney, he held his hand up and admitted that he hadn’t been getting it right and he’d have to change.

Change he has – and at 21 he’s leading a Grand Tour.

My first stage was a tough one.

The first wi-fi network showed five bars but there was no guts to the signal and it was ‘buffer hell.’

The second one only showed three bars but the signal was good with little buffering.

But I was bugging the barman; ‘this is a busy bar, I don’t want anything spilling on your computer!

Alex heads towards the finish of the Giro prologue last season. PhotoVeloNews/Graham Watson.

The only thing he forgot to add was, ‘fatso‘ at the end of the sentence.

To add insult to injury, there was a lady singing troupe practising in the bar – and buying not much that I could see.

Imagine a lot of cats getting whacked simultaneously by those bear traps with the big spikey jaws.

But what really bugged me about them was the fulsome applause they gave themselves after every screaming match.

‘Why the hell am I not in a bar in Bergamo?’ I thought to myself.

I skulked off to the corner, the signals were poor – I kept getting ‘stuck’ on close ups of Alex’s bum.

Cool if you’re a lady, no doubt – but making me squirm in my chair.

Just as Alex was starting the last couple of K’s of his ride, a table freed up, close to the bar – where I knew the signal was better.

I dashed across the room, ignoring looks from the Saturday bar lunch crew; ‘here, that boy’s a nutter!

All was well image-wise for Alex’s final breenge – but like I always say, those damn stop watches don’t lie.

‘F**k !’ I said out loud, to no one in particular – the well groomed chap having lunch with his daughters cast me a glance over the top of his trendy glasses.

I didn’t care, shaking my head as I glugged on my red wine – my exclusive with the Giro prologue winner had just evaporated before my eyes.

The girls looked at their paw; ‘I don’t think he’s quite right, daddy!

Basso looked the part, Frank Schleck didn’t – Scarponi, well, he knows that Phinney, Geraint and Alex will still be at the bottom of the Mortirolo when he’s half way up the thing.

Cav tomorrow?

I doubt it, but that man is good at proving me wrong.

Cav rocked up to the start of Gent-Wevelgem in a retro-style. How’s his form in this year’s Giro? Photo©John Young

Result - Giro d'Italia 2012 - Stage 1: Herning (ITT) 8.7km

Stage Result

1 Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:10:26
2 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:09
3 Alex Rasmussen (Den) Garmin – Barracuda 0:00:13
4 Manuele Boaro (Ita) Team Saxo Bank 0:00:15
5 Gustav Larsson (Swe) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:00:22
6 Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin – Barracuda
7 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 0:00:23
8 Marco Pinotti (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:00:24
9 Jesse Sergent (NZl) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:26
10 Nelson Oliveira (Por) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:27
11 Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
12 Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:00:28
13 Robert Hunter (RSA) Garmin – Barracuda
14 Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin – Barracuda
15 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:29
16 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro Team
17 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin – Barracuda
18 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
19 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:00:31
20 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Farnese Vini – Selle Italia 0:00:32
21 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan
22 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
23 Svein Tuft (Can) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 0:00:33
24 Julien Vermote (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
25 Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre – ISD
26 Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:34
27 Jan Barta (Cze) Team NetApp
28 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Astana Pro Team 0:00:36
29 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin – Barracuda
30 Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team
31 Marco Coledan (Ita) Colnago – CSF Inox
32 Luke Roberts (Aus) Team Saxo Bank 0:00:37
33 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Sky Procycling
34 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:00:39
35 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
36 Martijn Keizer (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
37 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team 0:00:41
38 Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan
39 Martin Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
40 Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:42
41 Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Garmin – Barracuda 0:00:43
42 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
43 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Movistar Team
44 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team
45 Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
46 Thomas Rohregger (Aut) RadioShack-Nissan
47 Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Procycling
48 Matthias Brandle (Aut) Team NetApp
49 Fabio Felline (Ita) Androni Giocattoli 0:00:44
50 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin – Barracuda
51 Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:00:45
52 Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin – Barracuda
53 Francis De Greef (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 0:00:46
54 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha Team
55 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling
56 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Sky Procycling
57 Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
58 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:47
59 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
60 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky Procycling
61 Branislau Samoilau (Blr) Movistar Team
62 Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:48
63 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha Team
64 Eros Capecchi (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:49
65 Daniele Bennati (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan
66 Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Sky Procycling
67 Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team
68 Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Team NetApp
69 José Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team
70 Reto Hollenstein (Swi) Team NetApp 0:00:50
71 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team
72 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
73 Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:00:51
74 Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
75 Christian Meier (Can) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
76 Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Katusha Team
77 Thomas Leezer (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:00:52
78 Michal Golas (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
79 Brian Bulgac (Ned) Lotto Belisol Team
80 Daniel Schorn (Aut) Team NetApp
81 Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Farnese Vini – Selle Italia
82 Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:53
83 Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team
84 Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Belisol Team
85 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Team Saxo Bank
86 Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank Cycling Team
87 Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team
88 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team
89 Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) FDJ-Big Mat
90 Alexsandr Dyachenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 0:00:54
91 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Colnago – CSF Inox
92 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Colnago – CSF Inox 0:00:55
93 Gaetan Bille (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team
94 Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
95 Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Arg) Team Saxo Bank 0:00:56
96 Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
97 Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team
98 Elia Favilli (Ita) Farnese Vini – Selle Italia
99 Jonas Aaen Jörgensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank 0:00:57
100 Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
101 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre – ISD
102 Stefan Denifl (Aut) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:00:58
103 Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Katusha Team
104 Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
105 Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
106 Juan Jose Oroz Ugalde (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi
107 Juan José Haedo (Arg) Team Saxo Bank 0:00:59
108 Frank Schleck (Lux) RadioShack-Nissan
109 Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale
110 Angelo Pagani (Ita) Colnago – CSF Inox
111 Timon Seubert (Ger) Team NetApp
112 Marco Bandiera (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
113 Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Astana Pro Team
114 Jack Bobridge (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 0:01:00
115 Pavel Brutt (Rus) Katusha Team
116 Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
117 Sacha Modolo (Ita) Colnago – CSF Inox 0:01:01
118 Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
119 Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Colnago – CSF Inox
120 Mikhail Ignatyev (Rus) Katusha Team 0:01:02
121 Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling 0:01:03
122 Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
123 Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
124 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre – ISD
125 Evgeny Petrov (Rus) Astana Pro Team
126 Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Androni Giocattoli 0:01:04
127 Daniele Righi (Ita) Lampre – ISD
128 Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Team NetApp 0:01:05
129 Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi
130 Ben Hermans (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan
131 Stefano Locatelli (Ita) Colnago – CSF Inox
132 Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Colnago – CSF Inox
133 Alfredo Balloni (Ita) Farnese Vini – Selle Italia
134 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:01:06
135 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre – ISD
136 William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
137 Dominique Rollin (Can) FDJ-Big Mat
138 Simone Ponzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team
139 Andreas Dietziker (Swi) Team NetApp 0:01:07
140 Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Belisol Team
141 Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team
142 José Rujano Guillen (Ven) Androni Giocattoli
143 Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 0:01:09
144 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
145 Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 0:01:10
146 Matteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
147 Pier Paolo De Negri (Ita) Farnese Vini – Selle Italia
148 Gregor Gazvoda (Slo) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:11
149 Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Katusha Team
150 Sergio Pardilla Bellon (Spa) Movistar Team
151 Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Team NetApp 0:01:12
152 Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
153 Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Team Saxo Bank 0:01:13
154 Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Sky Procycling
155 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) BMC Racing Team
156 Emanuele Sella (Ita) Androni Giocattoli 0:01:14
157 Jon Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi
158 Mathieu Perget (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
159 Francesco Failli (Ita) Farnese Vini – Selle Italia 0:01:15
160 Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Blr) Katusha Team 0:01:16
161 John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
162 Theo Bos (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
163 Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita) Lampre – ISD 0:01:17
164 Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
165 Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre – ISD 0:01:18
166 Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:01:19
167 Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre – ISD
168 Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi
169 Gabriel Rasch (Nor) FDJ-Big Mat
170 Oscar Gatto (Ita) Farnese Vini – Selle Italia
171 Johann Tschopp (Swi) BMC Racing Team 0:01:20
172 Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Col) Androni Giocattoli
173 Dennis Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team
174 Adrian Saez (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi
175 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team
176 Daniele Pietropolli (Ita) Lampre – ISD 0:01:21
177 Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
178 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:01:22
179 Anders Lund (Den) Team Saxo Bank
180 Manuel Belletti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:23
181 Guillaume Bonnafond (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:25
182 Oliver Zaugg (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan 0:01:26
183 Andrea Guardini (Ita) Farnese Vini – Selle Italia 0:01:27
184 Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar Team
185 Miguel Minguez Ayala (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi
186 Ivan Santaromita (Ita) BMC Racing Team
187 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Colnago – CSF Inox 0:01:28
188 Victor Cabedo (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi 0:01:29
189 Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:01:30
190 Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale
191 Mads Christensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank
192 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Farnese Vini – Selle Italia 0:01:32
193 Jackson Rodriguez (Ven) Androni Giocattoli
194 Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 0:01:33
195 Cristiano Salerno (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:01:34
196 Pierre Cazaux (Fra) Euskaltel – Euskadi 0:01:38
197 Carlos José Ochoa (Ven) Androni Giocattoli 0:01:39
198 Ivan Velasco Murillo (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi 0:01:44