Published Monday 28 May 2012

Olympic cyclist Jesse Sergent finished his first Grand Tour with a podium placing in the individual time trial in the final stage of the Giro d’Italia in Milan.

Sergent, riding for his Radioshack Nissan Trek team, was third in the test, shorted to 28.2km because of road works.

Sergent was fastest of the early starters and the first rider to go under the 34 minute barrier. He held that time for a considerable period until edged out by Sky’s Geraint Thomas by 14 seconds.

Like Sergent, the Welshman will now move attentions to the track to prepare for July’s London Olympics.

Course specialist Marco Pinotti (ITA, BMC Racing) proved the best coming home in 33:06, more than 30 seconds faster than Thomas. The Italian won the time trial in 2006 and was second fastest for the past two years.

Sergent, 23, said his first Giro was a massive experience.

“This was my first Grand Tour and it was hard,” Sergent said. “There was a lot of climbing. Me in the mountains…I am a big guy. Never in my life have I ridden such climbs. It was all pretty new for me, but it will make me stronger.

“Now first of all I look forward to my recovery and then I begin my preparation for the Olympic Games and the team pursuit for New Zealand.

“It was a great job from Jesse,” said team director Dirk Demol. “This was his first Grand Tour and these three weeks were so hard. It’s great what he did. Jesse is the future of cycling.”

The BikeNZ endurance track riders are all competing and training on the roads in Europe and will go into camp at the famed velodrome in Bordeaux late next month.