Orica GreenEdge rider Brett Lancaster was part of the winning squad in yesterday’s team time trial and today rides to protect the overall lead of Svein Tuft. He is clear on the biggest threat to the Maglia Rosa, and also about what is the best way to overcome that.

“If we can it’d be nice to keep Svein in there,” he told CyclingTips prior to the start of Saturday’s second stage of the race. “But Matthews is obviously our sprinter with a bit of speed here. So if it comes to it [he can step up]. Pettachi is only five seconds down. You never know with him.

“I’ve worked with him in the past and if he is on, he is on. All it takes is for him to take first or second today, then we lose it. We’ll try to get Matthews up there in the sprint, just for security.”

Stages two and three of the Giro d’Italia finish in Belfast and Dublin respectively and are both expected to conclude with bunch sprints. Longer term, once the race heads back to Italy there are tougher climbing roads to contend with; if Orica GreenEdge plays things correctly, the Maglia Rosa could be passed around the riders and kept within the team for some time.

“We are not a GC team, but [Ivan] Santaromita is our best chance,” he said. “Or Pieter Weening could hold it for quite a while if he is climbing well…and he has got good form.”

Tuft has spoken about his delight in leading the race, saying that he believed the team directed him to cross the line first because it was his birthday. Lancaster confirmed this today but said there was another reason too.

“It was that and also because he’s been part of every team that’s won a team time trial with us,” he said. “Of course he deserved it. It’s what the team prides ourselves on, giving everyone a go.

“Our goal now is to just survive these next two days [with the jersey]. I think it’s going to be pretty blistering conditions this afternoon, especially along the coast coming back. So, yeah, the aim is to just stay up the front and try to keep the pink.”