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by Abby Mickey
October 4, 2020
Photography by Cor Vos
On his brand new gold Pinarello with some snazzy rainbow decorations, Filippo Ganna of the Ineos Grenadiers won the opening time trial of the Giro d’Italia. He finished 22 seconds ahead of Deceuninck-Quick Step’s Joao Almeida and UAE-Team Emirates Mikkel Bjerg.
Ganna will wear pink in the second stage of the Giro d’Italia, a 149km long course from Alcamo to Agrigento on the Island of Sicily. Since the opening stage did not include any sprint points, Ganna also pulled on the purple sprint jersey at the end of the stage. On top of that, at 24 years of age, Ganna also qualifies for the best young rider competition and thus also wears the white jersey.
Rick Zabel was the fastest on the 1,100-meter long climb at the very start of the time trial and thus is the first to wear the blue mountains jersey.
The fight for pink began in Monreale, on the Island of Sicily, with an opening time trial. Although a short time trial at only 15.1km long, the opening stage was not considered a prologue. The UCI rules state that a prologue may not exceed 8km in length. A kind of prologue time trial hybrid isn’t unusual for the opening stage of the Giro d’Italia, last year the opening stage was a prologue, 7.8km long. The year before a 9.7km long time trial.
The faster riders were completing the 15-kilometer course in 16ish minutes. After an initial 1,100 meter gradual uphill the rest of the course was all downhill. Other than a set of switchbacks a few kilometers from the finish in Palermo, the run into town was a straight shot. Once in Palermo, the course veered left with a few tight turns and then a little out and back to get to the finish. All in all, a great course for the bigger TT specialists, and not ideal for the climber types who would just have to focus on limiting their losses.
The weather had a significant impact on the opening stage. Early on, the wind was strong enough to hamper some of the favorites, including Ineos Grenadiers rider Rohan Dennis. Seemingly out of nowhere Dennis was hit by a wind storm midway into Palermo. Many of the riders were thrown around in the wind, enough that some opted out of using rear-wheel disks.
The stage winner, Ganna, went for a 60×11 gearing due to the elevation loss over the 15.1km course. The new World ITT Champ also set a speed record on course with an average speed of 58.831 kph. The only man to go faster at the Giro was 58.874kph by Rik Verbrugghe in the 2001 prologue. Prologues are classified separately from time trials due to their short length.
“I am really happy. This jersey is fantastic for me, and my team will also be happy”. Ganna said when the stage had ended.
As for the general classification favorites, Geraint Thomas was able to gain some seconds over his rivals. Thomas finished only 23 seconds behind his teammate Ganna. Mitchelton Scott’s GC hopeful Simon Yates finished in 17th place, 26 seconds behind Thomas. Both Wilco Kelderman of Team Sunweb and Vincenzo Nibali of Trek-Segafredo lost 1:05 to Thomas, and Jumbo-Visma’s Steven Kruijswijk will start his GC battle with a 1:21 deficit.
Only one rider did not finish stage one. Astana’s Miguel Ángel López went down at the second time check and was taken away from the course in an ambulance. No news has been released on his condition just yet.
The Giro d’Italia continues with stage two, which will be relatively tame until the 3.7 km long 5.6% finishing climb. It looks like the kind of finish for a punchy rider, although the bottom of the climb features a few hairpins that could be the perfect place for a race-winning attack.
1. Filippo Ganna IGD, 15:24
2. Joao Almeida QST, +0:22
3. Mikkel Bjerg UAD, st
4. Geraint Thomas IGD, +0:23
5. Tobias Foss TJV, +0:31
6. Josef Cerny CCC, +0:36
7. Matteo Sobero NTT, +0:40
8. Lawson Craddock EF1, +0:41
9. Miles Scotson FDJ, +0:42
10. Matthias Brandle ISN, st