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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, May 12, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

If you aren't in over your head, how do you know how tall you are? - T.S.Eliot

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Giro d'Italia stage one team reports

We posted the organizer's report with the results.

Winner Primoz Roglic's Jumbo-Visma team sent me this:

Primoz Roglic has claimed the pink jersey in the Giro d’Italia in an impressive way. The Team Jumbo-Visma rider completed the eight kilometres long time trial in 12:54. He was nineteen seconds faster than number two Simon Yates.

Primoz roglic

Primoz Roglic gets the first pink jersey. Sirotti photo

For Roglic, the victory is his eighth win of the season. For Team Jumbo-Visma it’s the fourteenth victory. Earlier this year, he already won the Tour de Romandie, the UAE Tour and the Tirreno-Adriatico. In Romandie, he also won the individual time trial, while he and the team won the team time trial in the UAE Tour.

“I am super happy. It’s an amazing feeling that I’ve won and that I’ll start in the pink jersey tomorrow”, Roglic said. The time trial in Bologna finished on San Luca, a climb of two kilometres with an average of ten percent. “I didn’t have any tactics. I started fast and tried to keep my pace on the climb. This is a great start, but I’m aware that the happiest man on earth will be the man who’ll wear the jersey in Verona. There’s a long way to go, but we started very well. I’m looking forward to the upcoming three weeks.”

According to Head of Performance Mathieu Heijboer, everything came together today. “Primoz has developed himself really quickly in our team. This is the first time we started with him as the absolute leader. This time trial suited him very well. It’s great it all worked out.”

Roglic rode his race with a special handle bar. Heijboer: “Also, the development of the time trial suit from AGU, the bike and all the work in the wind tunnel of TU Eindhoven have contributed to this result. Besides that, we’ve developed a new handle bar together with Jumbo, FSA and Bianchi. This handle bar was custom made for Primoz. It fits his time trial position, it’s lighter and more aerodynamic and it’s much more comfortable than the handle bar he used before. We’re very grateful to our partners who have invested a lot in this for our team.”

Here's the report from Simon Yates' Mitchelton-Scott team:

Vuelta a Espana champion Simon Yates has finished second on the opening time trial of the Giro d’Italia, setting his first 2019 Grand Tour campaign off in strong style.

Simon Yates

Simon Yates riding to second place. Sirotti photo

Only Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) had the better of the 26-year-old, blitzing the field with a time of 12minutes 57seconds, 19seconds faster than Yates.

The opening stage of the 2019 Giro d’Italia, an eight kilometre time trial from Bologna to San Luca, was a tale of two clear parts. The first 5.9km through town were untechnical but flat, favouring the pure time trial specialists, before a sharp turn onto the final 2.1km climbed to the top of San Luca, a challenging ascent with an average gradient of 9.7% and maximum pinch of 16%.

The intermediate time check, at the bottom of the climb saw Roglic lead by one second to teammate Josh van Emden and four seconds to Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), with Yates at 18seconds.

By the top of the climb Roglic had one extra second on Yates, but the duo had both gained time on the remainder of their general classification rivals. Nibali eventually finished a further four seconds down on Yates for third place.

The forecast for a possible late storm saw most of the general classification contenders opt to go down the ramp first for their teams, with the exception Mitchelton-SCOTT’s Yates. In the end, the advantage didn’t really occur either way, with the weather remaining relatively stable through all 176-riders.

Simon Yates:
“I did all I could. Maybe I went a little bit too easy at the start but that was also the tactic, you can’t go full gas start to finish, I knew I could gain or lose a lot of time on the climb. It was only a little bit, but it was calculated.

“I felt good. It was only a short effort of course, but I feel good.

“We’ve seen how (Roglic) has been going this year, he’s won every stage race he has started and he also won’t the time trial in Romandie so he is in great form so we were expecting him to be either first or second. 

“There was a moment of doubt when I saw everyone was going off early today but we looked at the weather and it looked like it was going to be ok, and it was in the end. I am happy the race has started now, I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time and we’re finally here.”

Matt White:
“Simon has had a solid start, all three time trials are days we want to limit our losses so to gain time on everyone but one, is a good result. These first 12 stages are about not losing time and saving energy. After today, besides Mikel Landa, are within 30seconds so the gaps will stay fairly similar.”

Here's the report from third-place Vincenzo Nibali's Bahrain Merida team:

A good third place for Vincenzo Nibali in the ITT around Bologna with which the 2019 Giro d’Italia started, On the 8k of the route with the final climb of the San Luca, the Italian champion concluded with a 23” gap from the stage winner and first race leader the Slovenian Primoz Roglic.

Voincenzo Nibali

Vincenzo Nibali on his way to third place. Sirotti photo

“It was a very difficult time trial – explains Nibali – we knew the climb well to have faced it many times at the Giro dell’Emilia, so we knew we had to push into the plain and then manage the most difficult part of the test. My time was pretty good, while Roglic really did have an exceptional time. ”

Good result also for Damiano Caruso who finished in 10th position. “It was important to verify the condition and I am very satisfied with my performance. It was a particular ITT with an explosive ending that really didn’t fit my characteristics and being in the Top Ten is the confirmation that I worked well in the last period”.

“A nice start in line with what we thought – comments SD Alberto Volpi – with a Vincenzo on more than discreet levels and with Damiano and Domenico (19th) both authors of a good race. Let’s go on like this”.

Here's the update from Tom Dumoulin's Team Sunweb:

The Giro d’Italia started today with an eight kilometre time trial around the streets of Bologna. However, it wouldn’t be a straightforward effort against the clock as the route finished with the climb of San Luca, famous for its use in the Giro dell’Emilia. With brutally steep gradients throughout the ascent and several sections above ten percent, it would prove to be pivotal in the outcome of the day.

Tom Dumoulin

Tom Dumoulin heading up the hill. Sirotti photo

Tom Dumoulin was the very first rider down the ramp, powering along the flat before taking on the ascent. The steep gradients would see Dumoulin deliver a measured performance, sat in the saddle, before crossing the line and setting a strong benchmark time. However, his time would be surpassed by eventual stage winner Roglic, with Dumoulin finishing in fifth place at the end of the day.

“It was a tough time trial with the super steep final climb,” explained Dumoulin at the finish. “I was completely on the limit but I think I paced myself pretty well. I kept a little bit back on the flat before the climb. I went all out and of course hoped for the win, but it wasn’t possible. It is what it is and I am still satisfied with my performance; we are only eight kilometres into the Giro and at this point Roglic is better than the rest.”

Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef added: “It was a solid start for the team and a good TT by Tom, where he was strong on the climb. We were maybe a little conservative on the flat section but overall it was a good effort. For the coming stages we will focus on protecting Tom and the team’s position on GC.”

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