Bologna - Slovenian
Primoz Roglic won the first stage of the Giro d'Italia on Saturday
ahead of Britain's Simon Yates, pulling on the leader's pink jersey
after an eight kilometre individual time-trial.
The three-week race got underway in Bologna and finished with an
uphill ride to the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca, overlooking the
city in northeast Italy.
Roglic clocked 12:54 to finish 19 seconds ahead of Yates, who
declared on Friday he is "the number one favourite," with last year's
winner and fellow Briton Chris Froome not competing.
"The important thing is to be in pink on the final day (June 2) in
Verona," said Roglic, riding for the Jumbo-Visma team, who becomes the
first Slovenian to wear the leader's jersey.
"It's true that I've had to wait a lot on the hot seat before I was declared the winner but I'm very happy with this victory.
"I didn't have any particular tactic except for going as fast as possible. I'm surprised by the gaps."
Italy's former two-time winner Vincenzo Nibali of Bahrain-Merida was
third fastest at 23 seconds with Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin, the 2017 champion,
just behind at 28sec along with Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez.
Roglic opted to start among the early riders with the threat of bad
weather looming with only Vuelta a Espana champion Yates, of
Mitchelton-Scott, sticking with tradition and going off among the
The weather remained dry even if the wind got stronger as the hours
went by which could have hampered Yates who came close to winning last
year before collapsing two days from the finish.
But the 26-year-old Briton had no regrets about his decision to start late.
"There was a moment of doubt when I saw everyone was going off early
today," said Yates, "but we looked at the weather and it looked like it
was going to be ok, and it was in the end.
"I did all I could. I'm happy the race has started now, I’ve been
looking forward to this for a long time and we're finally here.
"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.
"We’ve seen how (Roglic) has been going this year.. he's in great form so we were expecting him to be either first or second."
Roglic gained time on the flat around Bologna, to build up an 11 second advantage on Dumoulin at the intermediate stage.
He widened the gap on the climb up to San Luca, over 2.1km with a 9.7
percent gradient, and had time savour his performance, having to wait
nearly three hours for the conclusion of the stage.
For the 29-year-old Slovenian, a former ski jumper, it was the 30th victory of his career, and eighth in a time trial.
This season, Roglic won three stage races, the UAE Tour,
Tirreno-Adriatico and Tour de Romandie, as he warmed up for his second
appearance in the Giro.
He came close in 2016 to pulling on the pink jersey in the opening
time-trial only for Dumoulin to snatch victory at Apeldoorn, the
This time the Dutch rider could not match Roglic.
"I gave it everything, I was at the limit," said Dumoulin.
Sunday's second stage covers 205km between Bologna and Fucecchio,
finishing in the Tuscany hills, which should benefit the punchers, who
specialise in rolling terrain with short but steep climbs.
Results and overall standings after the opening stage of the Giro d'Italia on Saturday, an 8km individual time-trial around Bologna:
1. Primoz Roglic (SLO/Jumbo) 12min 54sec., 2. Simon Yates (GBR/MIT) at 19sec., 3. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/BAH) 23., 4. Miguel Angel Lopez (COL/AST) 28., 5. Tom Dumoulin (NED/SUN) same time., 6. Rafal Majka (POL/BOR) 33., 7. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBR/INE) 35., 8. Laurens De Plus (BEL/JUM) same time, 9. Bauke Mollema (NED/TRE) 39., 10. Damiano Caruso (ITA/BAH) 40.