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Gallery: Van der Poel feasts on Giro d’Italia Stage 1 in Hungary

6 May 2022

The 2022 Giro d’Italia is underway, and in a BIG way. With the Grande Partenza in Hungary this year, Stage 1 saw riders roll out from the capital Budapest on a flat stage that finished with an uphill climb to Visegrád.

You’d be forgiven for thinking this was late in the race and all the teams were exhausted the way things played out but if you just tuned in for the final 2.5km, it was fireworks all the way to the line. Almost a mini San Remo.

The two-man breakaway of Drone Hopper-Androni-Giocattoli (and breathe) riders Filippo Tagliani and Mattia Bais quickly got ten minutes on the bunch before a slight panic set in and Alpecin-Fenix got to work.

With the final climb starting gently at 5.6km to go, Mathieu van der Poel’s Alpecin-Fenix were joined by Biniam Girmay’s Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux and Magnus Cort’s EF Education-EasyPost to drag the Italians back to get their favourites in position.

Of course nothing is straightforward in the first stage of a Grand Tour, so Lawrence Naesen attacked from the bunch early in the climb, followed by Lennard Kämna once he was brought in. Obviously that didn't last though.

Kämna stuck at it until just after 1km to go before his teammate, the stealthiest man in cycling, Wilco Kelderman led out the sprint from a long way out.

Unfortunately for him Van der Poel, Girmay, Cort and Caleb Ewan – who played down his chances of even being able to keep up for the finish – were ready to go.

Cort didn’t have the legs. Ewan rode into the back of Girmay’s wheel, crashing out in the final bend but fortunately missing everyone else. Girmay was ahead, the young Eritrean in the driver’s seat to take a win in his first ever Grand Tour stage.

Alas, Mathieu van der Poel is quite frankly otherworldly. Gurn engaged, the Dutchman powered past everyone in the last 100 metres, taking Girmay on the line to win the stage and take the maglia rosa, maglia ciclamino and maglia azzura. Girmay gets the maglia blanca for his efforts.

That means in his first two Grand Tours, Van der Poel has taken a stage win and the leaders jersey. We won’t bet against him winning Saturday’s time-trial either.

But you knew all that. You’re here for Chris Auld, star photographer of the world’s biggest cycling races. Here are his best pictures from Stage 1 of the 2022 Giro d’Italia.

Ain't that right. After presentations, the peloton began to head through Hungary.

Spurred on by some rather impressive looking men riding horses. It must be a metaphor. Four horse race or something.

There were plenty of Hungarian fans out to cheer through the day's breakaway.

The young…

And the old. This guy is a time-traveller for sure.

Shoutout these two. That bike is b e a utiful.

The uphill finish came down to Biniam Girmay and Mathieu van der Poel, with Caleb Ewan hitting the deck after touching the Eritrean's rear wheel. Hope he got his sunglasses back.

Safe to say Van der Poel was cooked. As per.

Shoutout to Bahrain Victorious's Pello Bilbao, who bagged himself third place on the day, the first of the GC contenders – and an official Dark Horse™️ – with four bonus seconds to boot.

Also Wilco Kelderman, the stealthiest man in the world, who led out the sprint and finished fifth. Also a Dark Horse™️.

Rumour has it every time Hugh Carthy gurns, a baby stops crying. Keep it up Hugh.

Do NOT mess with this guy for the foreseeable. He'll win on Sunday.

It was all smiles at the back of the bunch though, Girmay's compatriot Merhawi Kudus seemed to enjoy that one.

This might be why, the Eritrean fans were out in force.

Okay it's definitely why.

So did Cav. You LOVE to see it.

'Wait, you mean there are THREE Grand Tours?!'

Veni, vidi, Bini.

Job done for MVDP? Or is he going for ciclamino?

We're for the Stage 1 trophy, Mama van der Poel (alright, she goes by Poulidor still, shoutout Corinne) will love that for the kitchen.

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