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Giro d'Italia 2019: Overall favourite Primoz Roglic wins Stage 1 TT to take first pink jersey

Jack Elton-Walters
11 May 2019

Bringing the news that could have been reported hours ago: Primoz Roglic in pink after winning the Stage 1 TT at the 2019 Giro d'Italia

Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) won the Stage 1 time-trial at the 2019 Giro d'Italia and with it gained the first pink jersey of the race. The Slovenian spent a lot longer in the hot seat behind the podium than he did actually riding the race, thanks to a combination of an early start time, a rapid time-trial and the protracted nature of 176 riders going off individually.

Already one of the pre-race favourites, Roglic's ride was of such dominance that some riders who might have a chance of the overall win in three weeks from now - such as Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb), Mikel Landa (Movistar) and others - already find themselves adrift of the race lead.

Another of the pre-race favourites, Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) went off third to last after all the other main contenders went out much earlier in the day. Having sat around since his own ride finished, Roglic watched nervously as Yates attacked the ascent.

Despite a strong climb, spending Alberto Contador amounts of time out of the saddle, Yates was shy of the required time to take the stage win but his performance was enough for second on the day and already opens the gap to the rest of his rivals.

Dominant so far this year in one-week stage races, and off the back of fourth at last year's Tour de France, Roglic could well spend the entire three weeks in pink. He could also capitulate Yates-style at any moment in the mountains. It's a long way to Verona, so who knows.

Dumoulin did not look like the rider who won the 2017 Giro or the rider who took back-to-back second places at last year's Giro and Tour. His deficit to Roglic and Yates will undoubtedly be greater than he or his team would have wanted, however it's certainly not terminal.

For riders in the top 10 and within touch of the lead, the next week or so should be a much less stressful affair than it will be for Jumbo-Visma and their leader Roglic as they ride to defend the Maglia Rosa. That said, they may opt to let it go to a non-threatening breakaway rider to give themselves a bit of a break.

Giro d'Italia 2019 Stage 1: a short ride to the summit

The Stage 1 time-trial to start the 102nd Giro d'Italia may have only been 8.2km but it was still a stage of two, albeit unequal, halves. The first half, covering 6km, was a flat all out effort that saw riders whip along at top speed.

The second saw the road then turn around a tight hairpin where the gradient ramped up straightaway. Despite everyone knowing this to be the case, a worrying number of riders hit the steep slope on the big ring and struggled to shift down and get going again.

The General Classification riders mostly stuck with their TT bikes but sprinter Arnaud Demare was an early starter who did decide to make a bike change from TT to road set-up. GC-nearly man Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) did the same later in the day.

The 2km climb to the finish at the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca, a basilica church that sits almost 300m above the city, was reached by a 2.1km uphill struggle at an average of 10%.

Most of the GC favourites had completed their ride within the first hour or so of the stage and so we could see who the main winners and losers were with just 8.2 of the 3,518km ridden. However Yates, last year's multiple-stage winner and race leader until it all went wrong on Stage 19, had opted to go out third to last.

There are pros and cons to this approach - see what everyone else has done vs sit around for hours while your rivals relax post-stage, for example - but according to Sir Bradley Wiggins, a man who knows a thing or two about Grand Tour time-trialling, in the Eurosport studio the late start could only be a bad thing.

The 2019 Giro d'Italia continues tomorrow, Sunday 12th May, with a 200km rolling road stage from Bologna to Fucecchio.