Remco Evenepoel takes the stage and the maglia rosa from the start of the Giro d'Italia 2023
Belgian Remco Evenepoel confirmed his status as the favourite for the final victory in the Giro d'Italia with a resounding victory in the time trial that started this new edition of the race. Disappointing role of, a priori, his main rival, Primoz Roglic, who lost 43 seconds that will be hard to recover.
The law of Evenepoel rules at the Giro d'Italia from day one
The Giro d'Italia 2023 started with a time trial with a very unusual distance for a first stage, no less than 16.6 km, long enough to start to see some differences and, for the time being, the form of the main favourites.
All on a practically flat route between Fossacesia Marina and Ortona along the Adriatic coast, with just 100m of elevation gain concentrated in the last kilometres of the climb to the centre of Ortona. A small trap that forced the cyclists to regulate their strength throughout the stage.
Almost a perfect test of watts with a duration just over 20 minutes as witnessed by a Mads Pedersen who seems to have arrived in top form for this Giro d'Italia, clocking 22:20 as the first time to be reckoned with as riders paraded along the course awaiting the participation of the main names of this edition of the Corsa Rosa.
His time was short-lived because a tremendous Brandon McNulty made it clear that UAE Team Emirates has not come to stroll in this Giro, although its leader Joao Almeida, is theoretically a step below the names that appear in all bets to conquer the maglia rosa. His team-mate Jay Vine did the same on his debut in the Italian race, taking the provisional lead in the stage by shaving a couple of seconds off the time trial.
Tao Geoghegan was the first of the overall contenders to take the start, and he lived up to expectations about his form by shaving 6 seconds off Vine's time. Almost at the same time that he reached the finish line, Geraint Thomas, the other INEOS Grenadiers' asset, took off and reached the finish line in provisional 5th place. Minutes before, Joao Almeida had crossed the finish line, certifying the great role of UAE Team Emirates by achieving the best provisional time with 21:47.
And after them, we reached the climax of the time trial with the start of Remco Evenepoel, Primoz Roglic and Filippo Ganna, the main candidate to win the stage, with the permission of the Slovenian and the Belgian.
Remco started to impress from the first intermediate time trial point, reducing by no less than 20 seconds the time set by Geraint Thomas, in less than 10 km of time trial. Primoz Roglic lost 27 seconds to the Belgian at this point. Not even the giant from Verbania managed to get close to the Soudal-QuickStep rider's time, losing 12 seconds to Evenepoel.
This gap increased to 42 seconds over Roglic at the second timing point, at the foot of the final climb to Ortona, while the Italian held his own, losing 15 seconds.
At the finish, Remco Evenepoel took the best time and practically the mathematical victory in the stage with a stratospheric 21:18 and, of course, with the big prize, the maglia rosa with which he frightens his rivals from the first day. Primoz Roglic arrived shortly after, leaving a juicy 43 seconds that will be an important burden from the first day and will force the Slovenian not to speculate in the mountains.
Ganna had to settle for a bittersweet second place, clocking 21:40, 22 seconds behind an incredible Evenepoel. Good time also for Joao Almeida, in his line, and that leaves him in a good position to assert his usual resistance to the limit in the mountains. As we predicted at the beginning, substantial differences from the first moment that will leave no other option for those who want to assault the maglia rosa than to harden the race and seek to take advantage of all the traps that the race poses. Let's enjoy the Giro ahead.
Stage 1 Classification
- Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) 21’18’’
- Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers) +22’’
- Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) +29
- Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS Grenadiers) +40’’
- Stefan Kung (Groupama-FDJ) +43’’
- Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +43’’
- Jay Vine (UAE Team Emirates) +46’’
- Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) +48’’
- Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers) +55’’
- Alekxandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) +55’’