Filippo Ganna flies to victory in first stage of Giro d’Italia
Italian repeats last year’s opening win as Dan Martin gives up time to most of his rivals
Filippo Ganna sped to victory in the opening stage of the Giro. Photograph: Alessandro Di Marco/EPA
World time trial champion Filippo Ganna sped to an impressive victory on day one of the Giro d’Italia on Saturday, dominating the race against the clock held in Turin. The Italian Ineos Grenadiers rider flew around the nine kilometre course, beating closest rival Edoardo Affini (Team Jumbo Visma) by a full 10 seconds.
The result completed two important doubles. Ganna repeated his opening day time trial win of one year ago and, more significantly, became the first rider since Francesco Moser in 1984 and 1985 to win the Giro’s first stage two years in succession.
“I am really happy,” he said. “Now we think about recovering well for tomorrow, because this Giro is very hard.”
Ganna is recognised as one of the top time trialists in the peloton but had a knock to his morale recently in the Tour de Romandie. He was only ninth in the prologue and 10th in the final time trial there, yet fared far better on the flat Turin streets. “After Romandie, my morale was not too high but now it is back,” he said, explaining that he rode without the normal information as his race radio was not working properly.
Lacking updates about his progress compared to the times of his rivals, he said that self-motivation did the trick. “I said, ‘Filippo, go full gas,’ and I arrived with this amazing victory.”
Nicolas Roche (Team DSM) was best of the two Irish competitors in the race, netting 46th. He was 40 seconds off Ganna’s time, while his first cousin Dan Martin (Israel Start Up Nation) conceded a further 17 seconds in placing 108th.
Martin is not a time trial specialist and was further disadvantaged by a pan-flat course which offered nothing to his climbing abilities.
Unlike Roche, who is riding the race in support of his teammate Jai Hindley, Martin is targeting the overall classification. The performance saw Martin concede time to most of his general classification rivals, most notably giving up 40 seconds to João Almeida (Deceuninck - QuickStep), fourth on the stage and fourth overall last year. He was 19 seconds behind Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange), who is arguably the biggest favourite for overall victory.
Martin had said prior to the race start that he considered Tuesday’s first summit finish as a much better indicator of his form, and will hope for a more prominent showing there. Before then, the riders will encounter two stages most likely to end in big sprints.