Great Britain’s Simon Yates produced an impressive ride to take second place in the opening time trial of the Giro d’Italia as Primoz Roglic claimed victory in Bologna.
Mitchelton-Scott rider Yates, winner of La Vuelta, has made the Giro his primary focus this season and exuded confidence in the final pre-race press conference.
Yates spent two weeks in the leader’s pink jersey last year before his challenge faded in the mountains as Chris Froome went on a solo attack to secure a dramatic victory.
The Lancastrian was one of the last riders down the ramp to tackle Saturday’s 8.2 kilometre route, which had a sharp climb to the finish.
Yates, though, dug deep and looked set to challenge Roglic’s mark of 12 minutes and 54 seconds but eventually crossed 19 seconds adrift of the Team Jumbo-Visma rider.
Slovenian Roglic, who went off 12th, was the only man to break 13 minutes, with home favourite Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) finishing third, some six seconds behind Yates.
Stage One: Top 10
|Primoz Roglic||Team Jumbo-Visma||12′ 54”|
|Simon Yates||Mitchelton-Scott||13′ 13”|
|Vincenzo Nibali||Bahrain-Merida||13′ 17”|
|Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno||Astana Pro Team||13′ 22”|
|Tom Dumoulin||Team Sunweb||13′ 22”|
|Rafal Majka||Bora-Hansgrohe||13′ 27”|
|Tao Geoghegan Hart||Team Ineos||13′ 29”|
|Laurens De Plus||Team Jumbo-Visma||13′ 29”|
|Bauke Mollema||Trek-Segafredo||13′ 33”|
|Damiano Caruso||Bahrain-Merida||13′ 34”|
Dutchman Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) and Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) both shared fourth place with 13mins 22secs.
Britain’s Tao Geoghegan Hart took seventh place for Team Ineos with 13:29.
Roglic admitted afterwards he was “super happy” to claim the first pink leader’s jersey of the 2019 Giro, having had to wait the best part of three hours for all the other riders to finish.
Sunday’s second stage will be over some 205km down to Fucecchio, which features two categorised climbs ahead of a flat finish.