Giro: Stage 1 win for Ganna

No surprises on stage 1 as World Time Trial Champion Filippo Ganna wins the opening stage time trial for the 104th Giro d’Italia and wears Pink ahead of stage 2. Alex Dowsett 14th.

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Giro: Stage 1 win for Ganna

Mounted on the highest-tech children’s toy in Turin, Filippo Ganna once again proved himself a master. The pressure, the knowledge his every move was being scrutinised, the presence of his rival Remco Evenepoel – his vanquisher in the time trial at San Juan in January 2020 – just one minute ahead of him: he allowed none of this to distort his perception or dent his mental discipline.

Beneath the smothering helmet, behind the visor, the time trial is an orgy of violence turned inwards on the self. In the words of Edoardo Affini, who set the best time 27 minutes after his teammate Tobias Foss, and kept it for three minutes short of an hour until Ganna’s astonishing performance, “You have to destroy yourself. You have to push yourself over the limit. It’s really intense, and it’s really hard for the body to take it.”

Filippo Ganna pushed through the tidal pull of these tendencies, and, with machine-like perfection, achieved a paradoxical triumph. “We started with one little radio, but it didn’t work at all. So I said, “Listen, Filippo; go full gas, and listen to the people at the side of the road. If they shout your name loudly, it means you are going fast enough. It worked: and this amazing victory is the result.”

It made him the first athlete to win four consecutive time trials at the Giro since Francesco Moser won in 1984 in Lucca (prologue), Milan and Verona and then in Verona again (prologue) in 1985. If Ganna wins the final stage in Milan, he will set a new record sequence. And not even Eddy Merckx won four time trials at the Giro before his 25th birthday.

It was the best time trial in Aleksandr Vlasov’s career to date: eleventh on the stage, he conceded just seven seconds to Almeida and five to Evenepoel, and emerges from the experience an even more credible contender. Pozzovivo, Formolo and Sivakov all finished within 19 seconds of Almeida, with Martínez, Carthy, Yates, Bernal, Nibali, Bennett and Mollema separated by no more than five seconds. Emanuel Buchmann and Dan Martin lost rather more – although those mislaid seconds will seem insignificant by week three.

It is Filippo Ganna’s fifth stage win. Among the riders taking part in this year’s giro, he stands behind Diego Ulissi (8 stage wins), Vincenzo Nibali (7), and equal with Elia Viviani Fernando Gaviria. Ganna is the first athlete to wear the Maglia Rosa after stage 1 in consecutive Giros since Francisco Moser in 1984-1985.

Ganna – “Finally I’m a time trial winner again. It’s been a long time. I’m very happy. I hope to recover well by tomorrow because this is only the start of the #Giro. I didn’t feel I was ready for this race. My morale wasn’t great. Now it’s back up. I’ve won the stage, I’m here, and I’m so… really happy. We started with one little radio, but it didn’t work at all, so I said, “Filippo, go full gas, and listen to the people at the side of the road. If they say your name real high, you can go really fast, and it worked, and now I have this amazing victory.’
Filippo Ganna is also the first athlete to win 4 consecutive time trials at the Giro since 1984-1985, when Francesco Moser won in 1984 in Lucca (prologue), Milan and Verona and then in Verona again (prologue) in 1985. 4 consecutive victories is the record sequence at the Giro, recorded not only in these two cases but also by Francesco Moser in 1978 (Venice, Cavalese) and 1979 (prologue of Florence and Naples).

Ganna’s time of 8’47” gives him an average speed of 58.748 kph and that time slots into third place in the table of fastest TT times in Giro history:
1. 2001 – RIK VERBRUGGHE, 58.874 KM/H IN 7.6KM
2. 2020 – FILIPPO GANNA, 58.831 KM/H IN 15.1KM
3. 2021 – FILIPPO GANNA, 58.748 KM/H S 8.6KM* (TBC)

GC CONTENDERS – Finish times on stage 1
Fabulous rides by both Deceuninck – Quick-Step leaders Almeida and Evenepoel. Vlasov, too, was outstanding, and Pozzovivo surprisingly good. Just three seconds separate Carthy, Bilbao, Yates, Bernal, Nibali and Bennett, while Dan Martin and Bauke Mollema both lost time on their rivals today.

João Almeida (Dqt) Por: 9’04”
Remco Evenepoel (Dqt) Bel At +1′
Aleksandr Vlasov (Apt) Rus At +7″
Domenico Pozzovivo (Tqa) Ita At 13″
Davide Formolo (Uad) Ita At +15″
Pavel Sivakov (Igd) Rus At +16″
Dani Martínez (Igd) Col At +18″
Hugh Carthy (Efn) Gbr At +20″
Pello Bilbao (Tbv) Esp At +20″
Simon Yates (Bex) Gbr At +20
Egan Bernal (Igd) Col At +21″
Vincenzo Nibali (Tfs) Ita At +23
George Bennett (Tjv) Nzl At +23
Dan Martin (Isr) Irl At +39
Bauke Mollema (Tfs) Ned AT +44

Edoardo Affini 2nd confirmed after his effort that he has gotten the most out of over eight kilometres. “It was a very fast time trial. I gave everything I had. I achieved a high pace. I was able to accelerate in the last three kilometres. You have to find the limit for yourself and maybe even exceed it. There was no other option than to go flat out from the start to the finish. That’s what I did and in the end it paid off with the second place. I would have signed up for that in advance.”

Tobias Foss 3rd:“This was a good time trial. Along the way I felt good and I already knew that this would result in a good time. It is especially important for me to take new steps in my development in this race and to help the team. I can be satisfied with this nice result.”

Remco Evenepoel 7th: The 21-year-old was just a few seconds off the pace going through the intermediate split, and confirmed his strong ride at the finish, where he finished in seventh place. “I had tears in my eyes on the start ramp. It’s been a long journey and to finally be able to start my first Grand Tour makes me very happy. For me the most important thing today was to have a good time trial and just enjoy myself. Everything else was a bonus on this special day, so to finish seventh on this first stage is amazing, a perfect start that I didn’t expect and which makes me proud”, explained Remco in Torino. “It was a good day for the team, one which gives us a lot of confidence. We are even more motivated for the next stages to support each other and show why we are the Wolfpack.”

Alex Dowsett: Giro is underway. Time to park the TT bike and brain for 20 days and get stuck into getting Dan up there, getting Cimo in place for sprints and getting in breakaways when it’s time. Big 3 weeks ahead.

Rémi Cavagna 5th was one of the riders to watch, and the French ITT Champion didn’t disappoint, going into third provisional at the finish, before eventually concluding the stage in fifth: “It’s a mixed feeling. After my win in Romandie I was really motivated, but the parcours didn’t suit me 100%, as it was too short. But overall, it was a strong day for the squad, so we can be satisfied with having three riders in the top 10.”

Matthias Brändle  9th: “This was a very fast course, but it was actually a quite technical one too. You really had to pay attention at all times to take the corners properly. Personally, I had a really good day on the bike. I started well and I could keep the pace high all the time. At the end, I made top-10, so this was definitely a good start. Now, we look forward to the rest of the race!”

George Bennett 52nd place. The New Zealand champion conceded a few seconds to a handful of competitors, but also took the lead over riders such as Landa, Bardet and Buchmann. “It was a good day for us as a team. I myself had hoped to be a little faster. In hindsight, I gained time on some guys and not lost too much on the competition. The vast majority of the classification men are close together. Of course, this was only the first day of three long weeks. We have riden less than ten kilometers and still have more than three thousand.”

João Almeida 4th. The sensation of last year’s Giro d’Italia averaged an impressive 56.91km/h and stopped the clock in 9:04, which at the end of the day was enough for fourth place, the best result of a Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider. “I got a better result that I had in mind at the start of the day. It’s a great way to start the race, the kind of result that gives you an important boost of morale. Having three guys in the top 10 is excellent for the team”,

Max Walscheid 8th: First day, first top-10! I’m super happy with finishing off some very good weeks of work in which the team have supported me in getting the best out of myself; the physical performance and also the optimisation of the materials. I’m just super happy that it paid off. I think that there’s a lot left in the tank and I’m looking forward to all the coming TT performances as well as the road stages; the shape is not too bad!

Aleksandr Vlasov 11th: “I felt quite good today, and I was able to do a very good warm-up before my start. So, immediately after the start I found a nice rhythm and I was able to hold it during the whole distance. It was a fast and technical time trial, and I am really happy with my performance. I was motivated to do the best possible start to the Giro and although I did not expect to be so high today, I think my performance is a good sign, which brings me some additional motivation. However, it is just the first stage and the whole race is still ahead of us. Right now I’d like to focus on the following stages”.

Dylan Groenewegen made his return to the professional peloton. After more than nine months without a race, the sprinter was pleased to finally be able to pin on a number again. “I felt a good tension. I have been looking forward to this for a long time. It feels good to be part of the team again”, Groenewegen said.

Maciej Bodnar 15th “It was a really fast time trial and I did the best I could. In hindsight, there might have been some moments you could have gone faster, maybe in some corners, but today, I gave it my all and my final time was the best I could have achieved. I was hoping for a top-ten finish today but I think it will be difficult. Anyway, the form is there and the Giro is long, we have another 20 opportunities to fight for with Emu in the GC and Peter in the Maglia Ciclamino.”

Emanuel Buchmann: “I think it was a solid start to the Giro, I didn’t feel very well but not too bad either. I think that today you couldn’t lose the Giro, there are many hard stages ahead of us and I look forward to the three weeks of racing.”

Jai Hindley 73rd: I felt that was a pretty good ride and I left it all out there,” explained Hindley after the stage. “I don’t think I could have done much more really, the pacing plan from the team was spot on. The equipment with our skinsuit and TT bike felt good out there so I’m super happy with that. We’re happy with where the form is at the moment so it’s a good start to the race for us. For now, the coming days our main focus will be on staying safe and avoiding any problems ahead of the tougher stages to come.”


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