British climber Simon Yates has put down a marker at the Giro d’Italia with a thrilling victory in the stage two time trial in Budapest.
The 29-year-old powered around the 9.2km course in the Hungarian capital in a time of 11’50” to take the stage win by three seconds, with teammate Matteo Sobrero taking fourth place and the white jersey for his efforts.
It was a strong overall team performance by Team BikeExchange-Jayco, placing six riders in the top-40, with American time trial champion Lawson Craddock and Lucas Hamilton both in the mix early on, after two impressive rides against the clock.
Italian time trial champion Sobrero then took the top spot in his home Grand Tour with a time of 12’03” to dethrone long-time leader Lenard Kamna at the head of the standings. Sobrero’s provisional fastest time didn’t last long though, as Tom Dumoulin bettered the 24-year-old’s effort with a time of 11’55”.
However, before the Dutchman could take his place in the hotseat, Yates raced across the line in a blistering time of 11’50” to reclaim the fastest time for Team BikeExchange-Jayco. The British rider set the quickest intermediate split on the flat section of the course, before putting more time into his rivals on the climb to the finish line.
It was then a case of waiting for the remaining riders to see how the final standings would shake out, but nobody could topple Yates as he claimed his fifth Giro d’Italia stage win of his career, to demonstrate his top form in his major goal of the season.
Simon Yates – 1st place:
“I just tried to go as fast as possible, I have to thank our partners, Giant and Cadex, we put a lot of work into our equipment this year, and of course it’s paying off.
I was never confident, Van der Poel was close as well, but of course you always have that belief that you can win, and eventually I managed to hang on.
Today was a 12-minute effort, we still have some much more demanding stages in front of us. But of course, we will celebrate today, it’s one of only two time trials I have ever won and my first ever in a Grand Tour, so we’ll enjoy today, but I think we need to look at the bigger picture.”
Matt White (Head Sport Director):
“Winning in the Giro d’Italia is always a lovely day, and the time trial Simon produced today was a very, very impressive one. We had a feeling he would be in the mix, but for him to win his first TT in a Grand Tour, it was a very special effort from him.
It was also one of the best time trials Sobrero has ever ridden as well and I think across the board the team performed very well today, and it’s a nice reward for Matteo to be in the best young rider jersey.”
2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 2 – Results:
1. Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) 11’50”
2. Mathieu van der Poel +0:03
3. Tom Dumoulin +0:05
4. Matteo Sobrero (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) +0:13
2022 Giro d’Italia Stage 2 – GC:
1. Mathieu van der Poel +4:47:11
2. Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) +0:11
3. Tom Dumoulin +0:16
4. Matteo Sobrero (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) +0:24
Photo: Getty Sport