Yates second in opening Giro d'Italia time trial

Sat 11 May 2019

Vuelta a Espana champion Simon Yates has finished second on the opening time trial of the Giro d’Italia, setting his first 2019 Grand Tour campaign off in strong style. 

Only Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) had the better of the 26-year-old, blitzing the field with a time of 12minutes 57seconds, 19seconds faster than Yates. 

A stage of two clear parts:
The opening stage of the 2019 Giro d’Italia, an eight kilometre time trial from Bologna to San Luca, was a tale of two clear parts. 

The first 5.9km through town were untechnical but flat, favouring the pure time trial specialists, before a sharp turn onto the final 2.1km climbed to the top of San Luca, a challenging ascent with an average gradient of 9.7% and maximum pinch of 16%.

The intermediate time check, at the bottom of the climb saw Roglic lead by one second to teammate Josh van Emden and four seconds to Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), with Yates at 18seconds. 

By the top of the climb Roglic had one extra second on Yates, but the duo had both gained time on the remainder of their general classification rivals. Nibali eventually finished a further four seconds down on Yates for third place. 

A late starter:
The forecast for a possible late storm saw most of the general classification contenders opt to go down the ramp first for their teams, with the exception Mitchelton-SCOTT’s Yates. 

In the end, the advantage didn’t really occur either way, with the weather remaining relatively stable through all 176-riders. 

Simon Yates:
“I did all I could. Maybe I went a little bit too easy at the start but that was also the tactic, you can’t go full gas start to finish, I knew I could gain or lose a lot of time on the climb. It was only a little bit, but it was calculated.

“I felt good. It was only a short effort of course, but I feel good.

“We’ve seen how (Roglic) has been going this year, he’s won every stage race he has started and he also won’t the time trial in Romandie so he is in great form so we were expecting him to be either first or second.  

“There was a moment of doubt when I saw everyone was going off early today but we looked at the weather and it looked like it was going to be ok, and it was in the end.  

“I am happy the race has started now, I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time and we’re finally here.”

Matt White:
“Simon has had a solid start, all three time trials are days we want to limit our losses so to gain time on everyone but one, is a good result.

“These first 12 stages are about not losing time and saving energy. After today, besides Mikel Landa, are within 30seconds so the gaps will stay fairly similar.”

Giro d’Italia – Stage 1 Results:
1. Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo Visma) 12:54
2. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:19
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) +0:23 

Giro d’Italia – General Classification after Stage 1:
1. Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo Visma) 12:54
2. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:19
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) +0:23 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.