After yellow comes pink: Van der Poel wins the Giro opening

Ewan fell as he sprinted uphill


Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin – Fenix) has won the 1st stage of the Giro d’Italia and won the pink jersey. | Photo: Cor Vos

05/06/2022 | (rsn) – Ten months after his stage victory and the yellow jersey of the Tour de France, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin – Fenix) struck at the start of the 105th Giro d’Italia. The Dutchman won the uphill sprint in Visegrad after 195 kilometers ahead of Eritrean Biniam Girmay (Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert) and the Spaniard Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) and thus secured the first pink jersey. Dane Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education – EasyPost) finished fourth ahead of van der Poel’s compatriot Wilco Kelderman (Bora – hansgrohe).

His teammate Lennard Kennan had opened the final two kilometers before the finish, but the man from Bremen was caught again in the last 1,000 meters. With Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal), one of the favorites fell shortly before the finish line to win the day.

“I knew good positioning would be the key to victory. I was installed a few times, it took a lot of energy,” said the winner in the goal interview. the last meters. ” It was close because my legs were full of lactate, ”he described the last meters.

“It was a very tough final, I did my best. Van der Poel was just a little stronger in the end. But I’m so happy too,” 21-year-old Girmay said like van der Poel a Giro debutant.

Van der Poel gets three classification jerseys at the same time

The first leader of the Tour of Italy must now defend his narrow lead in the time trial in Budapest, where the Giro entourage is now returning. “It’s great to wear pink after yellow. We’ll see what tomorrow’s individual time trial brings. It will be difficult to defend the jersey, but just like on the Tour I will try, says van der Poel. At last year’s Tour of France, wearing the yellow jersey, he surprised with a fifth place in the 27.2 kilometer long race against the clock, thus defending his overall lead.

The time trial is only 9.2 kilometers long and therefore not necessarily only for specialists. Nevertheless, a former world champion countryman has already spotted the pink jersey. “He picked it up today, I’m picking it up tomorrow,” laughed Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo – Visma). Alongside Richie Porte (Ineos Grenadiers), Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates), Matteo Sobrero (BikeExchange – Jayco) and Tobias Foss (Jumbo – Visma), the Limburger is probably the strongest time trial player of the riders, all 14 seconds after in the classification will.

The start ended bitterly for Ewan. The Australian finished third until a few meters from goal. But then he hung on to Girmay’s rear wheel in a slight right turn and fell. He crossed the finish line apparently unscathed, 1:04 minutes behind in 76th place.

Buchmann as the best German professional with four seconds behind

Emanuel Buchmann (Bora – hansgrohe) crossed the finish line in 16th place, four seconds behind. Felix Gall (AG2R – Citroën) finished the preliminary stage two positions behind him in 18th place. “but it was still nice. I was very pleased,” said the man from Bremen.

In addition to taking the overall lead, van der Poel also took the lead in the points and mountain classification. Girmay, number two on the day, is at the top of the junior class.

This is how the race went:

Practically with the start signal for the Grande Partenza in Budapest, two Italians withdrew from the initially quiet field. On flat terrain, Mattia Bais and Filippo Tagliani quickly gained a big lead from second division Drone Hopper – Androni Giocattoli, who was 10:30 minutes after just 30 kilometers.

After that, Alpecin – Fenix, DSM and Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert lined up in front of the field, which had reduced its gap to about 5:30 minutes in the first of the day’s two intermediate sprints, which Tagliani got after 75 kilometers without a fight. From the field, Giacomo Nizzolo (Israel – Premier Tech) secured in third place six points in the battle for Maglia Ciclamino.

After EF Education – EasyPost had joined the pursuit and the lead at half time had already dropped to less than three minutes, the field again slowed down so as not to catch the two breakaways too soon.

The dronehopper duo is located 15 kilometers from the finish

Instead, the pursuers kept the lead duo on a short leash, so the second intermediate sprint with 27.5 kilometers to go was almost 30 seconds ahead of the field. Bais was the first to secure the three bonus seconds there before the escapees were caught on their way along the Danube after a flight of about 180 kilometers.

In the last ten kilometers, the sprint teams tried to place their captains, with Lotto Soudal taking the field to the bottom of the five kilometer long final climb, before Alpecin – Fenix ​​took the lead. Lawrence Naesen (AG2R Citroën) attacked in the last four kilometers, but the Belgian’s attack was countered by Kämmen with two kilometers left. The Giro debutant tore a small hole, but Intermarché set the pace in the field and the late eruption was caught again in the last 1000 meters.

Shortly after, Kämna’s teammate Kelderman tried another surprising start, but the Dutchman could not escape when Ewan showed attention. Eventually Girmay opened the sprint, but behind him van der Poel landed strongly and won the stage narrowly, while Ewan fell without serious injuries.

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