Tom Dumoulin of Giant-Alpecin made hearts soar in Apeldoorn today, winning the opening 9.8km time trial of the Giro d'Italia by the narrowest margin over Primoz Roglic of LottoNL-Jumbo. Dumoulin's effort went to the hundredths of a second before the Dutchman was awarded the stage over the surprising Slovakian, while other expected challengers to Dumoulin were off their game. Trek-Segafredo star Fabian Cancellara, who once ate stages like this for a snack, saw the flu rob him of his top gear in the days leading up to the Giro, and finished eighth. Another favorite, LottoNL-Jumbo's Jos van Emden, crashed in a tight corner that took out a couple other riders on the day, and saw his hopes disappear.
Among the perceived favorites for the Maglia Rosa, Vincenzo Nibali of Astana opened his account favorably with a ride that was 19 seconds behind the winners, and best among his GC peers. Not to go unnoticed is Movistar's Andrey Amador in third place on the day, six seconds down. The Costa Rican is slated to work for captain Alejandro Valverde, but after taking fourth overall last year Amador is a candidate for a high finish, and his work on the opening day suggests he's in top form.
Fourth on the day is Tobais Ludvigsson of Sweden, whose ride will put him in the best young rider's kit for the time being. Also notable, Marcel Kittel held up his end of things with a finish a mere +11", and with ten-second time bonuses on each stage he could be in pink by Sunday.
For Dumoulin, his result and that of teammate Ludvigsson's help erase a difficult winter, when a traffic accident injured several of their top riders. The Dutchman surprised the cycling world, and himself, with a dogged challenge to Fabio Aru of Astana at the Vuelta a Espana last year, and while he is not expected to compete for the Giro title, his time trialling expertise has once again put him in position of taking the lead and -- why not? -- seeing how long he can hold it. With two stages to go in the Netherlands, he will be guaranteed to parade around in pink, unless he loses time tomorrow or Roglic or Amador can take it from him -- unlikely events. And any hiccups by Kittel could see Dumoulin in the position of leadership well into Italy, where eventually more time trialling awaits.
- Tom Dumoulin, Giant-Alpecin, 11:03
- Primoz Roglic, LottoNL-Jumbo, s.t.
- Andrey Amador, Movistar Team, +0.06
- Tobias Ludvigsson, Giant-Alpecin, +0.08
- Marcel Kittel, Etixx-QuickStep, +0:11
- Moreno Moser, Cannondale, +0:12
- Bob Jungels, Etixx-QuickStep, +0:13
- Fabian Cancellara, Trek-Segafredo, s.t.
- Matthias Brändle, IAM Cycling, +0:14
- Silvan Dillier, BMC Racing Team, +0:16