There was a lot of talk about the Giro d’Italia starting outside Europe for the first time, in Israel, and how the Israeli sponsor had paid a lot of money to assure that Chris Froome of Sky arrived in Jerusalem to take part. Paying for Froome’s appearance might not be what it started out to be, but if doing so caused Tom Dumoulin to choose to contest the Giro, then maybe it was a master-stroke after all.
The Dutch defending winner of the Giro followed his rival for cycling supremacy to the Giro, and on the opening stage he flashed his World Champion time triallist credentials to the massive crowds along the 9.7km course opening the Giro’s Israel adventure, taking the crono from BMC’s Rohan Dennis at the final moment. Dumoulin started strong and remained so over the hilly course to take the stage and the first maglia rosa by two seconds.
Dennis started more than two hours before Dumoulin, and his time of 12.04 held up until the very last rider, though Victor Campenaerts of Lotto-Soudal drew level with him and Dennis was declared the provisional leader by mere fractions of a second.
Froome, meanwhile, had crashed in training on the course, as did Astana’s leader Miguel Angel Lopez. The four-time Tour winner seemed to take a cautious approach and finished TK off the lead, despite being one of the world’s finest time triallists, dropping 37 seconds to the Dutchman.
Several of the overall favorites posted times that they won’t feel bad about today, though Fabio Aru of UAE was not one of them. The Italian champion was 50 seconds slower than Dumoulin today, and Lopez was even worse, at +56. On a more positive note were Simon Yates, Mitchelton-Scott, at +20, Domenico Pozzovivo, Bahrain-Merida, at a surprising +27, and Thibaut Pinot, FDJ, at +33.
Max Schachmann of Quick Step threatened Dennis’ lead briefly posting the best intermediate split time, and though he faded a bit down the stretch, he took the best young rider’s jersey.
- Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb, 12:02
- Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team, at 0:02
- Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Soudal, s.t.
- José Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-Alpecin, at 0:12
- Alex Dowsett (GBr) Katusha-Alpecin, at 0:16
- Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team, at 0:18
- Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott, at 0:20
- Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors, at 0:21
- Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin, at 0:27
- Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida, at 0:27