Seemingly unstoppable Primož Roglič won Stage 1 of the 102nd Giro d’Italia, the la Grande Partenza, in Bologna on Sunday to give him the early advantage in the race for the title. He pulls on the first pink jersey after having triumphed in three consecutive stage races: the UAE Tour, Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour de Romandie. Roglič’s closest rivals were Simon Yates and Vincenzo Nibali.

The Course
The first test of the first Grand Tour of the year would roll flat for 6-km before a dogleg right onto the difficult Santuario della Madonna di San Luca climb, one that’s used for the finish of Giro dell’Emilia race. At 2.1 km of 9.7 percent with a maximum grade of 16 percent, organizers set up a bike transition area just before the road kicked up. The base of the climb was also where officials took the riders’ intermediate time.

The Early Favourites

With the threat of thunderstorms, the organizers decided on Friday that they would allow the major contenders to go early, with 2017 champion Tom Dumoulin the first to launch. Mitchelton-Scott aces were the exception, Esteban Chaves leaving the start house 108th and Simon Yates scheduled third from last. Mikel Landa left the start house 13th, with Ilnur Zakarin, Angel Lopez, Bob Jungels, Vincenzo Nibali and Primož Roglič respectively in between Landa and Dumoulin.

Dumoulin was the first to part the narrow sea of fans on San Luca. He stopped the clock at the top at 13:22. None of the GC competitors made a bike change. Angel Lopez posted the same time as the Dutchman. Vincenzo Nibali cracked them both with 13:17. But the Slovenian is in imperious form.

After the early bloc of heavy hitters, there was a long time to wait for Yates. It wasn’t the kind of day that suited sole Canadian entrant Guillaume Boivin–he clocked 15:01. Italian Giulio Ciccone of Trek-Segafredo started his bid to be the King of the Mountains in three weeks by climbing San Luca the fastest, 6:02. Bauke Mollema made a bike change for the climb and posted a good 13:33, while Rafal Majka set 13:27.

Yates’ Ride

With Roglič starting his third hour in the hot seat, Simon Yates finally pushed off, and he was 18 seconds in arrears of the Slovenian at the foot of the climb. Yates climbed impressively to come in second place, a few seconds faster than Nibali.

Roglič’s team has the unenviable task of defending the yellow early and may relinquish the pink jersey to a rider in a successful breakaway this week. This first nine-day “week” ends with another climbing time trial into San Marino. Sunday’s first road stage is one of several sprint days in Week 1.

2019 Giro d’Italia, Stage 1

1) Primož Roglič (Slovenia/Jumbo-Visma) 12:54
2) Simon Yates (Great Britain/Mitchelton-Scott) +0:19
3) Vincenzo Nibali (Italy/Bahrain-Merida) +0:23
4) Tom Dumoulin (The Netherlands/Sunweb) +0:28
5) Angel Lopez (Colombia/Astana) s.t.
6) Rafal Majka (Poland/Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:33
9) Bauke Mollema (The Netherlands/Trek-Segafredo) +0:39
13) Bob Jungels (Luxembourg/Deceuninck-Quick Step) +0:46
14) Richard Carapaz (Ecuador/Movistar) +0:47
26) Esteban Chaves (Colombia/Mitchelton-Scott) +1:00
29) Jon Izagirre (Spain/Astana) +1:01
36) Mikel Landa (Spain/Movistar) +1:07
53) Ilnur Zakarin (Russia/Katusha) +1:20
137) Guillaume Boivin (Canada/Israel Cycling Academy) +2:07

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