Rohan Dennis finished two seconds down in second place with Chris Froome 37 seconds off the pace

Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) stormed to victory on the opening time trial of the 2018 Giro d’Italia in Jerusalem, beating Rohan Dennis (BMC) to victory.

Dennis set an early benchmark of 12-04 on the 9.7km course, and that stood through much of the day until the very last rider, Dumoulin, surpassed it by two seconds.

Defending champion Dumoulin now takes the overall lead into stage two, with a significant time gap on many of his overall rivals already.

Chris Froome (Team Sky) put in a relatively disappointing time, finishing 37 seconds down on Dumoulin and now sits in 21st place overall. His fellow Briton Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) will be pleased with his efforts however, finishing in seventh place at 20 seconds down.

Miguel Ángel López (Astana) was the biggest loser among the GC contenders, finishing well down at 57 seconds, with home favourite Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) finishing at 50 seconds.

How it happened

The first Grand Tour to start outside Europe began in hot, sunny conditions in the Middle East, with many riders using ice vests in their warm-ups for the opening time trial in Jerusalem, Israel.

With riders taking the chance to recon the course before the race began, there were a number of crashes, with Miguel Ángel López (Astana) and Chris Froome (Team Sky) both suffering minor injuries in falls, while Bahrain-Merida’s Kanstantsin Siutsou was taken to hospital with a fractured vertebrae due to a crash.

With most of the strongest time trial riders loaded into the last part of the start order, Australian champion Rohan Dennis (BMC) was the 42nd rider off the ramp, and so set the day’s standard fairly early on in the race, with 12-04 over the 9.7km course.

No-one was really able to come that close to his time throughout much of the day, with Katusha-Alpecin’s José Gonçalves and Alex Dowsett going closest at 10 and 14 seconds respectively.

Many of the GC contenders out on the course by now were just looking to limit losses ahead of the upcoming road stages, with Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) clocking 31 seconds in arrears and Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida) crossing the line at 25 seconds down.

The most surprising result however was from Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), who put in a storming performance to cross the line just 20 seconds off Rohan Dennis’s time.

European champion Victor Campanaerts (Lotto-Soudal) was the rider to really challenge Dennis ahead of the final big names to roll off the start. The Belgian clocked the same time as the race leader through the halfway point before narrowly missing out on the top spot by fractions of a second.

Chris Froome was the fifth to last rider to take to the course, but looked immediately off the pace through the opening half at 19 seconds down on the best time. He was unable to really improve that in the final section of the course, and eventually had to settle for 35 seconds down on Dennis, who was still sitting in the hot seat two hours after finishing his run.

But as world time trial champion Tom Dumoulin took to the course, the race leader began to look worried about his chances.

The Dutchman stormed through the intermediate checkpoint a second faster than Dennis, and he didn’t look like letting up towards the finish.

As he approached the final 150m of the course, it looked like it would certainly be a close run thing, and so it proved, with Dumoulin crossing the line just two seconds ahead (12-04) of Dennis to take stage victory and the overall lead.

Saturday’s stage two will see a first chance for the sprinters in Israel, with 167km from Haifa to Tel Aviv.

Tom Dumoulin celebrates taking pink on stage one of the 2018 Giro d’Italia (Sunada)

Results

Giro d’Italia 2018, stage one: Jerusalem – Jerusalem (9.7km ITT)

1 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb, in 12-02
2 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team, at 2s
3 Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Soudal, at st
4 José Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-Alpecin, at 12s
5 Alex Dowsett (GBr) Katusha-Alpecin, at 16s
6 Pello Bilbao (Esp) Astana Pro Team, at 18s
7 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott, at 20s
8 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors, at 21s
9 Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin, at 27s
10 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida, at 27s

Other

21 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky, at 37s

Overall classification after stage one

1 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb, in 12-02
2 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team, at 2s
3 Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Soudal, at st
4 José Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-Alpecin, at 12s
5 Alex Dowsett (GBr) Katusha-Alpecin, at 16s
6 Pello Bilbao (Esp) Astana Pro Team, at 18s
7 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott, at 20s
8 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors, at 21s
9 Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin, at 27s
10 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida, at 27s

Other

21 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky, at 37s