Filippo Ganna obliterates the field to take victory and pink jersey on Giro d'Italia stage one time trial

Time trial world champion wins opening time trial for second consecutive year

Filippo Ganna on stage one of the 2021 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Getty Images)

World champion Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) put in a commanding performance to take the pink jersey and stage victory on the opening time trial of the 2021 Giro d'Italia, beating Edoardo Affini (Jumbo-Visma) by 10 seconds.

Ganna looked determined to take the opening time trial victory of the Giro for a second consecutive year, flying round the short 8.6km course in Turin in a time of 8-47 (58.7kmh).

Jumbo-Visma had looked in pole position to claim the leader's jersey after placing Tobias Foss and then Affini in the hot seat with strong performances, but Ganna was simply able to obliterate their times to ride to stage victory and the overall lead.

How it happened

The 2021 Giro d’Italia kicked off with a short and flat time trial in the city of Turin, with the pure time triallists eyeing victory and the chance of wearing the prestigious maglia rosa.

For the general classification contenders, the day was simply about staying in touch with their rivals with so much racing to come.

The early part of the day saw mainly domestiques head out on the course, though Hour Record holder Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka-Assos) and former Spanish champion Jonathan Castroviejo (Ineos Grenadiers) were among the accomplished time triallists to set off early.

Castroviejo was able to set the early benchmark time (9-14) that held for some time, before Austrian champion Mathias Brändle (Israel Start-Up Nation) rode through line five seconds quicker.

There were still plenty of big names to come though, and Brändle’s stint in the hot seat was limited after Tobias Foss (Jumbo-Visma) smashed his time with his effort of 9-00 (57.3kmh).

It looked like the young Norwegian could be on course for a shock victory holding off the likes of Rémi Cavangna (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), until his team-mate Edoardo Affini put in an unexpectedly strong performance to go three seconds quicker with a time of 8-57 (57.6kmh).

The Italian then had a long time to watch the rest of the field come in from the hot seat, with the prospect of world champion Filippo Ganna and the GC contenders still to come.

João Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), who impressed with his long stint in the pink jersey last year, put in a powerful performance to ride into fourth place just five seconds off Foss and take an early advantage among the GC contenders.

His team-mate Remco Evenepoel also put in a strong performance, his first race back since crashing out of Il Lombardia last year. The Belgian, on Grand Tour debut, went fast through the 3.8km intermediate check but never looked likely to challenge Affini’s time. He eventually finished nine seconds behind Affini, and 19 seconds behind the rider who started just after him in the time trial.

That man, Ganna, was flying around the course and taking corners with phenomenal speed, going through the intermediate split in 3-57, the fastest on the day. The Italian just continued to look imperious throughout his effort, and came to the line with a clear victory of 10 seconds over Affini to take the first pink jersey of the race.

Among the GC contenders, Almeida and Evenepoel have the clear advantage after finishing in the top-10 at 17 and 19 seconds down respectively. Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) is the next best placed at seven seconds behind Almeida, with most of the other favourites much further back.

Race favourites Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) and Simon Yates (BikeExchange) sit at 22 and 21 seconds behind Almeida (39 and 38 seconds behind Ganna) respectively, with Hugh Carthy (EF-Nippo) on the same time as Yates. Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) put in a solid ride despite suffering injury a few weeks before the race, finishing 41 seconds down on Ganna and 24 seconds behind Almeida. Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious) is one GC contender with a lot of work to do to get back into contention, losing 32 seconds to Almeida over the 8.6km course.

The Giro d’Italia continues on Sunday with stage two, a 179km route from Stupinigi to Novara that should finish in a sprint.

Filippo Ganna takes the pink jersey after winning stage one of the Giro d'Italia 2021

(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Results

1. Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers, in 8-47
2. Edoardo Affini (Ita) Jumbo-Visma, at 10s
3. Tobias Foss (Nor) Jumbo-Visma, 13s
4. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quick-Step , at 17s
5. Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck-Quick-Step, at 18s
6. Jos Van Emden (Ned) Jumbo-Visma, at same time
7. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck-Quick-Step, at 19s
8. Max Walscheid (Ger) Qhubeka-Assos, at same time
9. Matthias Brändle (Aut) Israel Start-Up Nation, at 22s
10. Gianni Moscon (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers, at 23s

General classification after stage one

1. Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers, in 8-47
2. Edoardo Affini (Ita) Jumbo-Visma, at 10s
3. Tobias Foss (Nor) Jumbo-Visma, 13s
4. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quick-Step , at 17s
5. Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck-Quick-Step, at 18s
6. Jos Van Emden (Ned) Jumbo-Visma, at same time
7. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck-Quick-Step, at 19s
8. Max Walscheid (Ger) Qhubeka-Assos, at same time
9. Matthias Brändle (Aut) Israel Start-Up Nation, at 22s
10. Gianni Moscon (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers, at 23s