Hiroki Nishimura (Nippo Vini Fantini Faizanè) has become the first rider to leave the Giro d’Italia 2019 after finishing outside the time limit on the stage one time trial.
The Japanese rider completed the 8.2km course in 17-30, 4-36 down on Primož Roglič’s winning time of 12-54, who took the stage win and overall classification.
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The time limit was calculated by the fastest time on the day plus 30 per cent, which meant riders had to finish in 16-46, a maximum of 3-52 slower than Roglič, to survive the cut off.
The next slowest was Danish rider Matti Breschel (EF Education First) who finished with a deficit of 3-30, 22 seconds inside the time limit.
Whilst the course was short, and the opening 6km an uncomplicated flat section, the last 2km were an uphill ramp to Madonna di San Luca, with a number of riders opting to change from a TT bike to their normal road bike before the start of the climb due to the severity of the gradient. Describing the day’s route, Team Ineos’ Tao Geoghegan Hart said: “I felt so, so good and then all of a sudden the devil came and hit me with a big hammer!”
In a statement posted on their Facebook page, Nishimura’s Nippo-Vini Fantini team have said the 24-year-old paid the price for a bad night’s sleep after being nervous the night before the start.
The team’s statement read: “Nishimura paid for the tension caused this big and unique event. He was involved in Giro because he is a young rider that would grow well thanks to experiences in big races, unfortunately he was too nervous for the event, he had a bad night without sleeping and during the race – a short and explosive crono – he wasn’t able to be competitive.”
The young rider’s most notable performances to date include a fifth-placed finish in the Japanese national road race championships, as well as finishing in the top 50 of the 2019 Tour of Turkey.
For the other 175 riders, racing continues on stage two, a long but flat course that is expected to finish in a bunch sprint.