Geraint Thomas put time into all of his GC rivals on stage one of the 2020 Giro d’Italia, taking chunks of time out of them over the short opening time trial.
The 2018 Tour de France winner arrived in Italy hungry for glory after watching the Tour de France from his sofa in September, and his pre-race billing as the overall favourite was lived up to after his performance on the first of a trio of time trials in this year’s Italian Grand Tour.
The Ineos rider put half a minute into Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), a minute into Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) and a minute and a half into Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma), Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe).
Thomas finished fourth on the stage, 23 seconds down on stage winner and team-mate Filippo Ganna, and says he maybe could have gone faster after hitting out too hard in the opening kilometres.
“I think maybe I was a bit too aggressive, in the last 2km I started losing the legs a bit, which is a shame because there was a bit of a headwind there,” Thomas explained after the finish. “But I definitely emptied the tank. Obviously, I was steady on the corners because I’d seen a couple of guys crash, definitely [took] no risks.”
While riders such as team-mate Rohan Dennis and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) looked uncomfortable in the gusty winds, being blown about on the straight roads into the finish, Thomas said he wasn’t too bothered.
“It was windy but I think I was quite comfortable on the bars,” the Welshman said. “It was gusty but felt pretty solid so that was a bonus.
“Like I say, maybe [I did] just a little too much in the first half but I can be pretty happy about that one.”
Ganna will wear the race’s first maglia rosa on stage two, keeping it warm for Thomas who could find himself in it as soon as stage three as the Giro heads up Mount Etna.
With two more time trials on stage 14 and the final stage 21 in Milan, 50km of racing against the clock remain in this Italian Grand Tour. On initial evidence, it could soon become Thomas’ to lose.