Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) won the opening stage one time trial of the 2019 Giro d’Italia to take the overall lead.
The Slovenian posted a time of 12-54 over the 8.2km course, with Simon Yates finishing in second, 19 seconds down.
>> Struggling to get to the shops? Try 5 issues of Cycling Weekly magazine for just £5 delivered to your door <<
The short 2km climb at the end of the course allowed Roglič to take valuable seconds out of a number of his GC rivals, including Yates.
Nibali rode well to finish third, 23 seconds down on Roglič, with Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) and Miguel Ángel López (Astana) both finishing 28 seconds down, to round out the top five.
Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team Ineos) continued his impressive form from the Tour of the Alps to secure a seventh place finish with only a 35 second deficit to Roglič.
The 29-year-old Jumbo-Visma rider will wear the maglia rosa for the first time on stage two, a relatively flat course meaning it should be a day for the sprinters.
How it happened
The opening stage of the Giro d’Italia was an 8.2km individual time trial from Bologna to Madonna di San Luca, featuring 6km of flat before a steep 2km ramp up to the finish.
Many of the riders who are expected to contest the overall classification elected to use one of their team’s first slots, after the combination of the threat of rain expected later in the day, the not overly technical parcours meaning no live recon was needed, as well as the prospect of an early night tempting many team leaders to get it over and done with.
Tom Dumoulin was the first to roll out of the start hut, with last year’s runner up setting a strong time of 13-22 that would be equalled by Miguel Ángel López four minutes later, the Colombian edging out the Dutchman by milliseconds.
New UCI Hour Record holder Victor Campenaerts (Lotto-Soudal) failed to challenge for the stage, the San Luca climb a step too far for the Belgian, finishing 53 seconds adrift.
Vincenzo Nibali was up next, going five seconds faster than Dumoulin and López to take the virtual maglia rosa in what was an impressive time trial for the two-time Giro winner.
The Italian’s time in the hot seat was short-lived, though, when Primož Roglič sailed across the finish line having put a 23 second dent into Nibali’s time.
After Mikel Landa (Movistar) finished a disappointing 1-07 down on Roglič, most of the serious competitors had already completed the course, although Tao Geoghegan Hart rode well to finish with only a 35 second deficit to the Slovenian and pretty much guarantee himself a top ten finish on the stage.
It would then be a long wait of over 150 riders until the next man with a hope of besting Roglič’s time. Vuelta a España champion Simon Yates rolled out of the start hut third last, but could only manage to limit a deficit of 19 seconds, as he finished second on the day, leading Nibali in third by four seconds.
Stage two is 205km long and should be a day for the elite sprinters field that have lined up for this year’s Giro. After a long ramp up near the start, two categorised climbs feature before a flat finish.
Giro d’Italia 2019, stage one: Bologna to Madonna di San Luca (ITT, 8.2km)
1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, in 12-54
2. Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott, at 19 seconds
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida, at 23s
4. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana, at 28s
5. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb, at same time
6. Rafał Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 33s
7. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Ineos, at 35s
8. Laurens De Plus (Bel) Jumbo-Visma, at 35s
9. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo, at 39s
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-Merida, at 40s