Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) should show more respect to his rivals, says Giro d'Italia star Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) as the 2019 edition began on Saturday in Bologna.
Yates began the Giro full of confidence and responded to an earlier interview, when he said that if he were his rivals, "I would be scared, I'd be sh**ting myself."
"I'm interested in seeing how Yates performs because he said we all need to 'go to the toilet,'" explained Nibali. "I don't know if that's what he exactly what he said, things get blown up at the Giro.
"We've all got to show some respect for everyone who is fighting for victory in the Giro."
The 26-year-old British rider lit up the pre-race press conference with confidence on Friday.
"I've been thinking about this race for almost 12 months, I'm very focused, I'm been very dedicated towards it," Yates said.
When asked who the number one favourite for the Giro d'Italia, Yates said, "me."
Nibali and all the other stars began the eight-kilometre time trial from Bologna to San Luca early for fear of bad weather. Simon Yates was the only star to start in the back-end, just finishing before the storms rolled in.
Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) won the stage and took the pink jersey. Yates finished 19 seconds back and Nibali at 23 seconds while Miguel Angel López (Astana) and Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) were at 28 seconds.
Simon Yates was relatively pleased with his day and spoke about what Nibali said with ease and understanding.
"I respect all my rivals greatly, I didn't mean to disrespect anybody if that's how they've taken it," Yates said.
"Maybe I should be the one shitting myself then, from Roglič, he's done a great ride today."
Regarding his ride, finishing second, Yates said, "I did all I could. It was good."
He decided to ease into this grand tour after coming in hot in 2018. He led the race for 13 stages but faded when Chris Froome attacked in the 19th stage.
"It would've been nice, but I just went out to do the best I could. If I took the pink jersey, then that was that," Yates added. "I came up short, but that's OK."
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