Two bike changes force young Italian outside time limit of opening Giro d’Italia time trial

Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè's Luca Covili is the second rider in two years to finish outside the time limit on the opening TT of the Italian Grand Tour

While Ineos’ Filippo Ganna captured the maglia rosa in the opening time trial to delight home fans at the 2020 Giro d’Italia, it couldn’t have been a worse day for his young compatriot Luca Covili.

The 23-year-old Italian, who rides for Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè, finished outside the time limit on the 15.1km downhill time trial, coming in more than seven minutes down on Ganna’s best time of 15-24.

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Covili suffered persistent mechanical issues, forcing him into two bike changes, which never allowed him to properly engage with the race against the clock on a course that saw riders clocking speeds of over 100km/h. The young Italian now leaves his home Grand Tour after racing just 15km.

The next slowest rider to finish was Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec’s Luca Chirico, who finished exactly four minutes down on Ganna but crucially inside the time limit, which was around 4-45.

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This was Covili’s second Giro d’Italia, having finished 84th overall at the 2019 Italian Grand Tour, where the evidence points towards him not being a time trial specialist, having finished outside the top 100 places in all three of that edition’s TTs.

This is the second year in a row a rider has finished outside the time limit of the opening Giro d’Italia time trial.

Nippo Vini Fantini Faizanè’s Hiroki Nishimura finished 4-36 down on Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) on the 8.2km opening time trial of the 2019 Italian Grand Tour, with the time cut off being 3-52. The course featured a 2km uphill ramp to the Madonna di San Luca, compared with the downhill offering that opened the 2020 race.

The then 24-year-old Japanese rider blamed a bad night’s sleep for his performance, saying he was nervous before the start of his first-ever Grand Tour stage.

174 riders will start stage two after Miguel Ángel López abandoned, the Colombian involved in a bizarre crash at the second time check and being taken to hospital in an ambulance. The Astana man luckily didn’t break anything but suffered a deep wound very close to the iliac artery.