Remco Evenepoel thunders into Giro d'Italia lead with victory in stage one time trial

Soudal Quick-Step rider puts significant time into GC rivals on opening day

Remco Evenepoel
(Image credit: Getty)

Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) made a show of intent on the opening stage of the Giro d’Italia, powering to victory in the individual time trial and claiming the race’s first pink jersey. 

The road world champion clocked a time of 21-18 over the 19.6km coastal course, averaging a blistering 55.211km/h. 

Two-time time trial world champion Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) came second, 22 seconds down, with João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) rounding out the podium in third. 

"It's the best result we can get from the first day," Evenepoel said post-race. "[I'm] super happy. We wanted to go as fast as possible, and I think we went fast enough today.

"I felt from the start that I had a good rhythm, always the same gear and the same cadence, so I think I'm just super happy with what I can do."

Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), Evenepoel’s biggest GC rival at the race, finished in sixth and now faces a 43-second deficit to overcome. Asked about the gap, the Belgian stressed he wasn't focusing on it. "I just wanted to go and try and win the stage," he said, "and in the end we won it. Mission one accomplished.

"Now, full focus, try to stay safe through this first week and save enough energy for the next time trial again."

How it happened

The men’s Grand Tour calendar opened on Saturday with a 19.6km individual time trial along the Costa dei Trabocchi. Though mostly flat, the course offered a short uphill at the end, finishing on a category-four climb in Ortona, with a maximum gradient of 8%. 

South African time trial champion Stefan de Bod (EF Education-EasyPost) set an early best time of 22-32. Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) then bettered it by 12 seconds, before UAE Team Emirates duo Brandon McNulty and Jay Vine took it in turns to push the benchmark out even further. 

The first rider to break the 22-minute threshold was the only former maglia rosa winner on the start list, Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers), who averaged 53.536km/h over the course. UAE Team Emirates swiftly returned to the hot seat, however, with João Almeida shaving off another 10 seconds. 

Then came the big guns. 

Evenepoel started his assault on the course at full tilt. The prospect of the race lead didn't faze him. "If I can take the pink jersey on Saturday, why not?" he said in a press conference earlier in the week. 

By the time he reached the halfway mark, the Belgian time trial champion was already 20 seconds up on the best time. Ganna and Roglič followed in pursuit, but neither could make up enough time to contest the stage win. 

The Soudal Quick-Step rider motored up the final drag and stopped the clock at 21-18. "I said in the bus that I thought 21-30 [would be needed] to win," he said afterwards, "and in the end, I did 21-18, so I was quite close to my guess."

Giro d'Italia 2023 stage one: Fossacesia Marina > Ortona (19.6km)

1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step, in 21-18
2. Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers, at 22s
3. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates, at 29s
4. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 40s
5. Stefan Küng (Sui) Groupama-FDJ
6. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, both at 43s
7. Jay Vine (Aus) UAE Team Emirates, at 46s
8. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates, at 48s
9. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
10. Aleksandr Vlasov, Bora-Hansgrohe, both at 55s

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