The world time trial champion had felt the pressure after struggling in the Tirreno-Adriatico and more recent Tour de Romandie time trials but just like last year in Palermo, ‘Top Ganna’ was a level above his rivals.
He covered the 8.6km course in a time of 8:47 – an average speed of 58.748kph. He beat compatriot Edoardo Affini (Jumbo-Visma) by 10 seconds, with Tobias Foss, also for Jumbo-Visma, rounding out the podium a further three seconds back with a time of 9:00.
"After Romandie my morale was not too high, but now its back and I’m really happy," Ganna said. "It’s been a lot of time that I wasn’t in the hot seat but I’m here and so I’m really happy."
The time trial was a fast affair with the overall contenders riding to limit their time losses.
The best performance came from last year’s revelation João Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep), who finished fourth on the stage with a time of 9:04. Teammate and comeback kid Remco Evenepoel, who was also making his Grand Tour debut was seventh and only two second slower, while Astana-Premier Tech leader Aleksandr Vlasov finished 11 seconds down on Almeida. They gained a chunk of psychologically important time on their GC rivals.
Egan Bernal and Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers), Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo), Simon Yates (BikeExchange) and Vincenzo Nibali all put in very similar solid performances, losing 20 or so seconds to Almeida. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) was the biggest loser, shipping 40 seconds to Almeida.
Watch the stage 1 video highlights from the Giro d'Italia above.
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