Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) opened up the Giro d’Italia with a solid performance in the opening 8.6 kilometre time trial and now he’s looking ahead to the first of the stages where there’s the likelihood of a shuffle on the overall.
Yates finished stage 1 in 37th place with a time of 9:25, 38 seconds back from Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) who won on the Turin course with a time of 8:47, however the Briton ceded only a little over 20 seconds to the fastest of the overall hopefuls. The best of the GC contenders was João Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep), in fourth on a time of 9:04, with the bulk of the riders competing for the maglia rosa sitting in between 9:20 and 9:30.
The flat but technical opening stage was a chance to “blow the cobwebs out,” said Yates. “It was ok. Tough little opener, but now we've started so looking forward to the rest of the race.”
The 2018 Vuelta a España winner hasn’t had the best of luck at the Giro d’Italia, losing 38 minutes and his grip on the maglia rosa on a nightmare stage 19 in 2018, inconsistent form leaving him with eighth in 2019 and then in 2020 having to leave the race after contracting COVID-19.
Yates, however, walks into the Giro d'Italia this year as one of the top favourites, with his win at the Tour of the Alps consolidating his status as a key contender. Earlier this week, however, the 28-year-old said he wouldn’t read too much into that, as the Giro isn’t the same sort of race, so he’ll take it as it comes.
The next stage coming up where he'll be looking to make a mark is the 187 kilometre day from Piacenza to Sestola on Tuesday.
“I think we have two easier days now, then we start getting to more harder terrain where hopefully I can do my thing," said Yates.
Stage 2 is expected to be one for the sprinters, stage 3 may be too – although it’s possible a break could hold – though the hills on stage 4 present a real challenge that could provide an opportunity for the overall contenders to start shaking down their rivals. There are three categorised climbs, with the 4.3 kilometre climb of the Colle Passerino as the final challenge of the day, with its peak 2.5 kilometres from the finish.
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