Trek-Segafredo duo Bauke Mollema and Giulio Ciccone both opted to swap their time trial machines for road bikes for the final 2km up to the finish of stage 1 of the Giro d'Italia on Saturday, with Mollema just slipping inside the top 10, and Ciccone coming away with the blue jersey as best climber.
Mollema finished ninth on the stage, 39 seconds behind stage winner Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), and suggested afterwards that swapping bikes at the foot of the final climb had cost him 10-15 seconds. However, the Dutchman was also of the opinion that the time lost was worth it, as he would have made that time up as a result of being more comfortable – and therefore faster – on his regular road bike than he would have been if he'd stuck to the TT bike, as most riders did.
"It was the right decision for me," Mollema said via his team's website. "We thought about it all week, and I think I can produce more power on the road bike compared to the TT bike.
"I know the change cost me maybe 10 seconds – maybe even 15 since we had to do it 100 metres before the climb," he continued. "I really didn't understand that decision by the UCI. In the past we could change where we wanted, and now they made us change at a point that was not ideal. But still, I think it was faster for me because I like the position much more on the road bike for a steep climb like this.
"I felt good on the climb, with good power, and I'm quite happy with my TT. It was the right decision for me to change. I'm in the top 10, so I think that's a good result for me," said Mollema.
Ciccone, meanwhile, made the calculated decision to take the first 6km of the 8.2km stage relatively easy, before giving it everything for the timed 2.2km ascent to the finish line, where the fastest rider on the uphill section – a category 3 climb – would be rewarded with the maglia azzurra.
The plan worked, with the 24-year-old Italian clocking the best time for the climb, and he'll now wear the jersey as the leader of the mountains classification on Sunday's stage 2 – a 205km road stage from Bologna to Fucecchio.
"The blue jersey was the goal for me and the team today," explained Ciccone. "Before the climb, I switched and did the whole climb on my road bike. I went as fast as I could – I felt good, and it worked out. I'm happy; it's a good day for the team and for me."
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