As it happened: Giro d'Italia stage 1 time trial dominated by Remco Evenepoel
Giro d'Italia: Remco Evenepoel flies across time trial course for victory and first maglia rosa
Who's ready for the Giro?
Here we are then, the first Grand Tour of the 2023 season is finally upon us. Ahead of us are three weeks of racing across Italy, on a varied route with three time trials, a fair few sprints, and a brutal final week in the mountains.
We have a stellar cast to go with it, with Remco Evenepoel vs Primoz Roglic the headline duel, but some strong collectives to challenge from the likes of Ineos, UAE, Bora, and Bahrain.
It should be a cracker, and it all starts here with the opening stage 1 time trial!
This is the scene at the start ramp by the Fossacesia Marina, on the Adriatic coast of Italy's Abruzzo region. Former Giro champion Vincenzo Nibali has turned up to the party.
The 2023 Giro opens with a time trial and it's all kicking off at 13:50 local time, when the first rider will roll down the ramp. That's just 15 minutes away.
We've got some preview content to catch up on before we get going. We've had our usual 10-day countdown jam-packed with great features, and it all kicked off with Barry Ryan's scene-setter. Barry loathes the term 'must-read' so I'm going to call this one a must-read.
Evenepoel, Roglic and a race of two halves - Giro d’Italia 2023 Preview
Anyway, Barry is there on the ground for us at the Giro, alongside Alasdair Fotheringham, who took to the time trial course yesterday, acting as our recon man. If you've seen the stage profile but are wondering what the course is really like, look no further...
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage 1 time trial preview - A bike path, a climb, and a crucial opening test
As Alasdair notes, at 19.6km, this is the longest opening ITT ever at the Giro. This is no mere prologue; it's a big day in the battle for the pink jersey. Already.
As for that battle, we have the mouthwatering prospect of Evenepoel and Roglic setting off a minute apart. They'll even be followed directly by two TT specialists and stage favourites in Stefan Kung and Filippo Ganna. Full start times at the link below.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage 1 time trial start times - Evenepoel, Roglic, Ganna off late
Laurens Huys (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) rolls down the start ramp and the 2023 Giro d'Italia is underway.
As alluded to just before, the big names are largely backloaded into the latter part of the day. The first real GC rider is Hugh Carthy at 15:13, while the early benchmarks for the stage winning time should come from Josef Cerny and Rohan Dennis, setting off at 14:22 and 14:23
This bike path of smooth green surface takes rides along the coast, a stone's throw from the Adriatic sea. There are a number of dark tunnels as the bike path bores through various headlands.
The wind is light today so although it's exposed, it shouldn't have a major impact. Likewise the late climb is not steep enough to really disrupt the rhythm of the more powerful rouleurs.
We have two intermediate time checks today, the first at the half-way mark after 9.8km, the second at the base of the climb after 16.8km.
You should be able to see the live timings just above.
Laurens Huys, despite being our first starter, might not be our first finisher as Campbell Stewart powers past at the start of the climb.
But the change in terrain shifts the balance back the other way and Huys dances away as the road ramps up.
Huys skips up the final ramps up into the narrow streets of Ortona's old town. He ticks off the final drag to the line to stop the clock on 24:28 - our first time.
But Stewart is through just 10 seconds later to set the fastest time by 50 seconds, at 23:28.
We're getting some leaderboard movement as first Jasha Sutterlin and now Ryan Gibbons (UAE) lower the benchmark, which now stands at 22:56.
We mentioned Cerny and Dennis. They've both just started.
Rohan Dennis is a two-time TT world champ but he wasn't meant to do this race, and recently pulled out of the Tour de Romandie due to illness.
Jumbo-Visma's line-up has been battered from pillar to post, having to replace no fewer than FIVE riders due to a combination of injury and COVID-19. Only two riders from the original line-up remain to support Roglic's bid for pink. Latest below.
Gloag in for Jumbo-Visma after Tratnik suffers training crash on eve of Giro d'Italia
Nico Denz (Bora) took the fastest time but not for long as Stefan De Bod (EF) goes quickest with 22:32.
The first shots are coming in from our photographers.
Cerny hits the climb and looks fairly laboured. The QuickStep rider won the recent Romandie prologue so is among the outsiders today.
Cerny comes to the line but he's outside the fastest times. 22:56 and that's only fifth fastest with the big names still to come.
Rohan Dennis comes to the line and the two-time world champ is even further off the pace, ninth fastest as it stands.
Bob Jungels (Bora) third fastest so far.
23:03 and 7th fastest for the revelation of the Ardennes, Ben Healy (EF).
Rohan Dennis speaks at the finish
"[That was] Rough. I had a week off during Romandie, so today I wasn't expecting to be the absolute best of myself but it was always going to be a challenge. A good way of opening the legs and lungs, and hopefully the start of a good Giro.
"Whoever has the most power [will come out on top]. The last climb hurts but if you have the legs you can punch over it. I didn't but hopefully Primoz [Roglic] does."
Filippo Zanna storms up the final kilometre out of the saddle.
The first blue jersey for the mountains classification goes to the fastest time up the final climb, from the second checkpoint to the line, so we will get riders taking it easy on the bike path to save everything for the final climb.
On that note, that's a tactic Rick Zabel used to great effect last year.
Zabel outclimbs Yates as 'crazy plan' puts him into blue jersey at Giro d'Italia
Dutch champion Bauke Mollema comes to the line and is fourth fastest. The veteran has remoulded himself as something of a TT specialist in the twilight of his career - such a strong all-round rider. We have an interview with Mollema, riding his 22nd Grand Tour, on the site today, which you can read here.
Here comes Laurens De Plus to the line and this is a great time....
The Ineos Grenadiers rider is fourth fastest so far and looks well on his way back to his best. He was a big talent at Jumbo-Visma but has had some difficult years at Ineos Grenadiers but caught the eye at the Tour of the Alps and looks very much on an upward curve.
Here's Hugh Carthy. This is the first of our realistic GC contenders and the EF riders has a decent TT in his locker on his day.
Half of the Giro field has now started this opening time trial. A reminder that you can find the full list of start times here.
Mads Pedersen has the fastest times at the first two checks and now starts the climb in the last 3km.
Pedersen's heading into the hotseat!
22:20 for Pedersen!
12 seconds faster than De Bod and we have a new provisional leader.
Pavel Sivakov goes third fastest. He's one of four potential GC cards for Ineos Grenadiers and, although he's likeliest to have to work, he's put himself in the mix with a solid time there.
And as Sivakov finishes, Thymen Arensman - probably third in the Ineos hierarchy - sets off. He's got a really good TT on him.
Net up Ineos have Tao Geoghegan Hard in 20 minutes, then Geraint Thomas is at 16:15, and finally Filippo Ganna at 16:37.
As his EF teammate Rigoberto Urán - two-time Giro runner-up - sets off, Hugh Carthy hits the line with the 17th best time so far, 54 seconds down on Mads Pedersen.
The British climber could well lose a minute or more to Evenepoel and Roglic.
Here's your clubhouse leader, Mads Pedersen.
Brandon McNulty is flying up the final climb.
McNulty into the lead!
UAE Team Emirates have three leaders! The US rider storms into the lead by 14 seconds with a time of 22:06.
Joao Almeida is the number one UAE card on paper, Jay Vine is the exciting plan B, but McNulty - returning to the Giro after two Tours with Tadej Pogačar - could be another contender in a race that packs 70km against the clock.
Ilan Van Wilder goes third fastest. Remco Evenepoel's right-hand man is clearly on form.
Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) is underway and now Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos) is on the ramp!
And here comes Arensman to the finish. It's not his best effort - 11th fastest so far and 43 seconds down on McNulty.
Jay Vine fastest at the first checkpoint!
It's 16:00 local time and we are 34 minutes away from Evenepoel. A minute later it's Roglic, a minute later it's Kung, a minute later it's Ganna, and a minute later it's Vlasov.
Vine is fastest to the second checkpoint and now he gets to his terrain - the climb. This could be a big ride and a big statement.
Another US stormer as Will Barta (Movistar) goes fourth quickest.
Vine looks to be surging up this climb.
Damiano Caruso - runner-up two years ago - sets off but all eyes on Vine now.
Vine's heading into the lead.
22:04 for the Australian champion, two seconds quicker than his UAE teammate Brandon McNulty.
That's a statement from Vine, whose preparation was apparently wrecked by a knee injury. We didn't know if he could be a Grand Tour GC contender and we didn't know if he'd have the form here, but that's about as good a start as he could have hoped for.
And, in a brilliant moment of timing, Joao Almeida - UAE's supposed leader - sets off. With teammates holding the best two times, no pressure at all...
Geoghegan Hart is on the climb after a strong section on the flat.
Bruno Armirail (FDJ) is on a hell of a ride as well and he comes to the line with the third quickest time so far.
And now for Geoghegan Hart. He's not going to be far off here....
Geoghegan Hart into the lead!
Wow. The first rider sub-22 minutes with 21:58. He beats Vine by six seconds.
Geoghegan Hart's co-leader at Ineos, Geraint Thomas, sets off now. He's had a disrupted start to the year but can always produce when it matters.
Almeida is going well and matching Vine at the first checkpoint.
Michael Matthews with a strong sixth place so far.
Geraint Thomas is on par with Vine and Almeida - and faster than Geoghegan Hart - at the first checkpoint.
Almeida is on the climb and he's going to be in the mix for the fastest time here.
Meanwhile, Evenepoel, Roglic, Kung, Ganna have completed their warm-ups and are about to start.
Almeida has two riders in his sights as he storms to the line. He takes the lead!
The Portuguese rider clocks 21:48 to take a full 10 seconds out of Geoghegan Hart.
That was also 16 seconds faster than Vine and 18 faster than McNulty so he's top dog at a very strong UAE team as it stands.
Geraint Thomas is fastest at the second checkpoint! Climb time now.
Here's Evenepoel on the ramp, in the Belgian champion's skinsuit and one hell of a Star Wars helmet.
The pre-race favourite is off and he wastes no time in sprinting out of the saddle to get up to speed.
And here's Roglic, with a rather more subtle and shapely golden helmet to mark his status as Olympic champion. He's away and the battle for pink properly gets going.
Now time for Stefan Kung (FDJ), so often a nearly man in major TTs but he can beat everyone on his day.
And now Ganna hits the ramp in the Italian champion's Tricolore and his white Pinarello.
Thomas comes to the line and he has lost some time on that climb. He stops the clock on 22:13 which is the 5th best time so far.
And now Vlasov sets off for Bora. That's the last of our GC contenders.
Vlasov's teammate Lennard Kamna comes to the line. He was seen as something of a GC dark horse but he's only 15th fastest so far.
He's 21 seconds faster than anyone else at the half-way mark
Roglic hits the checkpoint and he's 26 seconds down on Evenepoel after 9km!
Ganna is 12 seconds down at that checkpoint!
The flat is Ganna's terrain but Evenepoel has put 12 seconds into him in just 9km, with a climb to come. Incredible stuff.
Kung was 32 seconds down and pretty much out of the equation.
Finally, we have Vlasov and he's going really well!
21 seconds down on Evenepoel so on par with Almeida.
Evenepoel reaches the second checkpoint and he is 33 seconds up on Almeida's benchmark.
Roglic hits the checkpoint and what's the damage?
It's 42 seconds already. Wow.
Evenepoel isn't slowing down on the climb. This is a special ride.
Ganna starts the climb now. He's 15 seconds down at the second check, so he has lost a further three seconds and now has to go uphill.
Evenepoel comes to the finish. Head down, in the saddle.
Evenepoel storms into the lead
21:18 for Evenepoel! That's 29 seconds up on Almeida.
Evenepoel actually lost four seconds to Almeida on the climb itself but still, that was a hell of a ride.
Here comes Roglic, suffering an early blow in this Giro. He drags himself through the final kilometre. Let's see the damage.
22:01 for Roglic.
That's fourth fastest so far, and it's 43 seconds slower than Evenepoel.
Kung heads to the line and we already wrote him out of the stage win but it's going to be a solid enough ride nonetheless. Same time as Roglic - 22:01.
Ganna is next, the only rider anywhere near Evenepoel after the flat section, but uphill is his relative weakness.
Evenepoel's time flashes by and it's going to be second place for Ganna, at 22 seconds down.
Now for Vlasov, who's been on a good ride. He stops the clock on 22:13, 55 seconds down on Evenepoel.
We have seven riders still to come in but that's it effectively done and dusted.
Evenepoel will be the stage winner and pink jersey and will take a big chunk out of his rivals.
This was Evenepoel a little earlier
The last riders are just finishing but no one is troubling the top of the leaderboard.
Stefano Oldani hits the line and that's that. Stage done.
Remco Evenepoel wins stage 1 of the Giro d'Italia and takes the first pink jersey as overall leader
Here was Evenepoel at the finish.
And now we can hear from the winner
"I'm super happy. It's the best result we can get. I said in the bus that I thought it would be 21:30 to win, and in the end it was 21:18 so I was quite close to my guess. I felt from the start in a good rhythm, always the same gear, same cadence.
"I'm not really focusing on the time gaps. I just wanted to try to win the stage and in the end we won it, so mission one accomplished."
Full report, results, and photo gallery can be found here.
The pink jersey goes on over the rainbow jersey.
Roglic gave a brief interview at the finish. He was smiling and winking but it looked like a mask after what must have been the gut-wrenching news that Evenepoel had gone 43 seconds quicker than him.
"It was hard, huh, but now it's behind, so I'm happy," he said. "[The legs were] actually good, I'm super happy, and optimistic for the upcoming days.
"For me it was just to go my best, I did, and I'm happy about it. There are 20 stages to go, huh."