ORTONA, Italy — Pre-race favorite Remco Evenepoel stormed to victory in the opening time trial of the Giro d’Italia.
The world champion will hope to still be wearing the pink jersey when the Giro finishes in Rome on May 28.
An impressive ride from Evenepeol saw him obliterate his main rivals over the 12-mile route from Fossacesia Marina to Ortona in 21 minutes, 18 seconds.
The Soudal Quick-Step rider was 22 seconds faster than Filippo Ganna and 29 ahead of João Almeida.
“Super happy. It’s the best result we can get for the first day,” Evenepoel said. “I said I needed a time of 21’30” to win and I did 21’18” so I was quite close to my guess.
“I felt from the start that I had a good rhythm, always the same gear, the same cadence, so I think I’m just super happy with what I can do.”
Primož Roglič, who is considered Evenepoel’s strongest challenger, endured an early blow as he finished 43 seconds behind the Belgian.
“It was hard but now it’s behind, so happy,” Roglič said. “I felt good, I’m super happy, optimistic for the upcoming days.
“For me, it was just to do my best. I did, I’m happy, 20 stages to go eh?”
Evenepoel had a 20-second advantage by the halfway point, while Roglič was already 26 seconds slower than him.
“I wasn’t really focusing on the gap with him, I just wanted to go and try and win the stage and in the end we won it so mission one accomplished,” Evenepoel said.
“Now full focus, try to get safe through this first week and save as much energy for the next time trial.”
Stage 2 is a 125.5-mile route from Teramo to San Salvo.
Remco Evenepoel obliterates rivals to win Giro d’Italia opening time trial originally appeared on NBCSports.com