Giro d’Italia: Van der Poel in pink after winning his debut
VISEGRAD, Hungary –
Dutch cyclist Mathieu van der Poel won the opening stage of the Giro d’Italia on Friday and claimed the race’s first magnolia title in his debut in the Italian Grand Prix. big.
Van der Poel, driver for Alpecin-Fenix, overtook cyclist Eritrean Biniam Girmay at the end of a chaotic sprint on the ramp up to the citadel in Visegrad in the first of three races in Hungary.
“I knew position was going to be the key to winning,” Van der Poel said. “Sometimes it was a bit difficult, I got boxed a few times in the last climb. It took a lot of effort to catch up with the guys ahead and in the final I just sprinted and it was pretty close. . of course because the legs are full of lactate.”
He also won the Tour de France yellow jersey in six days after winning the second leg last year, in his only other major tour.
“It’s unbelievable, after the yellow shirt to wear pink now,” he said. “Now we’ll see what the test of time brings tomorrow. I’ll try again, sure. It’s going to be tough but I’ll try.”
Pello Bilbao finished third at the end of the undulating 195km run from Budapest.
Ottawa’s Alex Cataford is 70th, leading 52 seconds. The 28-year-old Israeli Premier Tech racer is competing in his third consecutive Grand Tour race.
Caleb Ewan fought hard to win but crashed less than 200 meters after touching Girmay’s rear wheel.
Drone Hopper’s two riders led the race for most of the day after breaking out shortly after the start. Italians Mattia Bias and Filippo Tagliani easily took the lead and maximized their advantage 11 minutes into the game before the team started pressing on them.
They were caught with less than 14km left and the stage came to life on the 5km journey to the finish line.
There were several attempts at an attack but the peloton got them under control. Overall favorite Richard Carapaz is sixth, around the same time as all his predecessors, and he has built a slim advantage over his main general classification opponents.
Saturday’s second phase was a personal time trial through Budapest, which also saw a rough finish. There are peaks of 14% in the first section towards the end of the 9km route.
Two years later than expected, this is the first time an epic tour has begun in Hungary and the 14th time Giro has started outside of Italy.
Giro was scheduled to start in Hungary in 2020, but the pandemic forced organizers to postpone the race to October and move the starting point to Sicily.
Giro ends May 29 in Verona.