Simon Yates kicked off his Giro d’Italia challenge with a steady outing in the race’s opening time trial in Turin, where local hope Filippo Ganna rode off with the pink jersey.
Englishman Yates is among the favourites for the general classification and finished 37 seconds off the lead for Team BikeExchange, a creditable showing that places him narrowly in front of rivals Egan Bernal and Vincenzo Nibali.
“It was a day to blow the cobwebs out, a tough little opener but now we have started so I am looking forward to the rest of the race,” said Yates.
“We have two easier days now, then we start getting the harder terrain where hopefully I can do my thing.”
Ganna was the standout on the 8.6km leg along the Po river with a time of eight minutes and 48 seconds for Ineos Grenadiers, repeating his performance in last year’s edition, when he also began with a winning effort and went on to take three more stages.
The reigning time-trial world champion held off the challenge of Jumbo Visma pair Edoardo Affini and outside GC candidate Tobias Foss, who is 13 seconds back. Joao Almeida is also promisingly placed 17 seconds off the lead.
“It was a lot of time waiting in the hot seat at the finish but now I’m here and really happy,” said Ganna.
“I said ‘Filippo, just go full gas, listen to the people on the road, and if they say your name you can go really fast’.”
The best-placed Briton was Alex Dowsett, the six-time national time-trial champion claiming 14th on the day.