The opening stage of the 100th Giro d’Italia provided plenty of late-race drama with a crash occurring outside of the protected 3km barrier and causing a split in the peloton, but Team KATUSHA ALPECIN riders were attentive and protective of Ilnur Zakarin, bringing the team leader safely home on the 206km stage from Alghero to Olbia on paradise island Sardinia.
“It was a long stage and almost all of it was into a headwind, so it was not too fast, in fact it was slow sometimes. But there was sunshine and very good team spirit. We worked together and are looking forward to the next stages. In the final Ilnur told me I could go in the front and make my sprint, so I went in the best position but it was tricky with a lot of corners,” said Viacheslav Kuznetsov, who placed 14th on the stage in the front group of riders.
A late attack from Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) gave the Austrian the stage honors as well as the first maglia rosa. Rounding out the podium were Caleb Ewan (ORICA-Scott) and André Greipel of Lotto Soudal. The winning time was 5:13:35 (39.415km/h). Pöstlberger leads on the GC by 4-seconds to Ewan.
Stage 2 on Saturday begins in today’s finish city of Olbia and runs through the east part of Sardinia. At 221km, the race features a downhill plunge but a flat 10km finish in Tortoli.
Photo credit © Tim De Waele