Giro 100 opens with chaotic finale
A crash inside the last four kilometers changed the stage 1 script on Friday afternoon.
Sun, sea and Sardinia – these were the main coordinates of the Giro d'Italia opening day, which had the riders cover a 206km-long course between Alghero and Olbia, a small town in the nort-east part of the island, which last hosted a Corsa Rosa stage finish in 1991.
Despite having three fourth-category climbs positioned on the route, the last of which came with around 25 kilometers to go, the route didn't pose any dangers to the sprinters, whose teams controlled the gap, Quick-Step Floors, Lotto-Soudal and Orica-Scott doing the bulk of the work at the front of the bunch behind the seven escapees.
It was under Bob Jungels' impetus, who ratchet up the speed, that the breakers got caught by the peloton with four kilometers left of stage 1. Just as the lead-out trains were forming, a crash which occurred before the closing three kilometers disrupted the sprint teams. Lukas Postlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) took advantage of this messy situation and attacked with around 1500 meters remaining, going all the way to the line and nabbing the victory, which brought him also the first maglia rosa of the race.
Fernando Gaviria, who made his Grand Tour debut, rolled over the line in 12th place, together with teammate Bob Jungels, last year's white jersey winner: "Today's stage was hard, and the technical finish made things even more complicated. The team did a great job chasing the escapees, but in the last kilometers, after the crash, it became very difficult to be in control of the whole situation. Coming into the last roundabout I wasn't well-placed and my ambitions for a good result today came to an end there. But it's only the beginning of the race and there will be other opportunities."
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele