On Saturday, Ineos Grenadiers could not have been capable of have fun a 3rd opening time trial victory in 4 years by Filippo Ganna on the Giro d’Italia, however their GC contenders Tao Geoghegan Hart and Geraint Thomas each delivered performances that have been removed from disappointing all the identical.
2020 Giro winner Geoghegan Hart got here house a promising fourth at 40 seconds and even briefly had a spell within the scorching seat as provisional stage chief, earlier than Ganna completed second. In the meantime, Thomas turned in a blistering first two-thirds of the course and regardless of fading badly on the ultimate climb, nonetheless completed ninth, at 55 seconds.
Of the GC contenders, solely Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) and João Almeida (UAE Crew Emirates) have been sooner than Geoghegan Hart, whereas Thomas got here by the primary large GC day along with his choices nearly equally intact.
The latest winner of the Tour of the Alps, Geoghegan Hart had insisted pre-Giro that the outcomes from the week-long mountainous stage race weren’t essentially pointers for the Italian Grand Tour. But when his victory two weeks in the past within the former Giro di Trentino could or might not be a reference level for the climbs to come back within the Giro d’Italia, in anybody’s guide, his stage 1 time trial consequence is an efficient begin come what could.
Talking earlier than the stage was over, Geoghegan Hart stated his efficiency was “not a foul execution, there are nonetheless quite a lot of large names to come back. However when it comes to my supply I’m proud of it, I felt actually good, so no points there.”
He was extra cautious about describing it as a optimistic signal for the levels to come back.
“It was a bit as I anticipated, in order that’s at all times a very good signal. However ultimately it’s solely 20 minutes and a extremely quick course, so I don’t suppose you may learn an excessive amount of into it.”
Geoghegan Hart dismissed strategies from one reporter that, judging by the way in which he was wanting, it might be that he was both feeling drained or unhappy post-stage, replying “neither, I’m simply calm, mate, that is stage 1 and there are three weeks to go.”
“You is likely to be excited, however we riders must get well now, we’ve acquired eight days extra of racing earlier than the remainder day. You shouldn’t learn an excessive amount of into [people’s] manner, ultimately we’re focussing on tomorrow, in the present day is completed.”
Thomas provided a clear-sighted evaluation of his efficiency, which noticed him briefly clock one of the best time for the opening eight kilometres of the course earlier than a Belgian ballistic missile disguised as a motorbike rider swept all earlier than him. Thomas stored himself very a lot within the combine so far as the foot of the climb, the place all of it went a shade awry for the Welshman, however he didn’t collapse by any means.
A winner of the opening time trial within the Tour de France in 2017 and fourth within the Giro’s stage 1 TT in Palermo in 2020, Thomas described his trip within the equal occasion within the Giro six years later as “a mean begin”.
“I feel I began too exhausting, after which tried to again off a bit, save a bit for the climb. I used to be not going too effectively there,” Thomas stated. “I used to be a bit on the restrict and I couldn’t get cozy, and also you at all times know if you’re not feeling fairly on it.
“I used to be OK, I restricted the time I misplaced, there have been a few corners the place you at all times suppose you possibly can have gone a bit faster. However it’s what it’s, and it’s at all times good to get the race began.”
Whereas saying later he was “not significantly glad” along with his efficiency, Thomas was happy, in any case, to see how effectively Geoghegan Hart had executed.
“It’s good to see him up there, everyone knows how effectively he’s going,” he stated. “It’s a very good begin. I felt OK, higher than I assumed I’d be. I’m not significantly glad, however there’s a protracted method to go.”