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04:20:21

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And that's that! Ganna wins the stage...

Bevin was unable to trouble the top places and it remains these three on the podium.
Cycling
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  • 1. Ganna 8'47"
  • 2. Affini 8'58"
  • 3. Foss 9'00"
Filippo Ganna becomes the first rider to win the first stage of the Giro in two consecutive years since the 1980s, and – more importantly – he takes the first maglia rosa of 2021.

Landa finishes in 9'36"

And that's not bad from the notably TT-averse Basque climber. He is within 10 seconds of Nibali, Yates, Bernal and Bennett.

Ganna beats Affini!

And that is an astonishing time of 8'47" which surely won't be beaten today. As Sean Kelly just said on the telly, "We'd need a miracle" for anyone to top Ganna now
Here's the provisional top three now.
  • 1. Ganna 8'47"
  • 2. Affini 8'58"
  • 3. Foss 9'00"
The last man that stands a chance is maybe Patrick Bevin, who is just about to finish his effort.

Evenepoel crosses the line

And the young Belgian doesn't quite have enough to beat Affini. He does, however, have enough for sixth so far on the day with 9'06"!

Ganna giving it everything

The world champion is on his way and he is doing some astonishing watts – he just touched 690 for a few seconds.
Remco Evenepoel is also on the course just a minute ahead of him.
At the intermediate, Evenepoel goes 2 seconds slower than the fastest time set by Affini, while Ganna goes 1.7 seconds quicker!

Hindley, Bennet finished – Bettiol on course

And it's not a great time from the Aussie who came close to winning Il Giro last year. Hindley is going to be there or thereabouts with the other overall favourites, nine seconds down on that all important 9'25" / 9'26" marker set by Bernal & Yates.
EF Education Nippo's Alberto Bettiol is a very dark horse for today. The course is short enough that he could do something surprising.
George Bennett's teammates on Jumbo Visma have been fantastic today, currently holding first and second places, and Bennett himself has performed about as well as could be expected. He's finished with a time of 9'28".

Bernal & Yates lose time to leaders, but not to each other...

It's 28 seconds down to Affini, for Bernal. Losing time to Affini is no issue for the Colombian who has bigger goals than victory today, but he's also gone slower than Carthy and, of course, Almeida.
Yates goes just a second quicker than Bernal. If these two are the key favourites for the race overall then they have done a fantastic job of matching one another!
Their times will put them somewhere in the 20-30th positions for this stage.

Almeida crosses the line!

And it's a time of 9'04" for the Portuguese, who wore the maglia rosa last year on the strength of his superb TT in the prologue.
Tha's good enough for provisional third, but there are some serious big names on his tail.

Big guns are firing!

Yates, Bernal and Almeida have begun their Giro campaigns.
You'd expect Almeida to do best today of these three, but Yates has a way of surprising us in time trials.

It's par for the course for Carthy

It's not a time to set the world alight from the Lancastrian, but as his team's owner points out – this course was far from optimal for him.
Carthy finished in 9'24".

Pavel Sivakov loses 24 seconds

The Russian rider on Ineos Grenadiers has put in a not-very-good showing . He's never made any claims to be an excellent TT rider, but as a joint-leader of Ineos you would possibly hope for more.
Alex Dowsett of the UK also just finished, 17 seconds down on that blistering time of Affini's.
Here's the provisional podium as things stand right now.
  • 1. Affini 8'58"
  • 2. Foss 9'00"
  • 3. Cavagna 9'05"

20 minutes to Yates, Bernal and Almeida...

Affini knocks teammate Toby off the top spot

And just as his intermediate time suggested, Affini also goes quicker than Foss at the finish.
These Jumbo lads are having a fantastic day – what can their GC leader George Bennett do a little bit later on?

Affini is flying

What did these Jumbo boys have for breakfast!?
Foss' teammate Edoardo Affini is going really well and sets a time five seconds faster than Foss' at the intermediate.

Oooh and that is a BIG upset...

Remi Cavagna cannot beat the time of Foss. The man who many ranked as the favourite finishes 5 seconds slower than the Norwegian youngster. Huge!
Tobias Foss has tipped up the applecart in a very big way here.

Big names rolling off the ramp

It's Remi Cavagna next off the ramp and here's a strong candidate for the first guy to go sub-nine minutes.
The Frenchman is the in-form timetriallist of this season so far, having scooped even better results than world champion, Filippo Ganna.
We've also got Daniel Martinez of Ineos on-course, the Colombian national TT champ.

Tobias Foss takes the lead!

Awesome performance from the young Norwegian there on Jumbo-Visma. He absolutely smashed the previous best time and lands on exactly nine minutes. That's 9 seconds faster than Brandle's previous best.
Wow.

Great save from Sanchez..

This is from earlier in the day.

'It's a road bike!' - Sanchez has to switch after back tyre failure during TT

And that is a magnificent effort from Vlasov!

He comes home just 2 seconds short of Brandle, which is good enough for provisional second. 9'11" for the Russian.
Right on his heels, Nibali finishes his TT effort and – despite some errant cornering – he also notches a respectable time of 9'28".

Natnael Tesfatsion crosses the line

The Eritrean couldn't defend his Tour du Rwanda crown from 2020 this year because of Androni's late callup for the Giro. He is instead making his Grand Tour debut and I for one expect great things for him over his career.
It's not an earth shattering time by any means – 10'06 – but look out for him in the mountains later in the race.
Aleksandr Vlasov is on the course at the moment, another guy with big hopes in the GC this year after a bitter disappointment last season when he abandoned the first week of the Giro with sickness.
Who is Tesfatsion? The 21-year-old Tour du Rwanda champion from Eritrea

"The Shark is in the water"

A gem from Eurosport commentator, Rob Hatch. He's talking about Vincenzo Nibali, of course, who has just begun his Giro d'Italia campaign.
The Italian is the only past winner of the Giro on the startlist this year, and he has had his hopes of victory severely dented by a wrist injury incurred about three weeks ago. He's had surgery, and the arm is strapped up today – so let's see what he is capable of.
Nibali to ride at Giro d'Italia despite wrist injury

Matthias Brandle smashes the best time!

He was two seconds down at the intermediate, but recovered seven seconds in the second part of the course. An impressive ride from the Austrian national TT champ and Israel StartUp Nation rider. Very impressive ride from the 31-year-old.
The new time to beat then is 9'09"!

No-one troubling the scorers at the moment

After that big time from Castroviejo, we haven't seen any new contenders for the win. Pello Bilbao has lost a few seconds which augurs not particularly well for any GC hopes he harbours, while Nelson Oliveira did go fast as we expected, managing a time just two seconds slower than Castroviejo's 9'15".
Also, more castelli!

De Marchi on the march

Alessandro De Marchi is giving it full-Gurn on the final straight, and he notches a fourth-best time so far.
Still, it's not all about speed – style matters too.

Bad luck for Luis Leon Sanchez

Another former Spanish national champion, Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) gets a rear wheel flat and has to change onto a backup road bike. That's his chances of a stage win gone, although they were remote to begin with it must be said.
Nelson Oliveira (Movistar) is now off the ramp and he could do something good today in this short punchy and flat TT.

New best time!

Jonathan Castroviejo of Ineos Grenadiers sets a new best time of 9'14". The former Spanish TT champ really attacked the course and will bump Campenaerts out of the hotseat.

Campenaerts sets the benchmark

It's 9'19" for the Qhubeka Assos rider, just narrowly beating Dekker's time by 0.71 seconds! That's closer than you might expect those two riders to be in a TT. But did Dekker have a stormer, or did Campenaerts underperform?

In full swing...

There have actually been quite a few big names electing to go early in the day, rather than towards the end. We have Campenaerts, plus Bauke Mollema and Gorka Izagirre on course now.
Last year at the Giro prologue, a change of wind direction and strength led to some big surprises for the GC guys who elected to start later in the day – I wonder if we'll see something similar today.
The first two riders, Dekker and Tagliani, have just finished. Dekker actually caught Tagliani in the final straight so while he started second, he is the first to cross the line in this stage.

Victor Campenaerts first favourite off

An early rider in contention for the win is the Belgian, who was third off the ramp and will surely spend at least some time in hotseat today.
The locals clearly back him, too, as they've named this fetching castello in the town centre after him...

8.6km to go – Filippo Tagliani gets us rolling!

The Androni rider is off the ramp and gets this prologue started. David Dekker follows him a minute after.
The Giro d'Italia 2021 has begun!

Question marks over Bernal's fitness

If you scroll down a bit you'll find Wiggins' comments on Egan Bernal, Ineos Grenadiers' Colombian co-leader. Sir Brad's not convinced by Bernal this year, and that's a lack of confidence that seems to be shared by the Colombian's team too. He has been named as 'joint leader' alongside Pavel Sivakov – and not only that, Bernal himself seems unsure of exactly how this race will go for him, saying it would be "useless to make false promises" about what he can achieve.

Egan Bernal

Image credit: Getty Images

'It’s useless to make false promises' - Are Giro wheels coming off already for Ineos?

Yates' to lose? British riders with podium ambition

The man from Bury is the favourite for the race now, but he wasn't always – just a week ago he was behind Egan Bernal and even Remco Evenepoel in the odds with the bookies. Sir Bradley Wiggins has tipped Yates as his winner, but also highlighted a couple of other British riders in with a shot of the podium.
Wiggins tips Yates for Giro, backs Knox and Carthy too

Britain's Simon Yates battles to second place on Monte Zoncolan during stage 14 of the 2018 Giro d'Italia

Image credit: Getty Images

Ciaoooo, tutti!

Welcome one and all to the first live blog of the 2021 Giro d'Italia! Tom Owen here, do feel free to give me a tweet with your thoughts on the race.
We've got so much amazing preview content on the Eurosport website and while we wait for the first rider to go off the ramp at 1pm today, we're gonna run through a few bits. First, an octet of intriguing queries from Eurosport's main man, Felix Lowe. 3
Can anyone stop Bernal and Yates? 8 key questions ahead of Giro

Wiggins: Bernal has lost his 'air of invincibility'

Egan Bernal has lost his "air of invincibility” ahead of Il Giro, according to Eurosport’s Sir Bradley Wiggins.
Bernal has had an injury-interrupted past 12 months, having abandoned Le Tour in 2020 with a back injury that continues to trouble him today. He told La Gazzeta dello Sport this week that he still feels the pain of his injury and will be taking the Giro ‘day by day’. Ineos also announced that Pavel Sivakov will be their joint leader for the Giro, further undermining confidence in the Colombian.
In recent days, Bernal has also tumbled out of the favourite spot with the bookies and now sits behind Simon Yates as tipsters’ choice for maglia rosa glory.
In an exclusive interview for Eurosport UK, Wiggins suggested Bernal’s place in the Ineos pecking order might have changed since last season.
I think it’s wide open this year. When earlier this year intentions were announced that Bernal would be doing the Giro, Bernal doesn’t have that air of invincibility that he had a few years ago.
“[Then], when he turned up at a race it was almost a done deal. There’s chinks in his armour now. [Geraint Thomas] is now looking every bit the leader of that team on an overall basis.”
Read the full interview with Wiggins here

Re-Cycle: 'A victory lasts forever' – When Cipollini broke Binda’s Giro record

Alfredo Binda’s mark of 41 stage wins in the Giro stood for 70 years, until Mario Cipollini went one better. With a flair for the flamboyant and a penchant for the beach, Cipo made headlines and history but few friends during his controversial career. Felix Lowe grabs the tail of the legend of the Lion King. You can read the full story here: or listen to the Re-Cycle podcast on your favourite platform right now, but here is an excerpt to whet the appetite:
- - -
It is one of the peculiar quirks of a stat-heavy sport that sees us compare the incomparable. Drawing from more than a century of races, when a long-standing record falls, we can pit one of the Giro d’Italia’s most complete riders with a man who took specialising in sprinting to a new level of niche.
But when Mario Cipollini soared to successive stage victories in the 2003 Giro, the man they called the Lion King equalled, then surpassed, a mark set in 1933. Some 14 years after he’d carved the first notch in his Giro bedpost, Cipo wrote his name into the record books in the rainbow bands he’d won seven months earlier at Zolder.
The author of that 70-year record was Alfredo Binda, a rider known as “cycling’s first cannibal”. In his book, Giro d’Italia – the Story of the World’s Most Beautiful Bike Race, Colin O’Brien describes the first man to win five editions of the race as “a rider of unparalleled ability, of such unique talent that he dominated almost every race he entered”.
Such was Binda’s vice-like grip on his national race, the organisers even had to pay him not to turn up one year. Most people thought his record would stand forever – until a machine seemingly designed for the sole purpose of winning Giro stages came along, all muscles, hair gel and macho flamboyance.
On the surface, the cold and detached Binda was a man who had about as much in common with the charismatic Cipollini as a smooth Barolo to Grappa. One was a champion vintage to savour long on the lips, another a coarse digestif enjoyed – if that’s the word – at the very end of a meal, something that came and went in a matter of seconds. And, once it hit the spot, it left behind a bad aftertaste. But as we will see, Cipollini's story is far more than that of a winning machine as allegations and hugely controversial comments continue to cast an ugly shadow.

How can I watch the Giro?

You can watch the Giro d'Italia live and ad-free on the Eurosport app and Eurosport.co.uk. Download the Eurosport app for iOS and Android now. You can also watch the most comprehensive live & ad-free racing on GCN+. Go deeper and get interactive with live polls & quizzes, plus rider profiles, race updates, results & more – plus stream exclusive cycling documentaries. Watch it all with GCN+ on any device.
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