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Giro mini roundtable: Dumoulin dominates, Froome flails

By Fred Dreier • Published
Tom Dumoulin won the Giro's opening stage... and a pink wristwatch. Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images

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The Giro d’Italia is here.

Italy’s grand tour kicked off Friday with a short 9.7-kilometer course through downtown Jerusalem, and we finally witnessed the first battle in a month-long war between defending champion Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) and Chris Froome (Sky). Dumoulin took first blood, winning the stage and putting 37 seconds into Froome, who looked somewhat off of his game following a crash during warm-up.

Sure, there are still 20 stages to go at this year’s Giro d’Italia, and anything can happen in the battle for pink. That won’t prevent us from voicing our much-too-early hot takes from Friday action. Let’s roundtable!

Tom Dumoulin won and Chris Froome crashed (in warm-up). What are your early knee-jerk opinions on the Giro’s opening stage and its impact on the battle?

Fred Dreier @freddreierRace is over, Dumoulin will win! In all seriousness, Dumoulin’s victory today has to be a huge morale booster for his entire team. And now, he had better get rid of that Maglia Rosa as soon as he can, because I doubt that Sunweb has the manpower to defend it for 20 more stages. My guess is Sunweb will allow a breakaway to get up the road here in the next few days. If Sky wanted to be cruel, they would chase down the moves. I’m honestly worried about Froome. The post-crash video shows him limping away from the racecourse, and the body language definitely says that he hurt something. Even if it’s not a serious injury, the fact that Froome is hurting on day 1 of this year’s Giro is a reason to be alarmed. Discomfort of any kind can impact a rider’s psychology over 20 long stages.

Dane Cash @danecash: Froome lost way more time than he should have but I still see a healthy and motivated Froome putting oodles of time into Dumoulin in the mountains. I doubt Friday’s TT differential ends up making a big difference in the overall, regardless of who wins. The crash may have had bigger ramifications than a stage 1 time loss, however. If Froome’s up-close-and-personal experience with the Jerusalem asphalt left any lasting bumps or bruises, we could be in for an interesting first week.

Spencer Powlison @spino_powerlegs: Dumoulin has been playing possum all spring! I had my doubts about the Dutchman ahead of the Giro but that ride through Jerusalem was masterful. He didn’t come to the Giro for the espresso and grappa. As for Froome, well, I didn’t like his result, but after that pretty nasty crash in warm-up, I have to give him credit for taking the start and staying within sight. Sky shouldn’t hit the panic button just yet.

Other than Dumoulin vs. Froome, what are the other takeaways from today’s opening time trial?

Fred: Loved what I saw from Dumoulin, Rohan Dennis, Simon Yates, and Domenico Pozzovivo. Liked what I saw from Thibaut Pinot. I’m concerned about Froome, Esteban Chaves, and Davide Formolo. And I really did not like what I saw from George Bennett, Fabio Aru, Miguel Angel Lopez, Louis Meintjes, and Michael Woods. It’s one thing to start the Giro a few seconds down to Dumoulin, but some of these guys lost a minute. That ain’t great.

Dane: Carlos Betancur is back! Maybe! Okay, he was only 11th in the time trial, but you would have expected even peak fitness Carlos Betancur to lose a bunch of time in a flat TT — and we have not seen peak fitness Carlos Betancur in a very long time. Perhaps he’s back on track. It’s a good start, at least. That’s more than Fabio Aru can say. Nobody expected him to win, but giving up 50 seconds in a time trial of less than 10 kilometers is pretty remarkable, and not in a good way.

Spencer: Holy Mitchelton-Scott! Where did little Simon Yates learn to time trial? Sure he wasn’t in contention to win the day, but they did far better than other TT-averse GC men like Fabio Aru who lost 50 seconds … Ouch. Also, kudos to Domenico Pozzovivo for punching above his weight.

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