‘Mission one accomplished’: What Evenepoel, Geoghegan Hart, Almeida said after Giro d’Italia stage 1
Remco Evenepoel sets early benchmark by winning opening time trial by 22 seconds.
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Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) powered to the first pink jersey of the 2023 Giro d’Italia after blasting to victory in the opening time trial.
The Belgian champion beat Italian champ Filippo Ganna by 22 seconds while Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) gave away 43 seconds in the GC.
Also read: Remco Evenepoel destroys competition, takes pink jersey
Evenepoel’s win sees him build a strong early advantage with two more time trials to come over the three weeks of racing.
Here’s what he and his rivals had to say after the stage:
Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step)
“I’m super happy, it is the best result we can get for the first day. I’m super happy, we wanted to go as fast as possible and I think we went fast enough today.
“I said on the bus that I thought it would be a 21:30 to win and, in the end, I did 21:18 so I was quite close to my guess. I felt like I had a good rhythm, always in the same gear, and the same cadence so I think I’m just super happy with what I could do.
“I’m not really focusing on the gap with [Primož Roglič], I just tried to win the stage and, in the end, we won it. Mission one accomplished and no full focus and try to get safely through the first week and save as much energy for the next time trial.
“We said that we will probably have to keep [the pink jersey] until stage 4 and then we might see something to give it away. For now, I’m super happy and I’m just trying to enjoy it because I think it is a nice way to come back to the Giro.”
João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) 3rd
“I know my abilities, but I was a bit surprised with the time that I did. It just confirms the good work the team has been doing, so I’m pretty happy with this.
“I was already expecting [Remco Evenepoel] to win but it was a really big margin, so it was even better than I thought. Congrats to him, and he deserves the shirt. I think it’s important to start with the right feet, make a good start and let the race flow and I think we are in a pretty good position.”
Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers) 4th
“I think it was not bad, the execution. Obviously, there were still a lot of big names to come but in terms of my delivery, I’m happy with it. I was happy with how I rode and happy with how I felt, so no issues.
“It is a bit how we expected so that is a good sign. In the end, it’s just 20 minutes and a really fast course so I don’t think you can read too much into it.”
Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) 5th
“I tried to prepare as well as I could for this Giro. I did my best but I think that Remco is just above everybody else. Personally, I finished too far behind to have an impact on the final victory today.
“We know that he is really aero, and [Evenepoel] has a really big motor. This is a parcours that suits him. I would like to have it without too many rhythm changes, that suits me better. I worked this winter on that and I was quite confident today on the aero side. I had a few little problems, but I don’t think I deserved to lose 46 seconds, it’s hard.”
Mauro Gianetti (UAE Team Emirates team manager)
“It was an amazing performances from João Almeida, Brandon (McNulty), and Jay Vine, all three did an incredibly good TT. It was important today, it was the first day to take the temperature of everybody, and yourself. It’s not a surprise to see Evenepoel so strong, but it was really impressive today.
“We have made a big investment in the wind tunnel, testing products, tires, wheels, and also working on the position in the wind tunnel and on the track. We invested in everything because each second is important and we know the difference if we work well or not. This effort today, we saw that come back.”