The stage has a winding and undulating profile. The first half features minor climbs and mild descents along the northern coast. The last ascent is the 5km San Pantaleo climb (topping out at 8 percent). The final part until Olbia is also characterized by a constant undulation, where a sprint victory is to be expected.
Stage 1: Pöstlberger foils sprinters, wins his Giro debut
With a late attack on a technical finish into Olbia, Lukas Pöstlberger snuck away from the peloton and soloed to victory in stage 1 of the Giro d’Italia on the island of Sardinia Friday. Bora-Hansgrohe’s Austrian will wear the 100th Giro’s first pink jersey after fending off the sprinters. Orica-Scott’s Caleb Ewan had to settle for second place, ahead of Lotto-Soudal’s André Greipel who was third.
“It’s a surprise! I knew my shape was good,” said Pöstlberger. “We wanted to try to lead Sam Bennett out but he lost my wheel and when I saw a gap, I decided to try myself. I gave all I had. It worked out. This is my first professional win and I get the maglia rosa. It will take me a long time to believe this.”
Stage 1, top 10
- 1. Lukas PÖSTLBERGER, BORA – HANSGROHE, in 5:13:35
- 2. Caleb EWAN, ORICA – SCOTT, at :00
- 3. André GREIPEL, LOTTO SOUDAL, at :00
- 4. Giacomo NIZZOLO, TREK – SEGAFREDO, at :00
- 5. Sacha MODOLO, UAE ABU DHABI, at :00
- 6. Kristian SBARAGLI, TEAM DIMENSION DATA, at :00
- 7. Jasper STUYVEN, TREK – SEGAFREDO, at :00
- 8. Ryan GIBBONS, TEAM DIMENSION DATA, at :00
- 9. Sam BENNETT, BORA – HANSGROHE, at :00
- 10. Phil BAUHAUS, TEAM SUNWEB, at :00
- 1. Lukas PÖSTLBERGER, BORA – HANSGROHE5:13:25
- 2. Caleb EWAN, ORICA – SCOTT+4
- 3. André GREIPEL, LOTTO SOUDAL+6
- 4. Pavel BRUTT, GAZPROM – RUSVELO+8
- 5. Giacomo NIZZOLO, TREK – SEGAFREDO+10
- 6. Sacha MODOLO, UAE ABU DHABI+10
- 7. Kristian SBARAGLI, TEAM DIMENSION DATA+10
- 8. Jasper STUYVEN, TREK – SEGAFREDO+10
- 9. Ryan GIBBONS, TEAM DIMENSION DATA+10
- 10. Sam BENNETT, BORA – HANSGROHE+10
The early break contained six riders: Mirco Maestri (Bardiani-CSF), Cesare Benedetti (Bora-Hansgrohe), Marcin Bialoblocki (CCC Sprandi Polkowice), Pavel Brutt (Gazprom-Rusvelo), Daniel Teklehaimanot (Dimension Data), and Eugert Zhupa (Wilier Selle Italia).
Maestri was first to be dropped in the 206km stage, and as the peloton ramped up for the sprint, Bialoblocki also went back to the bunch. The peloton caught the remaining four men inside of the final five kilometers.
After a sharp right-hand bend caused chaos with 3km to go, the field split with a small group vying for the sprint at the front. Pöstlberger, 25, drove the pace and got a gap over two Orica-Scott riders after a sharp corner with about 1.8km to go. The Austrian, in his grand tour debut, checked the gap and then put his head down to make the solo move stick. He held off a desperate chasing pack to claim an unexpected victory and the overall lead.
“It’s the biggest win of my career,” said Pöstlberger, whose previous career highlight was a stage win on the Tour of Austria. “I heard over the radio, c’mon Posty go, try!’ and I put all I had in. It worked out, victory for the team, first big victory for me — maglia rosa. “I think I’ll need many weeks to realize this victory. It’s unbelievable, really.”
With a strong turn of speed, Ewan beat Greipel to second place, but the Australian was likely disappointed to miss an opportunity to wear the maglia rosa. “It was a really strong move by [Pöstlberger],” Ewan said. “It was a hectic finish and sometimes a moment’s hesitation can lose the race. There’s not many opportunities to take the pink jersey so obviously it’s bittersweet to finish second but there are more days to come and you have to
congratulate the move.”
Saturday’s second stage will offer a hillier route with two categorized climbs on the 221km route from Olbia to Tortoli in Sardinia. With a downhill run to the finish, Pöstlberger may be able to hold the overall lead, provided a breakaway doesn’t succeed.