Stage 1 of the Giro d’Italia 2022 the 105th edition of the great race, was won by Mathieu Van Der Poel (Alpecin–Fenix) with Biriam Girmay (Intermarché–Wanty–Gobert Matériaux) in second, and Pello Bilbao in third. 

176 riders from 22 different teams started in Budapest, the capital of Hungary. The riders were met with huge crowds, many of whom were wearing t-shirts the same bright pink colour as the famous Maglia Rosa. 

Amongst them was Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team), starting his first Giro in 9 years.

The action started very early, with two Italian riders, Mattia Bias and Filippo Tagliani (Drone Hopper), attacking after just 10 minutes of riding. The pair’s lead grew to almost 10 minutes at one point, but with 33km to go that gap had fallen to just 1 minute.

With 15km to go the peloton had the leaders in their sights and the lead was down to 12 seconds. 10km later the final 5km climb arrived and then the fireworks began.

With 3.5km to go Oliver Naersen of Ag2r Citroen attacked solo and built a 7 second lead. Lennard Kenma of Bora Hansgrohe then followed and overtook Naarsen with real speed, but it wasn’t enough to hold off the strong men. 

Caleb McEwan of Lotto Soudal was high up in the front 5 riders but crashed after touching Biriam Girmay’s (Wanty Intermarche) wheel. Girmay looked like he might become the first African to win a stage in the Giro but the stage favourite Mathieu Van Der Poel stormed past to take the win, and the first Maglia Rosa of the race. 

It was a great ride from the talented Girmay but Van der Poel was stronger, surprising many as he looked to be too far back with one kilometre to go to take the victory. 

“It’s incredible after the Yellow to take the Pink of the Giro,” he said afterwards.

Richard Carapaz (Ineos) takes a 4 second lead with him over the other GC contenders into the TT tomorrow.

Girmay took the Best Young Rider jersey.

Author: Lee Rodgers

Cycling coach, race organiser, former professional cyclist and the original CrankPunk.

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