Geraint Thomas leads Simon Yates by 26 seconds as Filippo Ganna leads Giro d'Italia

By Matt WarwickBBC Sport
Simon Yates
Simon Yates won three stages at the Giro in 2018

Geraint Thomas claimed fourth place at the Giro d'Italia's opening-day time trial - 26 seconds ahead of British rival Simon Yates.

The stage was won by Thomas' Ineos Grenadiers team-mate Filippo Ganna, who was also victorious at the world time trial championship last Friday.

Yates, 28, was 17th, nearly a minute down on Ganna's winning time of 15 minutes 24 seconds.

The 15.1km race was marred by a crash for Astana's Miguel Angel Lopez.

Lopez was taken to hospital by ambulance after crashing through the barrier at the 9.4km time check when he momentarily took one hand off the bars on his bike.

His front wheel hit a bump in the road, which pitched the bike off to his right, through a steel barrier and into members of the crowd near the centre of Palermo.

His team later reported that the Colombian suffered a "deep wound very close to the iliac artery" in the abdomen.

"No fractures, but Miguel has had surgery and will heal in the coming weeks," they added in a statement.

What happened to the Britons?

Thomas, 34, will be happy with the gap he has over his rivals who are in contention to win the general classification of the three-week race across Italy.

The only other GC challenger close to his time was Mitchelton-Scott's Yates, who is expected to lose time to Thomas in the race's three time trials, before recovering with strong rides during the mountain stages.

"I definitely emptied the tank. I can be pretty happy with how it went," said Welshman Thomas on Twitter.

Many of the contenders posted poor times on the largely downhill charge from Monreale, overlooking the Mediterranean sea, into Palermo.

Steven Kruijswijk of Jumbo-Visma, Astana's Jakob Fuglsang and two-time winner Vincenzo Nibali of TrekSegafredo, who was starting the race at home in Sicily, were all more than a minute behind Thomas.

It is the second time in a week Ganna has been imperious in a field of the world's best time triallists in his native Italy, having won the world roads rainbow jersey in Emilia Romagna.

Ganna, 24, will wear the race leader's maglia rosa (pink jersey) during Sunday's 149km stage to Agrigento on Sicily.

Meanwhile, young Belgian rider Remco Evenepoel took his first ride outside his home on Saturday since a horrifying crash in which he sustained multiple injuries, including a fractured pelvis.

The 20-year-old Deceuninck-Quick Step rider crashed at the bottom of a descent during the Il Lombardia one-day race in August, falling off a bridge and into a wooded ravine.

"I can't tell you how happy I am today after my first time outside in almost two months," he said.

"I made this step only after talking with the team's doctors and it just so happened that I returned on the day I should have been in Palermo for the start of the Giro d'Italia. It's a huge morale boost."

Stage 1 result and general classification

1. Filippo Ganna (Ita/Ineos Grenadiers) 15 minutes 24 seconds

2. João Almeida (Por/Deceuninck-Quick Step) +22secs

3. Mikkel Bjerg (Den/UAE-Team Emirates) same time

4. Geraint Thomas (GB/Ineo Grenadiers) +23secs

5. Tobias Foss (Nor/Jumbo-Visma) +31secs

6. Josef Cerny (Cze/CCC) +36secs

7. Matteo Sobrero (Ita/NTT Pro cycling) +40secs

8. Lawson Craddock (USA/EF Pro Cycling) +41secs

9. Miles Scotson (Aus/Groupama-FDJ) +42secs

10. Matthias Brandle (Aus/Israel Start Up Nation) same time

Others

17. Simon Yates (GB/Michelton-Scott) +49secs

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