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Jhonatan Narváez outsprints Pogačar to take first pink jersey of the Giro d’Italia

Jhonatan Narváez outsprints Pogačar to take first pink jersey of the Giro d'Italia

Two stories of the buildup to the Giro d’Italia played out on the opening stage: favourite Tadej Pogačar would light it up right from day one to put time into his rivals, and the Ineos Grenadiers believed they can corral him. In a three-up sprint, Jhonatan Narváez beat the Slovenian to wear the first pink jersey of the 107th edition.

The Course

The first stage wasn’t intriguing just because the organizers set at Cat. 2 climb to peak 22 km from the finish in Torino, it was because that they added a short, sharp little climb before and after the Cat. 2 that wasn’t there when the route was revealed on October 13.

After much pomp and ceremony 75 years to the day that all of Torino FC perished in a plane crash, the peloton rolled out from Venaria Reale on Torino’s northwest outskirts. Some brave souls were definitely going to breakaway to vie for the first blue climber’s jersey, as a Cat. 4 and a Cat. 3 were also on offer. Sure enough, a sextet bounced clear and after Berzano di San Pietro, Filippo Fiorelli of ProTeam VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè was the first KOM on the road.

Boom! Filippo Fiorelli with the first accomplishment of the 107th Giro.

However, Fiorelli couldn’t match Eritrean Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier on Cat. 3 Superga, and the blue jersey swung to the Lidl-Trek rider. The breakaway was now in pieces and the peloton was three minutes back.

But what of the San Vito hill addition? The first passage saw Ghebreigzabhier and Lilian Calmejean take a 2:30 advantage over the UAE-Emirates-led peloton onto its slopes.

Colle della Maddalena

The intrepid duo still had a 1:30 gap when the Cat. 2 kicked up. UAE gobbled up its lead. Michael Woods, Thymen Arensman and Romain Bardet were dropped. Calmejean shook free of Ghebreigzabhier.

UAE-Emirates was rampant on Saturday.

Calmejean barely held off the favourites group to take the mountains points and the blue jersey. With Calmejean still up the road on the descent, seven riders bridged over.

Nicola Conci had left the other escapees behind. A woman and her dog blithely crossed the road between Conci and the others.

Casual crosser.

As soon as San Vito II began Tadej Pogačar attacked. He and a couple of others caught Conci with 3 km to go. Only Ecuadorian champion Narváez and Max Schachmann could go with the Slovenian.

Inside the red kite, the cat and mouse games began. With riders closing in on the trio, Schachmann opened it up first, Narváez came around Pogačar and the order was…

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