Our team placed three riders in the top 10 on the opening day of the 104th edition.
Just like in 1961 and 2011, the Corsa Rosa’s Grande Partenza was hosted by Torino, which scheduled an 8.6km individual time trial. The course, which went mostly along the Po river, was fast, flat, and had a few technical sections that didn’t create any significant gaps between the general classification contenders.
Rémi Cavagna was one of the riders to watch, and the French ITT Champion didn’t disappoint, going into third provisional at the finish, before eventually concluding the stage in fifth: “It’s a mixed feeling. After my win in Romandie I was really motivated, but the parcours didn’t suit me 100%, as it was too short. But overall, it was a strong day for the squad, so we can be satisfied with having three riders in the top 10.”
His result was improved half an hour later by teammate João Almeida. The sensation of last year’s Giro d’Italia averaged an impressive 56.91km/h and stopped the clock in 9:04, which at the end of the day was enough for fourth place, the best result of a Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider.
“I got a better result that I had in mind at the start of the day. It’s a great way to start the race, the kind of result that gives you an important boost of morale. Having three guys in the top 10 is excellent for the team”, said the 22-year-old from Caldas da Rainha.
It was an emotional return to racing for Remco Evenepoel, who was the last member of the Wolfpack to leave the start ramp in his first appearance for the team since last August. The 21-year-old was just a few seconds off the pace going through the intermediate split, and confirmed his strong ride at the finish, where he concluded in seventh place.
“I had tears in my eyes on the start ramp. It’s been a long journey and to finally be able to start my first Grand Tour makes me very happy. For me the most important thing today was to have a good time trial and just enjoy myself. Everything else was a bonus on this special day, so to finish seventh on this first stage is amazing, a perfect start that I didn’t expect and which makes me proud”, explained Remco in Torino. “It was a good day for the team, one which gives us a lot of confidence. We are even more motivated for the next stages to support each other and show why we are the Wolfpack.”
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele / Getty Images