Stage/Finish: Bologna › San Luca
Distance: 8 kilometers - hilly time trial (ITT)
It's a relief to finally have this Giro started. There is so much build-up, anticipation, prep and thought that goes into the last weeks and months that really intensifies in the final days heading into the race. Getting to kick it all off with an individual effort was a good way to open up the race .
The start of the Giro was a demanding eight kilometers, especially the final 2 km that was super steep and gave the impression that we were crawling and creeping up instead of smashing out a peak 5-minute effort.
Within our team, there was a lot of excitement, especially surrounding Simon. This is energy directed at him from media, fans, competitors. As teammates, we feel it. It is a force from the outside but also within the team because we recognize our responsibility in carrying a legit GC contender. It takes a little extra attention from all the support staff within the team and a day like this is built around Simon—all for good reason as seconds are on the line and may prove to be very important.
For the rest of us, today was a balance of testing ourselves, putting in a good effort, but also keeping the big picture in mind and knowing that these 14 minutes are a very, very small percentage of our work and contribution to Simon’s GC hunt over the course of 21 stages. I've been a part of some good GC efforts over the years, but I have to say there was usually more individual ambition still at play, and it’s very clear here that it is all for one, one for all.
Simon did a super ride to confirm himself as a true contender, and as teammates, that is inspiring. Now, the real work will begin and we head into a series of long, hilly stages that will most likely be wet!