Giro d'Italia stage 1: Arensman and Bardet feel the force of Tadej Pogačar's shock and awe

GC riders lose time to the Slovenian on stage 1 as Arensman's GC hopes take severe hit

Clock16:06, Saturday 4th May 2024
Thymen Arensman (Ineos Grenadiers) lost time on all his GC rivals

© Getty Images

Thymen Arensman (Ineos Grenadiers) lost time on all his GC rivals

Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) blew the Giro d'Italia apart on its very first day, setting an aggressive tempo on the tough opening stage.

And several surprise names fell foul of that pace, with Romain Bardet (dsm-firmenich PostNL), Thymen Arensman (Ineos Grenadiers) and Luke Plapp (Jayco-AlUla) all losing a lot of time and puncturing their general classification hopes.

Read more: Giro d'Italia stage 1: Jhonatan Narváez wins as Tadej Pogačar drops all his GC rivals

One of the favourites for an overall top 10 finish in Rome or even a podium finish, Arensman was the biggest victim of UAE Team Emirates’ blistering pace on the category 2 Colle Maddalena, just 20km before the finish in Turin.

The Dutchman dropped off early as Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates) led the peloton onto the climb, and he was quickly distanced and isolated.

Bardet and Giro debutant Plapp were soon also spat out the back as Rafal Majka upped the tempo further, with the Frenchman soon 1:10 down on the peloton and Arensman even worse off at 1:24 on the climb.

Arensman eventually crossed the line 2:17 down, with his GC hopes potentially already over, while Bardet and Plapp both lost 57 seconds overall. Veteran Nairo Quintana (Movistar) also had a poor start to his Giro, crossing the line at the same time as Bardet and Plapp.

In better news for Ineos Grenadiers, Jhonatan Narváez won the stage, with team leader Geraint Thomas looking strong despite UAE Team Emirates’ pressure on the short, sharp 140km stage.

Thomas and teammate Filippo Ganna came safely through in the second group back, with the Welshman coming in 10th, just 10 seconds down on Narváez but losing 14 seconds on Pogačar due to the bonus seconds on the line.

Ben O’Connor (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale), Dani Martínez (Bora-Hansgrohe), Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) and Cian Uijtdebroeks (Visma-Lease a Bike) all minimised their time losses. They came home in the main group with Thomas, alongside another veteran in Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-QuickStep).

Ineos Grenadiers chief executive John Allert downplayed Arensman’s time losses, focusing on the strong performance by Narváez and Thomas.

“It’s obviously a long race, we don’t know yet what’s happened with Thymen,” he said at the finish.

“He’s going to regroup with us tonight and we’ll have a look. But ultimately we still have plenty of cards to play in this race and there’s 21 stages as I said, and we’re going to make sure that we’re right there at the end.”

With a lot of damage already done and 20 stages still to go, the GC looks to have already been shaken up, and Pogačar can still count it as a successful day in the saddle despite failing to claim the maglia rosa on day 1.

For everything you need to know about the 2024 Giro d'Italia, from the history of the race to this year's route and start list, be sure to check out our dedicated race hub.

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