There is always a special feeling, a mixture of excitement and apprehension, before starting a long three-week journey. The Grand Tours are the most physically and mentally demanding of all, and the Giro is no exception. In addition to the repetition of the effort, you also have to adapt to the spotlight, the podiums and the crowds along the roads.
This is the case in Hungary, which is hosting the start of a major Tour for the first time. In order to surprise, the organizers have decided to start with a stage that is more dedicated to the puncheurs with 195 km between Budapest and Visegrád. For the Cofidis riders, the main objective was to get through the stage safely and to protect their leader, Guillaume Martin. While the pace intensified in the last kilometers, the Normandy rider, hampered by a few crashes, was able to make the necessary efforts to catch the first group. He finished with Davide Villella and Simone Consonni, who were not able to join the fight for victory against the puncheurs.
A time trial in the streets of Budapest
Tomorrow will see the first individual time trial. It will be held in the streets of Budapest, the Hungarian capital. The final 9.2 km will be particularly explosive, with just over a kilometer of false uphill. Well helped by the work done by the performance unit, they will try to give their best and imitate Simon Geschke, 2nd in the time trial of the Tour du Romandie last week.
Guillaume Martin: "It was a relatively quiet first stage until 10 km from the finish and then it became very nervous - as we expected - as we approached the final climb. We knew that there was no 3km rule, so we had to be in a good position to avoid a break. I had to slalom between the falls and brake several times. I had to make unnecessary efforts to come back. The most important thing tonight is not to have fallen. Tomorrow, it will be a short but very explosive time trial, less than 10km, with a bumpy finish. I'm going to focus on doing a diligent workout and the best time possible to get out of Hungary with the least amount of outlay."
Roberto Damiani, sport director: "The Giro offered us a first stage with a finish for strong riders and everyone took their place. We saw a good Guillaume Martin who was unfortunately hampered by the crashes in the final. He came back well and lost only a few seconds. We are in the right tempo!"