Simon Yates made a huge statement of intent at the Giro d’Italia on Saturday when the British rider won a dramatic time trial stage in Budapest, Hungary.
Powering his way around the short but technical 9.2 kilometre course in 11min 50sec, the BikeExchange-Jayco rider won the second stage after finishing 3sec ahead of Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), while Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) was third another 2sec down.
Saturday’s short cobbled climb to the finishing line may have appeared ideal terrain for the likes of Van der Poel, or bigger powerful time trial specialists such as Dumoulin, but the lightweight Yates ripped up the rulebook with what he later described as an ‘unexpected’ win to move within 11sec of the overall lead.
It was an unexpected win, too, for Dumoulin who later appeared distraught having missed out on the opportunity to win what would have been his first grand tour stage since 2018. Less than a minute after the Dutchman, who was the first rider to clock a sub-12min time, had crossed the line, Yates completed his ride 5sec quicker.
Despite having arrived in Hungary for the delayed grande partenza in fine form off the back of winning two stages at last week’s Vuelta Asturias, few had tipped Yates for the win.
“I’m really happy, a bit unexpected but I’ll take them [victories] as they come,” Yates said. “I just tried to go as fast as possible. I have to thank team partners Giant (bikes) and Cadex (wheels) – we put a lot of work into our equipment this year and it paid off.”
Yates and his team will be hoping to get through Sunday’s stage, which is expected to favour the sprinters, unscathed before the entire race heads to Sicily during Monday’s rest day. Having gained time on his general classification rivals on Saturday – pre-race favourite Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) now trails the Bury rider by 23sec – Yates appears to be in prime position to take the leader’s pink jersey off the broad shoulders of Van der Poel during Tuesday’s summit finish on Mount Etna.
Yates, though, was quick to play down his hopes after winning what was only the second time trial of his career. “There’s some much more demanding stages to come,” he said. ”We’ll enjoy today but keep looking at the bigger picture.
“For sure this is my best time trial victory. I’m of course very happy. It’s a little bit unexpected. I rode the fastest I could, also on the flat. I was never confident to win until Mathieu van der Poel crossed the line. Today was just a 10-minute effort. There are still many more to come.
“I’m ecstatic that I gained time today but I wouldn’t look too much in today’s time differences personally. It will be a very different race from now on.”
The Giro continues on Sunday with the 201km third stage from Kaposvar to Balatonfured and concludes in Verona three weeks on Sunday.
Giro d’Italia stage two: As it happened . . .
Yates: We’ll keep looking at the bigger picture
Speaking immediately after his stage win, an uncharacteristically bubbly Simon Yates said he was ready to enjoy his win, but is still focusing on the next three weeks.
“I’m really happy, a bit unexpected but I’ll take them [victories] as they come,” he said. “I just tried to go as fast as possible. I have to thank team partners Giant and Cadex – we put a lot of work into our equipment this year and it paid off.”
“There’s some much more demanding stages to come,” he said. “We’ll enjoy today but keep looking at the bigger picture.”
“For sure this is my best time trial victory. I’m of course very happy. It’s a little bit unexpected. I rode the fastest I could, also on the flat. I was never confident to win until Mathieu van der Poel crossed the line. Today was just a 10-minute effort. There are still many more to come.”
Van der Poel finishes second to keep hold of pink
But Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) wins the stage – only the second time trial win of his life and the fifth Giro d’Italia victory of his career – with the British rider making some big gains against his general classification rivals.
Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) finished third and is also third now on general classification 5sec adrift of Yates in the overall standings. As far as the other general classification contenders fared, Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe) is now 13sec down on Yates; Tobias Foss (Jumbo-Visma) and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) are 17sec back, while Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) is another 1sec back. The big loser in the race for pink, however, was Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) who will go into Sunday’s third stage 24sec down on Yates with whom he started the race as one of the favourites. Worth noting, from a British perspective, that Ben Tulett (Ineos Grenadiers), 20, finished fifth on the day and moved up nine places on general classification to fifth.
Having finished second on the day, a result that saw Mathieu van der Poel keeping hold of hie leader’s pink jersey, the Alpecin-Fenix rider said: “I would have signed for this performance before the start. I did a very good TT (time trial). The difference to the first place is very close. I got myself an extra day in the maglia rosa, maybe more because it should be a sprint finish tomorrow, and I’m very happy with that.”
Nip and tuck between Van der Poel and Yates
Mathieu van der Poel passes through the time check and is just under 1sec slower than Simon Yates.
Kelderman gains on Carapaz
Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe) finishes 16sec down on Yates.
Carapaz loses time to Yates
Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers), the national time trial champion in Ecuador, was unable to match Simon Yates’s (BikeExchange-Jayco) time, losing 27sec to the Briton.
Tulett looking good
Crikey, the 20-year-old Briton Ben Tulett who rides foo Ineos Grenadiers has set the fourth fastest time (12min 7.17sec). And with that, the powerhouse that is Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) has just rolled down the ramp. Can the Dutchman overhaul current leader Simon Yates and will he keep hold of that maglia rosa currently resting on his broad shoulders? We will know in around 11min 50sec. Van der Poel, by the way, leads Yates on general classification by 14sec, while Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) started 10sec behind the Dutchman.
Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) and Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe) are the lst three of the general classification contenders to roll down that very busy starting ramp. Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost) Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) to follow.
Yates takes the hotseat!
“Wow, wow, wow,” says Sean Kelly on Eurosport. Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) has just blown away Tom Dumoulin, the British rider finishing the stage over 5sec quicker than the Dutchman. Massive result that that will give him a huge boost after losing 4sec to Richard Carapaz in the general classification during Friday’s stage.
Dumoulin is back!
Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma), the 2017 Giro d’Italia champion who arrived at this year’s race with questionable form, has shown his hand and it is looking good: the Dutchman is the new stage leader have blistered his way around the 9.2km course in 11min 55sec.
All change at the top . . .
Matteo Sobrero (
BikeExchange-Jayco), the Italian national time trial champion, is the new race leader with a time of 12min 3.27sec, while moments later the Norwegian champion Tobias Foss (Jumbo-Visma) went second fastest.
Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ), who wore the leader’s jersey at last year’s Giro, received a huge cheer as the Hungarian rolled down the starting ramp. Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) followed, ahead of the 42-year-old Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and 2017 Giro champion Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma), Britain’s Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) and Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious).
A few minutes ago Koen Bouman became the latest rider from Jumbo-Visma to set a decent time: 12min 19.78sec. One suspects the rest of the field are very relieved that team time trials feel like a thing of the past at the Giro.
Carthy hits the road
A number of the hitters are out on the course: Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers), Miguel Ángel López (Astana Qazaqstan), Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) and British rider Hugh Carthy (EF Education-EasyPost) have all rolled down the starting ramp.
It’s definitely Arensman’s time
What a great ride from Thymen Arensman who goes second with a time of 12min 8.38sec. Wow. That really was impressive, over to you Romain.
Thymen Arensman (DSM), the Dutch neo-pro who I am expecting big things from in the next few weeks, has got his race under way. The 22-year-old says he is working for team-mate Romain Bardet at the Giro.
It will be interesting to see how the pair get on today, because the time trial is not a discipline the Frenchman ordinarily excels in.
Richie Porte speaks . . .
Ewan bouncing back from stage one setback
A heavily bandaged Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) has finished his time trial. Despite suffering that nasty looking crash at the end of stage one, the Australian sprinter does not appear to have been too badly impacted by his fall.
Ewan, of course, will be hoping to contest what is expected to be a bunch sprint finish at the end of Sunday’s third stage where many are saying will be a head-to-head test between himself and Mark Cavendish. What a mouthwatering prospect that is.
Another aggressive ride from Kämna
Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe), the rider that sparked a flurry of attacks in the finale yesterday, puts the cats among the pigeons with new fastest time. The German clocked in at an average moving speed of 45.5kmh, completing the 9.2km course in 12.07.92sec. Kämna, as mentioned earlier, was wearing a red bib number today after being named most aggressive rider from the opening stage.
Welshman Doull breaks into top three
Owain Doull, the Welshman who joined EF Education-EasyPost from Ineos Grenadiers over the winter, has caused a bit of a stir with a blistering ride (12.18.89sec) to go second behind Edoardo Affini.
The 29-year-old was around 9sec down on Jos van Emden at the second time check at the bottom of the climb, so must have motored up the incline. A very impressive performance from Doull.
Fetter cheered all the way
Erik Fetter (Eolo-Kometa), the second Budapest-born rider in action today, has just completed his race and the 22-year was cheered extremely loudly by the partisan crowds lining the route. What a lovely moment for the grand tour debutant. He was 10th fastest, by the way.
Affini purrs into top spot
Yesterday we had Rein Taaramae’s dog watching him on the gogglebox, and today we have seen a cat racing Edoardo Affini up the final climb. What’s going on?
Edoardo Affini has replaced his Jumbo-Visma team-mate Jos van Emden atop the provisional standings with a time of 12min 10.10sec, that’s an average speed of 45.364kmh.
First of the flying Dutchmen
Jos van Emden, one of those Jumbo-Visma riders along with Edoardo Affini, Tobias Foss and Tom Dumoulin who I think stands a decent chance of challenging today, sets a new fastest time of 12min 19.55sec.
De Gendt is seventh best
Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) has just completed his race, the Belgian finishing seventh fastest with a time of 12min 29.280sec. The riders are extremely fortunate that it is dry today as it is a very twisty course and the cobbles near the top of the short climb look like they would be very slippery when wet.
Edoardo Affini, one of three or four Jumbo-Visma riders that could win today, has just hit the road, followed closely by Ben Swift (Ineos Grenadiers), the British national road champion.
Cavendish showing signs of good form
Mark Cavendish (Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl) sets a decent time of 12min 58.34sec, the 16th fastest of the day thus far. The Manxman will not have been aiming for the stage win, and nor is he thinking about the general classification. However, that performance suggests he is in good form and bodes well for the coming stages, specifically tomorrow which is expected to conclude in a sprint finish. By the way, moments after the below post US rider Lawson Craddock (BikeExchange-Jayco) set the third fastest time of the day (
Clocking on for duty
Right folks, a few handfuls of riders – 30, to be precise – have either got their time trials under way, or completed their races against the clock. Alex Dowsett (Israel-Premier Tech), the six-time British national time trial champion, was the fifth rider down the starting ramp and managed to set the fastest time of the day (12min 23.16sec) , riding at an average time of 44.46kmh. Local rider Barnabás Peak (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) received a huge roar, which may have helped the Budapest-born rider fly up the final climb where he set the second fastest time of the day (12min 29.13sec), only to be usurped by Dowsett’s team-mate Alessandro De Marchi (12min 23.31sec). Matthias Brändle, another team-mate Dowsett’s and like the Essex-born rider a former holder of the hour record, went third fastest at 12min 27.18sec to make it an Israel-Premier Tech one-two-three. But for how long?
Starting times of all riders can be found a few posts down, but here are a few select riders to watch out for that may be targeting today’s stage or are expected to be featuring in the general classification race.
What’s on today’s menu?
Featuring just 150 metres of vertical elevation over the short 9.2km course has just one intermediate time check after 7.9km, before the road ramps up. There is a cobbled road, though the stones are relatively smooth and the weather forecast does not show any signs of rain so these, in theory, should not offer riders too many issues.
Anyway, here’s what the roadbook says about the stage.
A short individual time trial, on wide and well-paved urban roads, weaves it’s way from Pest to Buda. Starting from the Heroes’ Square, the route heads towards the Danube, which separates the two souls of the city.
Taking in several bends, the stage course reaches the riverside, passes the Neo-Gothic Parliament and crosses the Danube to roll along the opposite bank. The route takes two U-turns, the first upward and the second downward, approaching and leaving the river bank on the Parliament’s side. Moving away from the river, the route takes in the closing climb.
The final 1,500m run entirely uphill. Past the intermediate split, the route takes to a climb leading to the castle, hitting the maximum gradient (14%) on flagstone. The route then continues at around 4%, taking in a few hairpins, all the way to the finish square in Buda.
Live coverage to start at 1.30pm.
Clocking on times
Setting off in reverse order of the general classification, Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto-Soudal) gets the time trial under way at 1pm (BST). Each rider will start one minute after the previous man before almost three hours after Vanhoucke started his race, overall leader Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) will roll down the starting ramp.
Catch up: Highlights from Friday’s stage
As mentioned below, the opening stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia was extremely back-ended, with all of the action and intrigue coming in the final few kilometres where Mathieu van der Poel charged into the first maglia rosa of his career, denying Biniam Girmay of Eritrea an opportunity to make a slice of cycling history by becoming the first black African to win a grand tour stage and wear the fabled pink jersey. But despite the somewhat slow start, it was a barnstorming finale.
Hello and welcome to our live rolling blog from stage two at the Giro d’Italia, the 9.2-kilometre time trial around Budapest, Hungary.
Following yesterday’s slow-burner of a stage – pretty much nothing happened for the opening 190km before all hell broke loose on the uphill finale – today will see the first of two time trials in this year’s Giro. Before we have a look at the course, though, let’s have a quick recap and look at the early standings in the top classifications, in other words the competitions where jerseys are awarded to the leaders.
Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), the Dutchman that won Friday’s stage with a trademark display of powerful riding to finish ahead of Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) and Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious), will wear the maglia rosa, or leader’s pink jersey, for the first time on his career debut at the Giro.
Van der Poel also leads the points classification, but cannot wear two jerseys and so the maglia ciclamino, cyclamen jersey, will be worn, I think, by Bilbao who is actually third in the competition but the second-placed rider leads a competition outright – see below – and so will honour that. By the way, I am awaiting confirmation of this from race organisers RCS.
Because there was just one classified climb in stage one with just three riders earning points on the uphill finale, Van der Poel also leads the mountains classification, again with Girmay and Bilbao second and third respectively. Therefore, no rider will be dressed in the maglia azzurra, or blue jersey, during today’s time trial.
As outright leader in the youth classification, Girmay will wear the maglia bianca, or the white jersey. Incidentally, Girmay became the first Eritrean to finish in the top three of a stage at the Giro on Friday. Compatriots Amanuel Gebreigzabhier (2020) and Natnael Tesfatsion (2021) managed top 10 finishes.
Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe) was voted as the most aggressive rider following his late attack on the final climb and so the German will wear a red bib number during his time trial this afternoon.