Team Sunweb rider Tom Dumoulin began the 2018 Giro d’Italia the same way he finished last year’s Giro: on top of the podium and in the race leader’s jersey. The 27-year-old Dutchman grabbed the maglia rosa with a magnificent ride in the Stage 1 time trial, a 9.7km race through the streets of Jerusalem.
Dumoulin, who won last year’s Giro in stunning fashion on the final day, came out swinging Friday, powering his Trinity Advanced Pro TT bike to a winning time of 12:02 as the three-week grand tour kicked off with a special stage in Israel. He beat second-place finisher Rohan Dennis by 2 seconds and gained significant time on some of his key rivals in the general classification.
“We’ve worked really hard over the last few months, so I’m really happy with the win,” Dumoulin said. “It confirms that all of the work has paid off. The course was really good for me—it was really technical and I’m good on the corners. I could go full gas, then recover, then go full gas and recover again.”
Dumoulin, the current time trial world champion, rode a special rainbow-striped version of his Trinity Advanced Pro TT bike and wore the Giant Rivet TT helmet. He was also racing on a prototype rear disc wheel. Several key riders from Team Sunweb have been testing and racing next-generation WheelSystems from Giant, including the one Dumoulin used for the win in Jerusalem.
“We had a really good preparation period and the atmosphere in the team is relaxed and focused,” said Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef. “Technically, Tom did a really good TT. Some guys had problems keeping the pace high, he could continue strong.”
The race continues through the weekend with two more road stages in Israel, before a rest day Monday as the Giro heads home to Italy to start Stage 4 on Tuesday. Dumoulin said he will enjoy wearing the leader’s jersey for now, but there’s a long way to go before the finish in Rome later this month.
“It’s nice to be in the maglia rosa, but it will be hard to keep it for three weeks,” Dumoulin said. “We aren’t planning on defending it every say so we will see what we do with that in the coming days.”