The road race world champion has swapped the rainbow jersey for the maglia rosa after stage one of the Giro d’Italia. After less than 20km in the first Grand Tour of 2023, Remco Evenepoel has put himself 43 seconds ahead of key rival, Olympic TT champion Primoz Roglic.


By Rob Arnold (Photos: Stefano Sirotti)

Most of the headlines leading up to the 2023 Giro d’Italia related to the pending battle between Remco Evenepoel and Primoz Roglic. The two most recent champions of the Vuelta a España top the list of favourites for the first Grand Tour of the year and the time trial of stage one has already given the Belgian a strong advantage.

Evenepoel took victory in stage one, beating the TT maestro Filippo Ganna by 22 seconds. The rainbow jersey of world champion has been replaced by the pink jersey and the leader of the Soudal-Quickstep team has struck his first blow early in his second start in the Giro.

Primoz Roglic: 6th in stage 1, 43 seconds behind Evenepoel.

Roglic managed only sixth place, and the 33-year-old is already 43 seconds behind his 23-year-old rival.

The Australian time trial champion Jay Vine has started the Giro for the first time with a stunning performance and a time of 22:04 for the 19.6km course that featured a climb at the end of the stage.

Filippo Ganna was 2nd in the opening stage.

Before the Giro began UAE Team Emirates suggested it should also be ranked amongst the favourites for the title in 2023 and Joao Almeida’s third place, 29 seconds behind Evenepoel, is a good early sign.

With Brandon McNulty also putting in a strong performance (8th, at 0:48) UAE Team Emirates has three riders in the top 10 while the Ineos Grenadiers also demonstrated the depth of talent on their roster, winning the teams classification on day one.

The 2020 Giro champion Tao Geoghegan Hart was just shy of a podium place in the TT, fourth (at 0:40) and, with Geraint Thomas in ninth place (at 0:55), Grenadiers also had three in the top 10.

The 2020 Giro champion, Tao Geoghegan Hart was 4th in stage 1 – one of three Grenadiers in the top 10.

Roglic began the Giro in less than ideal circumstances with a number of rider changes required since preliminary team selections were announced. Rohan Dennis wasn’t on the original list for Jumbo-Visma, but he was called up for team service in the days leading up to the Grande Partenza.

Dennis is one of nine Australians in the Giro in 2023 and, despite his reputation for doing well in time trials, finished the first stage well off the pace (54th, over two minutes behind Evenepoel).

Called up for Giro service only days before the race after COVID positives impacted Jumbo-Visma’s team selection, Rohan Dennis finished 2:02 behind Evenepoel on day one.

Tom Gloag, Jumbo-Visma’s 21-year-old British rider, was called in at the very last minute as a replacement for Jan Tratnik who crashed while on a training ride on the eve of the Giro. He arrived at the team hotel at 3.00am on the morning of the TT and finished the stage in 148th place (at 3:21).

After the first stage, Vine is the best of the Australians and it’s clear that the work done by his UAE team has allowed him to put himself amongst the list of podium candidates in the first Grand Tour he’s raced with genuine GC ambitions.

When he raced the Vuelta last year, Vine didn’t have a properly fitting TT bike and he was largely considered a climber who might be able to steal an opportunity if things went his way. In 2023, Vine has a new team and a fresh approach to racing… and a time trial bike that is clearly being put to good use.

Jay Vine leads the Australian challenge at the Giro with 7th in the 19.6km first stage.

Another Australian with hopes of a good result in the three-week race is Jack Haig, third in the Vuelta of 2021. He finished well off the pace in the TT from Fossacesia Marina to Ortona, managing just 38th place (at 1:36).

Former race leader Michael Matthews – winner of two Giro stages in the past – is back in the Italian Grand Tour for the first time since 2020. He and his Jayco-AlUla team-mate, Michael Hepburn, finished 13th and 14th, respectively (both 1:09 behind Evenepoel).

Jayco-AlUla’s Michael Matthews and Michael Hepburn finished 13th and 14th, respectively.

The defending champion, Jai Hindley, is not at the Giro in 2023 with the Australian climber expected to make his debut at the Tour de France (1-23 July), and opting not to challenge for a second title in Italy on a course that suits the strengths of Evenepoel perfectly.

The Belgian was the only rider to clock an average speed of over 55km/h on the opening day and not even the power of Ganna would overcome the speed of a world champion who is on a mission this May.

Belgian TT champion Remco Evenepoel was the only rider to average over 55km/h in the first stage.

Evenepoel is the most recent winner of a Grand Tour, claiming the title at La Vuelta last September before going on to win a bronze medal in the TT at the world championships in Wollongong. Then, in the final event of the 2022 worlds, at just 22 years of age, the prodigy proved his pedigree by winning the road race crown in emphatic style.

His rainbow jersey has been swapped for a pink one, and the campaign that has been months in the making is off to a strong start. His advantage is already a significant one and it’s now up to his rivals to try and conjure a way to overcome their losses on a day Evenepoel lived up to his status as a title favourite.



– By Rob Arnold

Thomas Gloag was a last-minute replacement for Jan Tratnik who crashed while training on the eve of the Giro.

Geraint Thomas helped the Ineos Grenadiers take the lead in the teams classification with his 9th place in the opening TT.