APELDOORN, Netherlands — Home favorite Tom Dumoulin won the opening individual time trial of the Giro d’Italia by the finest of margins on Friday.
At the end of the flat 9.8-kilometer (6-mile) route, the Dutchman beat Primoz Roglic of Slovenia by one hundredth of a second.
“It’s incredible. I can almost not describe it in words,” said Dumoulin, who added that he felt sick afterwards. “(Hundredth) of a second is a breath of air and that’s it.
“It’s better than I could have imagined. In front of my home crowd to get the most beautiful jersey in cycling is very special. I did no big mistakes. You always think you could have done this corner a bit better, or that one … it wasn’t my best time trial but I’m wearing this jersey now. I will defend this as long as possible. I don’t think I have the level to compete in the real big mountains.”
Roglic took the lead off Dumoulin’s Giant-Alpecin teammate, Tobias Ludvigsson, who had been in the hot seat for around 90 minutes.
Ludvigsson eventually finished fourth, eight seconds behind the leading duo, and two seconds behind Costa Rican cyclist Andrey Amador.
Another time trial specialist, Fabian Cancellara, was hoping for a victory that would have handed him the first maglia rosa of his long career. But he was hampered by stomach flu and finished eighth, 14 seconds behind Dumoulin.
Overall favorite Vincenzo Nibali, the 2013 champion, was 19 seconds behind in 16th place.
“It was a very explosive time trial, I had to make a really big effort,” Nibali said. “It’s one stage out of the way now. I can be more than satisfied by what’s happened, but let’s just keep our feet on the ground.
“One or two days before a Grand Tour you can feel nervous, and I’m just happy we’re underway now.”
Stefan Kung threatened to challenge Dumoulin’s lead as he was only one second slower at 4.8 kilometers, but he crashed into the barriers. The Swiss rider finished up 16 seconds behind.
The 99th Giro continues in the Netherlands with two sprint stages before an early rest day and a return to Italy. The race ends in Turin on May 29.