Italian takes first 'maglia azzurra' after a turbulent, eventful sprint in Naples, with Fran Ventoso in 6th place
It was a beautiful start for Movistar Team in the 96th Giro d’Italia, whose first stage, a hectic, 130-kilometer circuit race in Naples came down to a sprint won by Brit Mark Cavendish (OPQ), who also claimed the first ‘maglia rosa’. The telephone squad was one of the day’s protagonists thanks to the early attempt by Giovanni Visconti. The triple Italian road champion made it into a seven-man attempt that went ahead through the first KOM of the day (23km), before Australian Wurf (CAN) went away solo to lead the race through the second one. The tie between the two riders, as well as Bonnafond (ALM), was solved in favour of the Movistar Team rider as he was first through the finish line, paying a deserved visit to the podium for the first ‘maglia azzurra’ in this year’s Italian grandtour.
Before that moment, a carousel of punctures -the Blues only suffered Visconti’s during the final kilometers- and crashes -with just Dowsett crashing with no consequences in the first half of the race- preceeded Wurf being caught with less than 20k from the finish. Another pile-up, already in view of the ‘flamme rouge’, left around fifteen riders at the front, including Fran Ventoso, who claimed 6th as Cavendish surged past Viviani (CAN) and Bouhanni (FDJ) to grab the day’s honours. The long-awaited team time trial -17km between Ischia and Forio- comes next on Sunday, with Movistar Team looking forward to improve their already great last performances in the speciality.