Despite not being a sprinter, Costa Rican takes great 9th place in Giro's opening bunch kick, convincingly won by Kittel (EQS), who climbs into second overall with Andrey sits in fourth. Valverde, rest of Movistar Team unscathed
The first road stage of the 2016 Giro d'Italia -190km from Arnhem to Nijmegen- went as much calm as a fast, nervous day in the Dutch plains could be for the Movistar Team. Thanks to excellent work from Sütterlin, Rojas, Sutherland, Moreno or Herrada in favor of Alejandro Valverde and Andrey Amador, the two main GC references for the Blues stayed safe. Plus, at the end of the stage, the Costa Rican -now 4th overall, as day's sprinting dominator Marcel Kittel (EQS) got up to second- brought a beautiful surprise.
Without being a sprinter, the Blues' best performer in Friday's time trial took a chance to avoid any splits and find an advantage against those ahead of him in the GC. He took 9th place. Ahead of Elia Viviani (SKY), André Greipel (LTS) or Giacomo Nizzolo (TFS), Andrey confirmed that good condition and morale sometimes counts even more than condition itself. Another stroke by the 'tico', just 24 hours away from closing -with another 190km flat course to Arnhem- the Giro's course through the Gelderland province.
Rory Sutherland (video): "No crashes in the first day of a Grand Tour is generally good. It was an amazing, beautiful day here in Holland. Sun and the people came out to see the race in massive numbers, and I think it really shows what a great cycling country that Holland is. It's fantastic that the Giro came here, and I thank the people who made this possible. We got through safely and that was the main thing for us with Alejandro and Andrey. I kept them with me at the front as much as possible, out of trouble – the rest was eating, drinking, thinking about the whole three weeks we have to do and remain calm. For us, I think it was a successful day."