After a road stage on day one, the short, technical 9.2km TT on Stage 2 offered a hint of what’s to come from all the general classification favorites including Yates. The 29-year-old Brit passed with flying colors, beating Stage 1 winner Mathie van der Poel and others including former TT world champion and Giro winner Tom Dumoulin.
“That’s what happens when you get some fast equipment,” said Yates, who rode his Giant Trinity Advanced Pro TT bike with a CADEX Aero WheelSystem. “We did a lot of work in the wind tunnel this year with our partners Giant and CADEX. And I really put a lot of work into fine tuning my position.”
Yates chose a full-disc rear wheel and 4-spoke front, and his speed was unmatched on the challenging course. He blitzed the flat section over the first 7.9km, posting the fastest split there, and then flew up the final 1.3km climb to the finish.
“Simon has been improving with time trialing but that blows me out of the water,” said Matt White, head sport director for Team BikeExchange-Jayco. “Obviously it gives a lot of confidence to the preparation that he’s put in the last three to four months. This journey did not start last week. It started in November of last year.”
Yates wasn’t the only rider from Team BikeExchange-Jayco to have a breakthrough day in Budapest. His Italian teammate Matteo Sobrero finished fourth in the TT and earned the best young rider jersey.
“Winning in the Giro d’Italia is always a lovely day, and the time trial Simon produced today was a very, very impressive one,” said White. “It was also one of the best time trials Sobrero has ever ridden, and I think across the board the team performed very well today.”
The 105th edition of the Giro now has one more day in Hungary, followed by a rest day as the race transfers south to Sicily and then makes its way north through Italy. Stage 3 follows a mostly flat route before its finish near Lake Balaton and is expected to be a day for the sprinters.