Dumoulin wins historic opening Giro stage, gloom for Froome
Defending champion Tom Dumoulin won the opening stage of the Giro d'Italia, while Chris Froome was back in 21th in the Jerusalem time trial following a recon crash on Friday.
All eyes are on Froome as he bids to pull off a Grand Tour treble with a UCI investigation still ongoing regarding the adverse analytical finding he returned during his Vuelta a Espana triumph last year.
The Team Sky rider's quest suffered a blow before he started the famous race, Froome taking a fall as he surveyed the course in a historic city that is the first to host a Grand Tour stage outside of Europe.
Froome suffered cuts and grazing and duly completed the 9.7-kilometre route 37 seconds slower than Dumoulin, who clocked a time of 12 minutes and two seconds to take the Maglia Rosa.
The Team Sunweb rider showed why he is the world time trial champion on the fast, rolling and technical route, reaching the checkpoint in the same time as Rohan Dennis before going on to take the stage win.
Dennis (BMC Racing) was just two seconds back in second place, with Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal) taking third only few hundredths of a second shy of the Australian's time.
ALL ROSY ON PERFECT DAY FOR DUMOULIN
Dumoulin said he could not have wished for a better start after making a statement on day one.
The Dutchman is the first rider since Paolo Savoldelli back in 2005-06 to win the first stage of the race as defending champion.
"This is perfect, it's all I wished for. To have the win and time on the other GC guys is a pefect start for me and the team." said Dumoulin.
Dumoulin had stated that he would not have entered the race if he was in the same predicament as Froome, who is confident he will be cleared of wrongdoing after he was found to have double the permitted limit of the asthma medication Salbutamol in his system at the Vuelta.
1. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) 12:02
2. Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) +00:02
3. Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal) +00:02
4. Jose Goncalves (Katusha Alpecin) +00:12
5. Alex Dowsett (Katusha Alpecin) +00:16
Froome and Dumoulin's other rivals will attempt to make up some time on a flat 167km second stage from Haifa to Tel Aviv on Saturday, with a sprint finish expected.