The German – a former Junior ITT World Champion – put on an impressive ride in the time trial and proved that he's on the top of his game for the race.
Thousands and thousands of people packed the streets of Apeldoorn to cheer for the Giro d'Italia and the 198 riders who came at the start of the 99th edition, and they weren't left disappointed, as the race kicked off in spectacular fashion. One of the most successful teams of the past decade, Etixx – Quick-Step showed since the opening day how motivated is to do something in the race, placing two riders in the top 10, Marcel Kittel and Luxembourg champion Bob Jungels.
Returning to the race for the first time since 2014, Marcel was among the late starters in the 9.8-km long flat and non-technical individual time trial in Apeldoorn. A former Junior world champion and winner of the U23 European title in the same discipline, the German showing he still has the skills against the clock, especially on short distances, and finished 5th, only 11 seconds behind the first pink jersey of the race, Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin).
"It was difficult out there, as is every time trial. I got a good result and I'm satisfied with it, but this doesn't change anything. Taking the pink jersey isn't my priority, my focus in only on the flat stages and the sprints. I will be happy if today's result will help me don the maglia rosa, but I'm not going to put extra pressure on my team for this", said Marcel Kittel following his impressive fifth place on the opening day of the Corsa Rosa.
Stage 2 of the Giro d'Italia will run on the flat roads between Arnhem and Nijmegen (190 kilometers), and will include only a fourth-category climb which isn't going to have any impact on the race. In Nijmegen, the riders will do twice an 8.6-km long circuit, before fighting for the win in a bunch sprint.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele