Van der Poel grabs Pink Jersey on 1st Stage of the Giro d'Italia
Team Alpecin-Fenix delivered Mathieu van der Poel to the head of the race on the final uphill climb to sprint to victory ahead of Biniam Girmay as Caleb Ewan crashed behind
Mathieu van der Poel didn't see the final bend until the last 50 and attacked hard from the head of the race to win in the opening day and takes the first pink jersey of the 105th Giro d'Italia
The 195-kilometer long stage saw two riders from Drone Hopper - Androni Giocatolli breakawak. Davide Bais and Filippo Tagliani built up a maximum lead of 11 minutes before the peloton upped the pace and eventually caught the pair with 13 kilometers to go.
With 5km to after a sweeping right hand bend on to final climb, the whole Team Alpecin-Fenix pace Van der Poel to the steeper part of the climb.
Lawrence Naesen (AG2R-Citroën) was the first to attack with around 3km to go and got an 8s gap.
Lennard Kämna (Bora) also attacked and opened a small gap, but behind Lawrence Naesen was reeled back in as the pace in the peloton increased.
Lennard Kämna was got just inside 1km to go.
Behind Formolo and Ulissi reeled him in and chaos reigned.
By the final bend Van der Poel had made his way to the front with Biniam Girmay and Caleb Ewan behind.
Van der Poel launched his sprint with around 40m to go with Girmay following. Ewan started his sprint, but rubbed Girmay's back wheel and crashed.
Van der Poel held off Girmay all the way to the line in a chaotic and tense opening sprint on a narrow twisting final climb.
VIDEO: Caleb Ewan Crashed
Van der Poel knew the sprint was going to be tough, "I knew positioning would be the key to win today. It was a bit difficult sometimes I got boxed in a few times on the final climb and it cost a lot of energy to catch the guys in front of me. In the final, I just launched my sprint and it was pretty close because the legs were full of lactate. But I'm really happy."
Van der Poel added a Maglia Rosa to his yellow jersey from the Tour de France, "Just on the finish line. It was going to be difficult to drop the sprinters but of course it was for them, as well, the climb. I knew I had a good chance but it really hurt."
"It's incredible, to wear the yellow jersey and now the pink! Now we will see what the time trial brings tomorrow. I'm gonna try again, for sure, it will be difficult but I'm going to try."
Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) pulled on the white young riders White Jersey after finishing second.
Stage 2 is 9.2 km ITT with just 150m of climbing around Budapest on a city circuit that stitches together the Hungarian capital from Pest to the historical centre of Buda.
VIDEO: 2022 Giro d'Italia Stage 1 Highlights
2022 Giro d'Italia Stage 1 Top 10
01 NED Mathieu van der Poel Alpecin-Fenix 04:35:28
02 ERI Biniam Girmay Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert + 00
03 ESP Pello Bilbao Bahrain Victorious + 00
04 DEN Magnus Cort EF Education-EasyPost + 00
05 NED Wilco Kelderman BORA-hansgrohe + 00
06 ECU Richard Carapaz INEOS Grenadiers + 00
07 NED Bauke Mollema Trek-Segafredo + 00
08 ITA Diego Ulissi UAE Team Emirates + 00
09 ITA Andrea Vendrame AG2R Citroën Team + 04
10 DEN Mattias Skjelmose Jensen Trek-Segafredo + 04