The 2018 Giro d'Italia has begun how it finished last year - with Tom Dumoulin atop the podium.

The 2017 overall winner has claimed victory in the opening time trial of the 2018 event, storming home in impressive fashion to stamp his mark as overall favourite for the race.

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Catching up with the Kiwis at Giro d'Italia

Everyone else was left in his wake, including the three New Zealand riders in the field, who started solidly on the opening stage.

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New Zealand's overall hopes of making Giro history lie with climber George Bennett, who as expected lost some time to his rivals on the 9.7 kilometre course, but by no means lost an insurmountable deficit.

Bennett, who is a strong candidate to become the first Kiwi to ever claim a top 10 finish at the Giro, finished the stage in 43rd, 49 seconds down on Dumoulin. He sat in 54th at the intermediate checkpoint before finishing slightly stronger, and crucially avoided a repeat of the opening time trial at last year's Tour de France, where he crashed and ended up near the bottom of the field.

The 28-year-old isn't expected to feature too prominently in the opening week of the Giro, instead hoping to stay in touch with his general classification rivals before making time back when the race hits the mountains, and he more or less accomplished that goal this morning.

He wasn't the best Kiwi rider however, with that honour going to Tom Scully, who turned in a superb ride to finish 17th, 34 seconds down on Dumoulin but ahead of plenty of distinguished names, including Chris Froome who struggled after crashing heavily earlier in the day on his practice ride.

Scully will be largely working for his teammates during the Giro, as will the final Kiwi in the race, Sam Bewley. Bewley made the most of the slim time he'll spend on screen this month, being one of the first riders out of the blocks and eventually finishing 73rd, one minute and one second off the pace.

He will support the likes of Simon Yates, who rode fantastically to claim seventh, only 20 seconds off Dumoulin, who in turn beat out Australia's Rohan Dennis and Belgium's Victor Campenaerts by two seconds to claim the stage, and continue where he left off.

How the favourites fared

1. Tom Dumoulin - 12 minutes and 2 seconds
7. Simon Yates - 20 seconds down
10. Domenico Pozzovivo - 27 seconds down
16. Thibaut Pinot - 33 seconds down
21. Chris Froome - 37 seconds down
25. Wout Poels - 40 seconds down
40. Esteban Chaves - 46 seconds down
43. George Bennett - 49 seconds down
47. Fabio Aru - 50 seconds down
61. Miguel Angel Lopez - 56 seconds down
76. Michael Woods - 1 minute and 2 seconds down
94. Louis Meintjes - 1 minute and 8 seconds down

Niall Anderson is covering every stage of the Giro d'Italia live for the Herald, because he is a lunatic.