The iconic city of Jerusalem has never seen a cycling race of this magnitude go through their historic streets before. Crowds line the sidewalk to get a glimpse of the racing. The Giro d'Italia has made a bold statement; it is the first to move a Grand Tour start outside Europe.
Stage 1 of the 101st Giro d'Italia is a 9.7 km Jerusalem Individual Time Trial. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) takes the victory and is the new race General Classification leader, wearing the first Maglia Rosa.
New Zealand has three riders in the Giro d'Italia this year: Sam Bewley (Mitchelton-Scott), Tom Scully (EF Education First Drapac p/b Cannondale) and George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo). Bennett has a strong chance of going inside the top 10 of the General Classification.
After the end of stage 1, we caught up with Tom Scully and George Bennett. The mayhem of the crowds and strict security made it difficult, but we managed to weave our way through the military guards in order to get access.
New Zealand Herald: How was it out there?
Tom Scully: The air was thick and dries out your throat really quick. The course seemed to suit me as there's not too many flats and it has some pinch climbs. I'm really happy with coming out and starting well [finishing 17th overall]. I've just got to find my long legs now as stage 3 is over 200k. George Bennett: I didn't push enough at the start, thinking I'd blow up. But I got down to the halfway mark and I needed to move. The terrain made it difficult to get the time back on. There was quite a lot of pinch climbs, downhills that were fast and tight bends. I didn't want to push it all through the corners.
NZH: What do you think of the surroundings?
TS: The fans, the atmosphere and crowds are amazing—they've really come out to support.
GB: Atmospherically it's quite cool—that is if you take the politics out of it.
NZH: What's the game plan over the next few days?
GB: I just need to get to Italy and not lose time. Hopefully there's no drama over the next few days with wind or anything like that.