Mathieu van der Poel takes first pink jersey of career on his Giro d’Italia debut

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Mathieu van der Poel - Mathieu van der Poel takes first pink jersey of career on his Giro d'Italia debut - GETTY IMAGES

Mathieu van der Poel – Mathieu van der Poel takes first pink jersey of career on his Giro d’Italia debut – GETTY IMAGES

Mathieu van der Poel of Alpecin-Fenix won the first stage of the Giro d’Italia on Friday, beating Biniam Girmay on the final sprint to claim victory on the a 195-km flat ride from Budapest to Visegrad.

In a stage marred by crashes, Dutchman Van der Poel was neck-and-neck with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux’s Girmay but timed his attack to perfection to cross the line first with a time of 4hr 35min 28sec to take hold of the maglia rosa, the leader’s pink jersey.

Pello Bilbao of Bahrain Victorious was third while Lotto-Soudal’s Caleb Ewan crashed at the final turn when he made contact with Girmay.