South African rider Ryan Gibbons grabbed eighth spot on Friday, making a stunning debut in his first Grand Tour race by delivering a brave performance on the opening stage of the Giro d’Italia.
Gibbons held on for a late sprint on the 206km leg between Alghero and Olbia, and though Lukas Postlberger of Austria (Bora-Hansgrohe) took the stage win, Gibbons managed an impressive top-10 finish.
It was one of the best performances of his career, building on a superb season for the 22-year-old Dimension Data rider after he won the Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia in March.
He also settled in fourth place in the race for the young riders’ jersey.
Another Di-Data rider, Italian Kristian Sbaragli, finished sixth in the sprint, closing out a solid day for the local outfit.
“We are looking forward to the next stages. The spirit in the team is really good,” Sbaragli said.
“I am feeling good and you could see all our guys were strong today.”
Saturday’s second stage of the three-week race will take the peloton 221km from Olbia to Tortoli.