Mathieu van der Poel snatched a dramatic win on stage one of the Giro d'Italia as the climb to the castle finish in Visegrad served up a spectacle.

The Giro got under way in Hungary and remains in the country over the weekend, before the riders head to Italy for the remainder of the 21-stage, 3,445.6-kilometre race.

Dutchman Van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) fended off Eritrean Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert), who marked his Grand Tour debut by finishing in second place.

Caleb Ewan (Lotto–Soudal) was rivalling both coming into the final corner but crashed heavily as he fought to make up ground.

Van der Poel, who won the second stage of the Tour de France last year, said of his Maglia Rosa success: "I knew positioning was going to be the key to winning today, and it was a bit difficult sometimes. It cost a lot of energy to catch the guys in front of me. I launched my sprint, and it was pretty close because the legs were full of lactate of course.

"I'm really happy. I knew I had a good chance, but it really hurt. It's incredible, after a yellow jersey to wear the pink now, we will see what the time trial brings tomorrow."

Girmay told Eurosport: "I tried all my best. I'm at my limit, but Van der Poel was stronger than me today, but I'm really happy."

A largely flat 195km ride from Budapest to Visegrad threw up little drama until the closing five kilometres. Belgian Lawrence Naesen (AG2R Citroen) made the first break up the hill and held a nine-second lead with 2.7km remaining, before he was caught by Germany's Lennard Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe).

Kamna, too, fell away, setting up the frantic dash to the line that gave Van der Poel his first Giro stage victory.

 

Maglia Rose delight for Van der Poel

Getting to wear the Maglia Rose (pink jersey) will make Van der Poel the third Dutchman to have held the lead in both the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia. Giro organisers said it means he follows the example of compatriots Wim van Est and Erik Breukink, who also led both race.

STAGE RESULT 

1. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 4:35:28 
2. Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) same time 
3. Peio Bilbao Lopez de Armentia (Bahrain Victorious) same time 
4. Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education-Easypost) same time 
5. Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe) same time 

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS 

General Classification

1. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 4:35:18 
2. Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) +0:04
3. Peio Bilbao Lopez de Armentia (Bahrain Victorious) +0:06

Points Classification

1. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 50
2. Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 35
3. Peio Bilbao Lopez de Armentia (Bahrain Victorious) 25

King of the Mountains

1. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 3
2. Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 2
3. Peio Bilbao Lopez de Armentia (Bahrain Victorious) 1