Stage one in Jerusalem

Stage one in Jerusalem

British cyclist Chris Froome is aiming to win a third consecutive Grand Tour title.

Reigning Giro d'Italia champion Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) took 37 seconds on last year's Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana victor Chris Froome (Team Sky) on the 9.7 kilometre individual time trial as the first Grand Tour of the season began in Jerusalem.

Team Sky said Froome was slightly injured but would compete in the opening time trial. His shorts were ripped around the hip and his jersey was ripped near his shoulder blade.

Team Sky told Cyclingnews that Froome is "fine" and "there is no significant damage or cause for concern".

With so much talk about his adverse test for asthma drug salbutamol at last year's Vuelta and whether he should even be here, the start of the race was meant to bring some respite.

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"It's pretty painful obviously, but then straight away he went right back on his bike and he did two laps again, " Portal said.

And the fact that a trio of climbers - New Zealand's George Bennett, Italian Fabio Aru and Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez - who also crashed whilst checking the course, are only just behind would not have been part of the plan.

The series of crashes came shortly before the Giro opened in Jerusalem, the first time a Grand Tour cycling race has ever been held outside Europe.

The Dutchman is the first rider since Paolo Savoldelli back in 2005-06 to win the first stage of the race as defending champion.

The second stage Saturday will see the riders start in the northern port city of Haifa and ride 167 kilometres south along the coast to the finish in Tel Aviv.

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