The 26th edition of the Cycling Malta International Tour got under way despite the strong winds that hit Malta on Friday.
The three-day event made its return to the local sporting agenda after a two-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The opening stage consisted of an individual time trial at the Coast Road in Salina over a 15km route.
Maltese Australian Dan Bonello (Team Oleka) topped the Elite category in a time of 22 minutes and 17 seconds.
Frenchman Antoine Magaud (Sprinter Nice Metropole) was second in 22 minutes and 26 seconds, 11 seconds ahead of Swiss Dominic Kunz (Amore e vita – KIBAG-Obor) who completed the podium.
Briton Matilde Pauls, of 1904RT – UK, won the opening stage of the Ladies category in a time of 24 minutes and 31 seconds.
Maltese champion Marie Claire Aquilina, of Team Greens, finished in second place, trailing Pauls by one minute and 15 seconds.
British rider Jennifer Andrews, also of 1904RT – UK, placed third in 26 minutes and 37 seconds.
In the Master’s category, England’s Dave Mitchinson, of Cinnamon Café Contour Cycles Drunk Race Team – UK, won the stage in 22 minutes and 48 seconds.
Ten seconds behind was Maltese veteran Etienne Bonello, of Team Greens, while England’s Martin Lawless (Cycle Club Ashwell) completed the podium in 23 minutes and 20 seconds.
At the end of the stage, the medals and red jersey were presented to all the winners by Joe Bajada, Secretary-General of the Malta Cycling Federation.
The tour continues on Saturday, with a road race expected to be decisive on the San Martin circuit, an 88-kilometre circuit for the Elite (10 laps), 53km for the women’s and masters’ classes.
The second stage gets under way at 8am.