The roar of the crowd when their fellow Dutchman Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) rolled down the ramp showed who they wanted to win, and he didn't disappoint...just.
Dumoulin's team-mate Tobias Ludvigsson warmed up the hot seat until 94 riders later, former ski jumper Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) posted a time of 11 minutes and 3 seconds, around 53.2 km/h.
It was the mark to aim for and Dumoulin hit it dead on finishing in equal time.Dumoulin pipped Roglic by a mere 0.022 seconds.
Roglic's team-mate, Jos Van Emden, touted as an outside favourite for the prologue crashed on a corner, skulking towards the line visually sore. Stefan Kung (BMC) fell on the same corner but battled on to finish an admirable 33rd.
Mikel Landa (Sky) finished with a time of 11 minutes 43 seconds, losing 21 seconds to Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) on a short prologue. Landa will need to do all he can to contain his losses come stage 9 and its 40km time trial.
“It sounds like I’ve made a few people happy today, hearing all the people who were shouting my name after I won, but mostly I made myself happy. It’s a very emotional moment. It’s a crazy feeling.
“In cycling, plans usually don’t work. I really meant it when I said that it would be hard to win this time trial. I knew that Primoz Roğlic had set a good time. When I crossed the line, I thought I was three seconds ahead of him, but we were actually on the same time.” - Tom Dumoulin
Dumoulin’s victory comes after two second places at the Tour of Romandie, in the prologue and the first stage, and four second places finishes in a row at Paris-Nice.
“I’ve felt frustrated on a few occasions this year with second places in time trials but luck was on my side this time. It doesn’t matter if I win by a hundredth of a second, one second or ten seconds. It’s an important step in my career,” said the 25-year-old.
“I didn’t grow up in a cycling environment but I’ve learned enough about the history of cycling to understand the meaning of the pink jersey. I hope I still have it when we arrive in Italy but it will be hard to keep it against the sprinters who will fight for time bonuses. However I’ll do my best to wear the pink jersey in this beautiful country.”
Stage two is 190km from Arnhem to Nijmegen. It includes a short 1.1km climb, with a gradient of up to 11 per cent, before finishing with two laps of an 8.6km city circuit. Wind is likely to be a major factor along the route.
“The weather forecast is good for the next two days and I believe a lot of people will be out on the road to cheer me on,” said Dumoulin, who is looking forward to wearing the maglia rosa in front of a home crowd.
“It’s very special to be in this position in the Netherlands."