Kristen Faulkner of United States claimed the time trial victory today in Cagliari ©Getty Images

American cyclist Kristen Faulkner of Team BikeExchange-Jayco was the quickest in today's opening time trial of the 2022 Giro d'Italia Donne, holding a four-second gap in the general classification.

She clocked a time of 5min 45sec in Cagliari, finishing three seconds in front of Australian Georgia Baker, her team-mate.

Faulkner picked up a bonus second to sit four seconds in front of Baker overall.

Italian Elisa Balsamo of Trek-Segafredo finished third and is six seconds adrift of the American, tied with Belgian Lotte Kopecky of SD Worx.

Balsamo's compatriot and team-mate Elisa Longo Borghini is nine seconds off the lead in fifth.

"I'm thrilled, I never thought I'd be wearing the pink jersey at this race, so it's a huge surprise, but it's a great surprise and it's definitely something that was one of my dreams, I just didn’t think it would come this soon," said Faulkner after the race.

"I did not come in thinking about holding onto the pink jersey, I have strong teammates who can climb and sprint, so I came into the Giro hoping to support them in this race. 

"I don't know what the strategy will be now, but I know that we have a deep squad and a lot of cards to play, so hopefully we can play numbers and being in pink only makes our options stronger.

"I feel really proud of all the work my team-mates and I and my coach have put in and I'm just really happy that I could bring home the pink on the first day for the team."

Action is set to continue tomorrow with the second stage from Villasimius to Tortoli over 106.5 kilometres.