Hart wins duel with Hindley for Giro d’Italia title
The 25-year-old Team Ineos rider had been neck-and-neck with Hindley going into the closing day.
Britain’s Tao Geoghegan Hart won the Giro d’Italia on Sunday to claim his first Grand Tour win just 39 seconds ahead of Australian Jai Hindley as the three-week race went down to the wire in the 21st and final stage time-trial.
The 25-year-old Team Ineos rider had been neck-and-neck with Hindley going into the closing day, but lifted the “Never ending trophy’ after finishing the race against the clock in 13th position with Sunweb’s Hindley slipping to 38th.
Geoghegan Hart’s Italian teammate Filippo Ganna was first in the 15.7km time-trial which finished in front of Milan’s Duomo Cathedral, a seventh stage win for Ineos, who lost team leader Geraint Thomas to a broken pelvis after just three stages.
“It’s going to take a long time to sink in,” said Geoghegan Hart, who pulled on his first pink jersey at the finish line in northern Italy.
“It’s incredible! It was impossible for me to even think about winning the Giro when we started in Sicily.
The Last Km before entering the history books. Bravo @taogeoghegan!— Giro d'Italia (@giroditalia) October 25, 2020
L'Ultimo Km prima di entrare nella storia. Bravo @taogeoghegan!
El último kilómetro antes de hacer historia. ¡Bravo @taogeoghegan!
Le dernier km pour entrer dans l'histoire ! Bravo @taogeoghegan!#Giro pic.twitter.com/08ZoHAZgGb
“All of my career I have dreamt of being top 10 or top 5 in a race like this.”
It was the first podium on a Grand Tour for the English rider, but also for second-placed Hindley and Dutchman Wilco Kelderman, both of Sunweb.
Geoghegan Hart had won Saturday’s 20th stage, edging Hindley, who wore the pink jersey on the final day thanks to 86 hundredths of a second difference over his rival in the two previous time-trials.
But the suspense was short lived as Hindley dropped 22 seconds on his rival at the intermediary stage after 10.3km.
The 24-year-old nevertheless becomes the first Australian on the Giro podium.
Geogeghan Hart, 25, is the second British rider to win the Giro, after Chris Froome pulled off an incredible comeback two days from the finish in 2018.
World champion Ganna dominated the three time-trials in this year’s race, setting a blistering pace of 54.5km to finish 32 seconds ahead of Belgian Victor Campenaerts and Australian teammate Rohan Dennis in the final stage.
“I have won this ITT but I am even happier for my teammate Tao, it’s fantastic,” said the Italian.
“I knew he could do it.”
Neither Geoghegan Hart nor Hindley rider had been their team leader when the race got underway in Sicily three weeks ago.
Since his professional debut in 2017 with Sky, which have since become Ineos, Geoghegan Hart had won just two stages, on the Tour des Alpes in 2019.
The victory was a boost for his team who had a disappointing Tour de France with defending champion Egan Bernal’s withdrawal, while Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz did not defend his Giro title but competed in the Vuelta a Espana.
Kelderman finished third 1min 29sec behind the winner with Portugal’s Joao Almeida who had held the pink jersey for two weeks until three days from the finish, in fourth.
None of the pre-race favourites were on the podium with Simon Yates and Steven Kruijswijk both ruled out with Covid and Thomas injured.
Dane Jakob Fuglsang finished sixth and two-time winner Vincenzo Nibali seventh.
“There is a change of generation, that’s clear,” sighed Nibali, who had finished on the podium six times.
The race managed to go all the way despite an upsurge in coronavirus cases in Italy.
Four riders tested positive including Dutch contender Kruijswijk, Mitchelton-Scott team leader Yates and Sunweb’s Australian Michael Matthews.
Mitchelton and Jumbo-Visma withdrew because of positive coronavirus tests.
But stringent health measures had allowed the race to finish, including the absence of spectators at the finish line.
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