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Chris Hamilton takes rare chance to break onto WorldTour podium at Giro d’Italia

Giro d'Italia 2021 - 104th Edition - 12th stage Siena - Bagno di Romagna 212 km - 20/05/2021 - Andrea Vendrame (ITA - AG2R Citroen Team) - Christopher Hamilton (AUS - Team DSM) - photo Dario Belingheri/BettiniPhoto©2021
Chris Hamilton (Team DSM) on the move with Andrea Vendrame (AG2R Citroën) on stage 12 of the Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Chris Hamilton (Team DSM) is one of those riders that's usually too busy working for others to get the chance to go for victory himself, so it’s not surprising that the last time he made his way onto the podium for an individual result was back in 2016, when he pulled on the green and gold jersey of the U23 Australian national champion. Now, in his fifth year on the WorldTour, he has found his way back onto those prized steps by taking a second place at one of the biggest races on the calendar.

Stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia – with 3,700 metres of climbing and the second longest of the race at 212 kilometres – was never going to be an easy day in the saddle but it looked like one for the break so instead of putting all the focus on working for the team’s GC contender, Romain Bardet, Hamilton and Nicholas Roche were given a chance to try and hunt down a stage win. It was a chance the 26-year-old Australian was determined to make the most of.

“We thought it would be a good opportunity to go for the breakaway,” Hamilton said in a team statement. “Nico Roche and I were given the green light to do that and after a massive fight I made it in. From then on it was about being as efficient as you could, not laying your cards out too early."

The break started with 16 riders at around 150 kilometres to go, but on the final climb, the Passo del Carnaio, Andrea Vendrame (AG2R Citroën) attacked and was joined by Hamilton, George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) and Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo). The four surged away from the remainders of the break on the top section of the climb and speedy descent afterwards. Then the next selection occurred in the final kilometres when Hamilton and Vendarme attacked and Brambilla and Bennet refused to chase for one another

“Coming into the final with the four of us fighting for the win was pretty cool,” said Hamilton. “I haven’t had so many chances for myself to go for a stage result so I’m really thankful to the team that I got the chance.”

In the end it came down to a sprint between Vendrame and Hamilton, with the Australian playing the tactics and sitting on the AG2R Citroën riders wheel in the final kilometre, forcing him to lead out. Though even leading out Vendrame’s turn of speed was too powerful and Hamilton came over the line in second place. 

“Of course I would have loved to win but second in a Grand Tour, yeah, I can say I’ve been there, you know," said Hamilton. "There’s not much else I could have done and I’m really happy with the day.”