Giro d'Italia: Geoghegan Hart wins stage 20 on Sestriere

For the first time in history, the top two riders will start the final stage of a Grand Tour tied on time, as Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers) and Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) once again rode away from the rest of the field on stage 20 of the Giro d'Italia.

Geoghegan Hart claimed the stage win at Sestriere – his second and Ineos' sixth of the Giro – but it was Hindley who claimed the pink jersey by dint of count-back to fractions of seconds from the time trials.

The 24-year-old inherits the overall lead from his teammate Wilco Kelderman, who was dropped when Geoghegan Hart's teammate Rohan Dennis blew the GC field apart on the second of three ascents of Sestriere. Many had wondered if the new parcours would be any match for the originally-planned high-altitude route over the Colle dell'Agnello and Col d'Izoard, but the Sestriere triple - once up the gentle side, twice up the steeper side - punched above its weight. 

In scenes reminiscent of the Stelvio stage two days ago, only Geoghegan Hart and Hindley could follow the former time trial world champion as he led them to the top, down the descent, through the valley and then, remarkably, up all but the final 1500 metres of the final climb, placing third on the stage for good measure.

Having been beaten in the two-up kick for the line at Laghi di Cancano two days ago, this time Geoghegan Hart made no mistake, coming from behind with 150 metres to go and holding on for the line. Having started the day three seconds apart, with Hindley adding one second at the late intermediate sprint, the bonus seconds on the line – 10 for Geoghegan Hart, six for Hindley – meant they were tied for time atop the overall standings.

After several minutes of deliberation among the race officials, Hindley was declared the overall leader and will wear pink for what promises to be a dramatic final 15km time trial in Milan.

"I'm speechless. It's something I've dreamed about since I was a little boy," Hindley said. "To wear the leader's jersey in a Grand Tour is an incredible privilege. It's not ideal to take it off Wilco but it's nice to keep it in the team."

Kelderman finished in eighth place alongside Pello Bilbao (Bahrain McLaren), at 1:35, and fell to third overall at 1:32, which, for all his ability against the clock, seemingly ended his chances of winning this Giro.

The Dutchman was able to limit his losses thanks to a strong chase from Deceuninck-QuickStep ahead of and on the final climb, with previous maglia rosa Joao Almeida attacking to finish fourth at one minute but unable to get much closer to the podium.

Bilbao is fourth overall at 2:51 and Almeida fifth at 3:14, while Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), who couldn't go with the Geoghegan Hart-Hindley group or the maglia rosa group, is now at 6:32 after placing 18th on the stage. Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo), who was dropped from the maglia rosa group before Almeida's attack, moved up to seventh overall at 7:46. Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) dropped to eighth as his teammate Rafal Majka had a torrid time and tumbled down the standings, with Fausto Masnada (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Hermann Pernsteiner (Bahrain McLaren) rounding out the top 10.

How it unfolded

The riders set off from Alba beneath an overcast sky, and it was a fast start with many keen to get into a breakaway. It took the best part of 25km for one to form, with a group of 16 riders soon joined by another seven to form a big move of 21.

In there were: Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R La Mondiale), Andrea Vendrame (AG2R La Mondiale) Jan Tratnik (Bahrain McLaren), Filippo Fiorelli (Bardiani), Kamil Malecki (CCC), Elia Viviani (Cofidis), Davide Ballerini, Mikkel Frølich Honore and Pieter Serry (Deceunink-QuickStep), Tanel Kangert (EF Pro Cycling), Arnaud Demare and Simon Guglielmi (Groupama FDJ), Davide Cimolai (Israel Start-Up Nation), Matthew Holmes (Lotto Soudal), Einer Rubio and Davide Villella (Movistar), Amanuel Gebreigzabhier and Matteo Sobrero (NTT), Julien Bernard and Nicola Conci (Trek Segafredo) and Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates).

Points classification leader Demare was joined by several other sprinters and had eyes only for the intermediate sprint in Saluzzo after 52km, which he duly won to seal the maglia ciclamino, barring accident. The breakaway opened up a lead of seven minutes on the flat opening 90 kilometres, with Astana controlling the pace in the peloton behind.

The road then continued to steepen to Sestriere for the first of three times up. In total, it was a long slog of around 50km, even if the categorised part of the ascent only measured 22km. Still, this was the easier of the two ways up Sestriere – with the steeper section to be used on the subsequent two ascents – and it was big ring the whole way.

Conci made the first move in the break on the lower slopes of the categorised part. That thinned the group as the sprinters – despite a brief resurgence from Demare – fell away. Deceuninck-QuickStep set the tempo for much of the climb, with Guglielmi attacking at the top to grab the mountains points. Back in the bunch, Ineos took over from Astana half-way up the climb, enforcing a solid tempo through Salvatore Puccio and Filippo Ganna. They came over the top just under four minutes down on the break.

A descent of 11.5km followed, and Ballerini immediately went on the attack, carving out 45 seconds by the time he hit the valley. He held onto a decent lead as the break continued to fragment on the false flat valley road that preceded the first of the two southern ascents of Sestriere. He hit the climb with a minute in hand as Holmes attacked behind, followed by Gebreigzabhier and Serry.

Peloton blows apart on second Sestriere ascent

The peloton hit the second ascent of Sestriere and absolutely blew apart. Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) had already been dropped, but then Ineos turned things up a notch, first through Ganna and then through Rohan Dennis, who was so impressive on the Stelvio two days previously. Dennis’ turn was such that the like of Vincenzo Nibali, Jakob Fuglsang, and Joao Almeida were quickly dropped some 30km from the finish.

Dennis then turned things up another notch and Kelderman found himself distanced as, once again, only Geoghegan Hart and Hindley could follow the former world time trial champion. His effort was so strong that even Geoghegan Hart was briefly distanced from his teammate’s wheel.

Kelderman slotted into a chase group with Almeida, Bilbao, and Pozzovivo, with former pink jersey Almeida doing the work in front of its current wearer. After a couple of kilometres, there were 30 seconds between the groups, meaning Hindley was virtually in pink in place of his teammate.

With 27km to go, at the summit of Sestriere for the second and penultimate time, Colombian climber Rubio, who’d attacked on the lower slopes and overhauled Ballerini, was the first over the top. Serry was next at 40 seconds, followed by Ballerini and Bouchard.

Having blown through many a remnant from the early break, Dennis led Geoghegan Hart and Hindley – plus Holmes now – over the top 1:30 down on Rubio and, more importantly, 40 seconds up on Kelderman. The maglia rosa found himself in an enlarged chase group that now contained Nibali – with teammate Julien Bernard – as well as Almeida – with teammate James Knox, Pozzovivo – with teammate Ben O’Connor – Bilbao, plus a couple more breakaway remnants.

On the descent, Ballerini caught up to Serry, and they trailed Rubio by around 30 seconds. The Dennis-Geoghegan Hart-Hindley group was at 55 seconds, with the pink jersey group at 1:40. The diminutive Rubio lost more ground on the false flat road ahead of the final climb, and was caught by Ballerini and Serry, making another effort to latch onto the QuickStep duo. Dennis was once again doing a crucial job in the valley, reducing the gap to the lead trio to just 30 seconds, and extending Kelderman’s deficit to more than a minute.

With 9.3km to go, that lead GC group caught Rubio, Serry, and Ballerini. The latter fell away but the other two latched onto the back of the Dennis express, as Bouchard and Vendrame had joined Holmes in doing so a little earlier. That lead group went over an intermediate sprint, where bonus seconds awaited. Hindley hit out and took three seconds, with Geoghegan Hart taking two. QuickStep were pulling the maglia rosa group but by that point they were 1:45 down.

Third time up Sestriere

Dennis continued his charge on the lower slopes of the final climb, still putting time into the maglia rosa group, which now had three QuickStep riders working for Almeida. Soon, however, it was just one, as Knox took it up and thinned out that group. Knox’s pace saw Pozzovivo dropped, as only Almeida, Kelderman, Malecki, Bilbao, and Nibali could follow. It also saw the gap down to 1:25. Up the road, only Serry could stick with Dennis, Geoghegan Hart, and Almeida.

With 4.5km to go, the tide was turning, and Knox had reduced the gap to 1:15, with Nibali dropped. With 4km to go, Almeida, sensing the podium, launched a big attack, to which Kelderman and Bilbao had no response. The Portuguese rider soon found another ally in Serry, who’d dropped back from the front.

Hindley launched his first attack with just over 3km to go, but it was short-lived, with Dennis swiftly and pointedly coming back to the front. By that point, Almeida was just 45 seconds back, with Kelderman and Bilbao at 1:10. The second attack came with 2.5km to go and was much more concerted. Geoghegan Hart was alive to it and confidently took the wheel. The pair drew side-by-side with 1800 metres to go, with Almeida pushed back to a minute and Kelderman/Bilbao to 1:25.

Remarkably, Dennis rose from the dead once again, hitting the front with 1.6km to go. Geoghegan Hart forced Hindley to close a gap to Dennis and the Australian launched another acceleration with 1.3km to go. The pair entered the final kilometre together and rode most of it side by side. 

Hindley hit the front with 400 metres to go, but Geoghegan Hart accelerated with 150m to go. Hindley started to come back but Geoghegan Hart held on for the line to take his second stage and Ineos’s sixth. With 10 bonus seconds to Hindley’s six, he also made it neck and neck to set up a mouth-watering clash against the clock on Sunday.

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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 4:52:45
2Jai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb
3Rohan Dennis (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:25
4Joao Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:01:01
5Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R la Mondiale 0:01:34
6Einer Augusto Rubio Reyes (Col) Movistar Team 0:01:35
7Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain McLaren
8Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb
9Attila Valter (Hun) CCC Team 0:01:48
10James Knox (GBr) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:02:00
11Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:02:02
12Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling 0:02:09
13Ruben Guerreiro (Por) EF Pro Cycling
14Pieter Serry (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:02:25
15Ben O'Connor (Aus) NTT Pro Cycling 0:02:28
16Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain McLaren
17Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
18Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:02:36
19Matthew Holmes (GBr) Lotto Soudal 0:02:41
20Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck-Quickstep
21Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:03:33
22Aurélien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 0:03:41
23Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates 0:05:13
24Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 0:05:33
25Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Den) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:05:50
26Martijn Tusveld (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:05:59
27Kamil Malecki (Pol) CCC Team 0:06:10
28Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain McLaren 0:06:46
29Davide Villella (Ita) Movistar Team 0:06:52
30Nicola Conci (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:07:39
31Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:07:55
32Sergio Samitier Samitier (Spa) Movistar Team 0:08:03
33Ben Swift (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
34Lawrence Warbasse (USA) AG2R la Mondiale
35Louis Meintjes (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling
36Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo
37Fabio Felline (Ita) Astana Pro Team
38Jonathan Caicedo (Ecu) EF Pro Cycling
39Mathias Le Turnier (Fra) Cofidis 0:08:28
40Tanel Kangert (Est) EF Pro Cycling
41Amanuel Gebreigzabhier (Eri) NTT Pro Cycling 0:08:43
42Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:09:28
43Joseph Rosskopf (USA) CCC Team
44Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Ineos Grenadiers 0:09:58
45Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:11:46
46Matteo Fabbro (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:11:52
47Luca Chirico (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
48Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
49Victor De la Parte (Spa) CCC Team
50Hector Carretero (Spa) Movistar Team
51Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Lotto Soudal
52Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Movistar Team
53Joe Dombrowski (USA) UAE Team Emirates
54Jesper Hansen (Den) Cofidis
55Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
56Jefferson Alexander Cepeda (Ecu) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:11:56
57Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane' 0:13:00
58Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) CCC Team 0:14:07
59Simon Guglielmi (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:14:23
60Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis 0:15:33
61Antonio Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
62Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar Team 0:16:49
63Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers 0:17:39
64Domen Novak (Slo) Bahrain McLaren 0:20:07
65Matteo Sobrero (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling 0:20:15
66Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:20:42
67Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers 0:26:40
68Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis
69Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Start-Up Nation
70Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bahrain McLaren
71Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Israel Start-Up Nation
72Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
73Kilian Frankiny (Swi) Groupama-FDJ 0:27:45
74Nico Denz (Ger) Team Sunweb
75Simon Pellaud (Swi) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
76Etienne Van Empel (Ned) Vini Zabu' KTM
77James Whelan (Aus) EF Pro Cycling
78Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM
79Danilo Wyss (Swi) NTT Pro Cycling
80Dylan Sunderland (Aus) NTT Pro Cycling
81Chad Haga (USA) Team Sunweb
82Miles Scotson (Aus) Groupama-FDJ
83Filippo Zana (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
84Francesco Romano (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
85Alessandro Tonelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
86Jaakko Hanninen (Fin) AG2R la Mondiale
87Eros Capecchi (Ita) Bahrain McLaren
88Mattia Bais (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
89Simone Ravanelli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
90Dario Cataldo (Ita) Movistar Team
91Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bahrain McLaren
92Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto Soudal
93François Bidard (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
94Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Pro Cycling 0:27:50
95Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal
96Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:27:53
97Jhonatan Restrepo Valencia (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:29:02
98Stefano Oldani (Ita) Lotto Soudal 0:32:40
99Marco Frapporti (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM
100Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Soudal
101Simone Bevilacqua (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM
102Oscar Rodriguez Garaicoechea (Spa) Astana Pro Team
103Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
104Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
105Josip Rumac (Cro) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
106Jonas Gregaard Wilsly (Den) Astana Pro Team
107Giovanni Lonardi (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
108Mark Padun (Ukr) Bahrain McLaren
109Rodrigo Contreras Pinzon (Col) Astana Pro Team
110Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM 0:33:34
111Marco Mathis (Ger) Cofidis 0:33:42
112Mikkel Bjerg (Den) UAE Team Emirates
113Nathan Haas (Aus) Cofidis 0:34:00
114Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:34:47
115Simone Consonni (Ita) Cofidis
116Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:34:57
117Kamil Gradek (Pol) CCC Team
118Josef Cerny (Cze) CCC Team
119Alvaro Jose Hodeg Chagui (Col) Deceuninck-Quickstep
120Lachlan Morton (Aus) EF Pro Cycling 0:35:00
121Guy Sagiv (Isr) Israel Start-Up Nation 0:35:33
122Rick Zabel (Ger) Israel Start-Up Nation
123Alex Dowsett (GBr) Israel Start-Up Nation
124Alessandro Bisolti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
125Victor Campenaerts (Bel) NTT Pro Cycling
126Fabio Mazzucco (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
127Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Groupama-FDJ 0:36:12
128Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
129Matthias Brändle (Aut) Israel Start-Up Nation 0:36:13
130Jonathan Dibben (GBr) Lotto Soudal 0:36:24
131Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Groupama-FDJ 0:36:33
132Iljo Keisse (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep
133Albert Torres Barcelo (Spa) Movistar Team
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Intermediate sprint - Saluzzo, km. 52
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 12
2Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck-Quickstep 8
3Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R la Mondiale 6
4Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 5
5Matthew Holmes (GBr) Lotto Soudal 4
6Tanel Kangert (Est) EF Pro Cycling 3
7Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane' 2
8Pieter Serry (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep 1
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Points, Sestriere, km. 190
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 15
2Jai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb 12
3Rohan Dennis (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers 9
4Joao Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quickstep 7
5Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R la Mondiale 6
6Einer Augusto Rubio Reyes (Col) Movistar Team 5
7Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain McLaren 4
8Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 3
9Attila Valter (Hun) CCC Team 2
10James Knox (GBr) Deceuninck-Quickstep 1
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Mountain 1 (Cat. 2) Sestriere, km. 137.9
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane' 18
2Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck-Quickstep 8
3Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 6
4Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates 4
5Matthew Holmes (GBr) Lotto Soudal 2
6Tanel Kangert (Est) EF Pro Cycling 1
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Mountain 2 (Cat. 1) Sestriere, km. 163.3
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Einer Augusto Rubio Reyes (Col) Movistar Team 40
2Pieter Serry (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep 18
3Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck-Quickstep 12
4Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 9
5Amanuel Gebreigzabhier (Eri) NTT Pro Cycling 6
6Rohan Dennis (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers 4
7Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 2
8Jai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb 1
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Mountain 3 (Cat. 1) Sestriere, km. 190
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 40
2Jai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb 18
3Rohan Dennis (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers 12
4Joao Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quickstep 9
5Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R la Mondiale 6
6Einer Augusto Rubio Reyes (Col) Movistar Team 4
7Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain McLaren 2
8Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 1
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Bonus sprint - Sauze Di Cesana, km. 183.2
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:00:03
2Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:02
3Rohan Dennis (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:01
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Young Riders
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1