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Giro d'Italia stage 21 - Live coverage

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Buongiorno! 

It doesn't get much better than this, does it? Well, time trials certainly don't. For the first time in the history of this beguiling, brilliant sport of ours, the top two riders enter the final day of a Grand Tour tied on time. That's right, after more than 85 hours and nearly 4000 kilometres of racing, nothing more than fractions of a second separate our two candidates for the overall title, and it comes down to this, a 15.7km TT in Milan. 

In the pink corner - thanks to those superior fractions from the previous TTs - is Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb), the 24-year-old Australian who took the maglia rosa from his own teammate yesterday. In the opposite corner, Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers), the 25-year-old Brit who came here to work for Geraint Thomas but has soared in the mountains in the past week. 

They're contemporaries, they're friends, but for these 15.7 kilometres they're fierce rivals. Winner takes all. 

Before we get going, now's the time to have a read of our stage preview from our man in Milan, Barry Ryan.

Down to the wire: Hindley and Geoghegan Hart go head-to-head to decide the Giro d’Italia

Here's the plan

Jon Dibben (Lotto Soudal) will be the first rider down the ramp, at 13:40 local time, so in around 15 minutes. The riders will then set off in reverse order of the general classification, at intervals of one minute, all the way down to the top 10, who will be separated on the road by three minutes. Geoghegan Hart is off at 16:09, followed by Hindley at 16:12. Around 20 minutes later, we'll know the winner of the 2020 Giro d'Italia. 

You can see the full list of start times here

Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) has to be considered the favourite for the stage win after dominating the two TTs we've already had in this Giro. It would be the Italian's fourth win in 21 stages, and Ineos' seventh. If the world champion is a five-star favourite, there isn't even anyone on four stars. Fellow Ineos rider Rohan Dennis, perhaps, but the two-time TT world champ has gone deep this past week in teeing up Geoghegan Hart's exploits in remarkable fashion. 

As for Geoghegan Hart himself, who better to have in your corner than those two?

Here's the top 10 ahead of this final stage. For all Kelderman's time trialling prowess, he's not going to make up 92 seconds in 15.7km, and while Almeida may well overhaul Bilbao, the podium looks fixed in place, with this now a two-horse race. 

1 Jai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb 85:22:07

2 Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers

3 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:01:32

4 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain McLaren 0:02:51

5 Joao Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:03:14

6 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:06:32

7 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:07:46

8 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:08:05

9 Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:09:24

10 Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain McLaren 0:10:08

We're off!

Dibben rolls down the ramp and the final stage of the 2020 Giro d'Italia is underway. Let the tension build and build...

This is the course, by the way. Pretty much pan-flat. 

Giro stage 21

(Image credit: RCS Sport)

And here's the map. We start outside central Milan and plot a relatively untechnical route into the heart of the city. 

Giro stage 21

(Image credit: RCS Sport)

Mathias Brandle starts his ride. He and Israel Start-Up Nation teammate Alex Dowsett are among the early starters who should post some strong times. 

Best trophy in cycling

Not much competition for the Trofeo Senza Fine, actually. There are some terrible trophies in cycling. Roubaix cobblestone and Tirreno trident, you are obviously exempt. 

Dibben is our first finisher, with 19:29.

18:27 for Brandle - by far the quickest so far. 

Just remembered that in Tro Bro Leon the trophy is a pig. I think that's just for local Brittany riders, actually, but still, a live pig... If you can think of any other good cycling trophies, let us know @cyclingnewsfeed

New fastest time. It's Alex Dowsett and he posts 18:22 - five seconds quicker than his teammate Brandle - to move into the hotseat. 

Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates) gets underway. He was a three-time U23 world champ but this is his first Grand Tour so a 21st day of racing is uncharted territory. Straight after Bjerg we have another contender in Hour Record holder Victor Campenaerts (NTT). 

Miles Scotson (Groupama-FDJ) blows Dowsett out of the water, breaking the 18-minute mark to set a new benchmark of 17:57. 

Adam Hansen (Lotto Soudal) crosses the line to finish his TT, finish his 29th Grand Tour, and finish his career. The 39-year-old Australian is retiring from professional cycling after nearly 20 years, and moving into triathlon, as he told us the other week.

Kamil Gradek (CCC) and Maciej Bodnar (Bora-Hansgrohe) have posted strong times but still above 18 minutes. 

Just had this in from Jim Mahaffey via email, who tells us: "The best trophy in cycling is the Indiana University's Little 500 Championship." 

Yeah that is good to be fair.

little 500

(Image credit: Jim Mahaffey)

Jim also sent us this shot of the finish of the 1982 edition of the Little 500, which seems appropriate given the battle we have in store today at the Giro d'Italia, which I've just remembered I'm supposed to be live-blogging....

Little 500

(Image credit: Jim Mahaffey)

New fastest time

Victor Campenaerts (NTT Pro Cycling) stops the clock on 17:48, nine seconds quicker than Scotson. 

Size isn't everything...

Peter Sagan finishes his first Giro, with a time that's not going to upset the top of the leaderboard. He didn't win the maglia ciclamino - that's going to Arnaud Démare - but he did win a stage, and, having not won a race of any sort for more than a year, it very much steadied the ship in what was seen as a career wobble, if not outright decline.

18 minutes flat for Josef Cerny (CCC Team) - that's third fastest so far. 

Chad Haga (Sunweb) is underway. He won the final TT last year, although he was able to rest up in the preceding days, a luxury he hasn't enjoyed this year with his teammates in the GC fight. The American should still post a strong time but, if nothing else, will be able to provide useful feedback for Hindley. 

Jan Tratnik (Bahrain McLaren) is underway - already a stage winner on this Giro and strong in short TTs. Ganna is next up...

World champion Filippo Ganna rolls down the ramp in the rainbow skinsuit and aboard his gold Pinarello. Is he on his way to his fourth stage win, and Ineos' seventh? He's won both TTs at this Giro so far and this one arguably suits him even better. It's almost impossible to look past him. 

Ganna's bike really is horrible (sorry) but his form on it is so fluid. He cuts an aggressive line through the early roundabout and looks fully up for this today. 

"I think I have around 16 minutes left in the hot seat," Campenaerts tells Eurosport as he watches Ganna in the opening kilometre. 

Here's a first shot of Ganna on the early part of the course

Filippo Ganna

(Image credit: Bettini)

Haga stops the clock on 18 minutes flat. That's the fourth fastest so far.

Ganna comes to the intermediate checkpoint after 10.3km....

11:30!! 

Just the 20 seconds quicker than Campenaerts...

Ganna comes into the streets of central Milan and this very much looks like a victory procession. 3km to go. 

Campenaerts takes his hat off to Ganna in the hotseat. He knows what's happening. 1km to go for the Italian. 

He rounds the final couple of bends on the cobbles and catches yet another rider as he hits the line. 

17:16 for Ganna

That's a full 32 seconds faster than Campenaerts and we all saw it coming but it's still a staggering performance. We'll have to wait until around 16:30 for it to be confirmed but we're surely looking at our stage winner there. 

Now Rohan Dennis (Ineos Grenadiers) starts his ride. He has been simply sensational in the final week of this Giro, and if Geoghegan Hart wins this then he has a big thanks to give to the Australian, who blew the race apart on the Stelvio and at Sestriere. 

It's hard to see him beating Ganna, and he has gone deep in recent days, but then again form is form and he clearly now has it. 

Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) gets his ride underway in the blue skinsuit. He's the king of the mountains and he'll be the first Portuguese rider to win a jersey at the Giro. 

Geoghegan Hart fully recognised Dennis' contribution in Sestriere yesterday. You can read the young Brit's thoughts on that win and this date with destiny in Barry Ryan's piece below.

Geoghegan Hart: Rohan Dennis blew the Giro d’Italia up on the Stelvio and again today

Dennis hits the checkpoint and he's 22 seconds down on Ganna. He's not going to win this, but he's currently on par with the riders on the virtual podium. 

Dennis comes to the line and Ganna's time ticks by. He stops the clock on 17:48, a fraction of a second slower than Campenaerts, so he's in third as it stands. 

Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) gets going. He had a really good TT on stage 14 and was up there on GC for a while but faded. Still, it's hist first Grand Tour and I don't even think he originally planned on doing one in his first year as a pro, so just to get to Milan is all good for the future. 

Domenico Pozzovivo (NTT Pro Cycling) sets off, and that means we're on the brink of our final 10 riders - the top 10 overall. The stage win seems to be settled, but the title certainly isn't.

Head-to-head

Geoghegan Hart and Hindley have ridden 9 time trials against each other, with Geoghegan Hart the stronger on seven of those occasions. Full breakdown in our preview piece. 

Down to the wire: Hindley and Geoghegan Hart go head-to-head to decide the Giro d’Italia

One of Hindley's two 'victories' came on stage 1 here, but then Geoghegan Hart has said he wasn't going full gas given he came to this Giro to support Thomas. Geoghegan Hart is, on paper, undoubtedly the stronger and more natural time triallist. He starts as the favourite, but then it's the final stage of a Grand Tour, these guys are both youngsters, they've never been in this position before, and there are just so many variables that you can't have this as a foregone conclusion. Cast your minds back a short while to the final day of the Tour de France, where everyone predicted a victory procession for Roglic...

Hermann Pernsteiner (Bahrain McLaren) is underway, and so now is Fausto Masnada (Deceuninck-QuickStep), who has had a great race supporting Almeida. 

Patrick Konrad sets off now after a solid three-week display. I seem to remember my colleague Ed Pickering mentioning him as a dark horse. His Bora teammate Rafal Majka plummeted out of the top 10 yesterday, but the pair apparently were riding their own races. 

Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) sets off now. He hasn't had his usual impact and has declared a generational shift in the sport. 

A reminder of the GC pre-stage

1 Jai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb 85:22:07

2 Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers

3 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:01:32

4 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain McLaren 0:02:51

5 Joao Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:03:14

6 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:06:32

7 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:07:46

8 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:08:05

9 Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:09:24

10 Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain McLaren 0:10:08

Another strong TT from McNulty. The American clocks 18:02 to go seventh fastest so far. 

Fuglsang is next off, and he looks pretty safe in sixth place. 

Almeida is off now. What a race he's had, with two weeks spent in pink. The dream ended, and the podium is off the cards as well, but he could yet move up into fourth place.

Pozzovivo stops the clock on 18:26. Can't quite believe what I'm seeing there - that's 16th fastest so far for the diminutive Italian. 

Pello Bilbao now - a rider who gets better and better. He needs to keep Almeida at 23 seconds to hang on to fourth place. 

Geoghegan Hart and Hindley have finished their warm-ups and a currently sat a few metres apart in the start tent. 

And now Hindley walks over to offer his rival a fist bump. The pair are friends off the bike and there seems to be a great deal of respect.

"I think he's shown that he can time trial well, but it's also the last day of a three-week race and you never what's going to happen. You never know how your legs are going to feel when you wake up tomorrow morning. That's the beauty of the Giro d'Italia, it's such a hard race. But for me personally, I'll die in that time trial to try to keep this jersey."

Hindley: I'm going to do the best time trial of my life tomorrow

Kelderman sets off now. So close but yet so far. He's a better time triallist than Goeghegan Hart or Hindley but he's too far back now after two disappointing days in the mountains this past week. 

Here we go then!

Geoghegan Hart, in white as the best young rider (on loan from Hindley) rolls down the ramp. 

With Geoghegan Hart in white, both he and Hindley are wearing race-issue skinsuits rather than the custom team suits they normally use. 

A solid start from Geoghegan Hart, who has a couple of spritely surges out of the saddle around the early corners before settling into the bars on the open road.

Here goes Hindley!

The pink jersey rolls down the ramp. 15.7km of effort and the Giro d'Italia will be decided. I can only imagine how those two are feeling right now. 

18:43 for Nibali, but all eyes are on the top two now

Geoghegan Hart safely negotiates the early roundabouts and gets back up to speed. 

Hindley cuts a more aggressive line through them. He must know he has to take every risk through the technical sections, as Geoghegahn Hart is surely more powerful on the straight flats. 

Almeida is riding into fourth. He's already 30 seconds up on Bilbao at the checkpoint. 

Live timings suggest Hindley and Geoghegan Hart are neck and neck after the opening couple of kilometres. 

Almeida comes to the finish and ends his breakthrough Giro on a high note. 17:57 for him - that's fourth fastest so far and it'll move him up to fourth overall.

Kelderman is on a solid if unspectacular ride. He's locked in third place really. 

Geoghegan Hart has the advantage

Live timings have him 10 seconds to the good at the half-way point.

Geoghegan Hart is pushing a bigger gear here and looks to be well on top of it. 

Geoghegan Hart has to check slightly through a corner with 6km to go but he's 13 seconds up now. 

Intermediate checkpoint

This will give us a proper idea. 12:06

18:32 for Bilbao. A good ride but he slips to fifth. 

Geoghegan Hart enters the final 4.5km. He's said to be up on Hindley by 18 seconds now but we wait for Hindley to reach the checkpoint.

Geoghegan Hart hits the streets of central Milan, where some crowds are out to watch. He just needs to hold on here. 

Kelderman comes to the finish. 18:10 to seal a Grand Tour podium.

Just Hindley and Geoghegan Hart left out on the road!!

Hindley his the checkpoint on 12:28. That's 22 seconds down.

Geoghegan Hart is in the final 2km and the lead edges out to 24 seconds. It has been growing slowly but surely and he just has to see this to the line now.

A brilliant ride, this, from Geoghegan Hart, under so much pressure. But he's so mature that you sense pressure doesn't exist for him.

Geoghegan Hart safely negotiates the final tight bends. No mistakes, and he’s coming home now.

All the way to the line!

18:14 for Geoghegan Hart. 

That’s it. Job done. It’s out of his hands now. Hindley is still out there but it would take an astonishing turnaround. 

Hindley is into the final 2km and looks to be suffering now. He's moving about on the bike, fighting to keep on top of his gear. 

Hindley hits the final kilometre. He needs to do it in one minute. The Giro is Geoghegan Hart's

Geoghegan Hart punches the air. He knows.

The race winning time ticks by and Hindley is still going. He gives it everything though. 

Hindley finishes on 18:53. That's 39 seconds down. 

Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) wins stage 21 of the Giro d'Italia

Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers) wins the 2020 Giro d'Italia

So, the head-to-head record didn't lie and Geoghegan Hart made his superior TT pedigree count to win his first Grand Tour. It's the 11th for Ineos, and their second at the Giro after Chris Froome's victory two years ago. 

MILANO ITALY OCTOBER 25 Tao Geoghegan Hart of The United Kingdom and Team INEOS Grenadiers White Best Young Rider Jersey during the 103rd Giro dItalia 2020 Stage 21 a 157km Individual time trial from Cernusco sul Naviglio to Milano ITT girodiitalia Giro on October 25 2020 in Milano Italy Photo by Stuart FranklinGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Let's hear from the Giro champion

"Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine this would be possible when we started out in Sicily almost a month ago,” says Tao Geoghegan Hart. "All my career I’ve dreamt of trying to be top 10, top 5 maybe, in a race of this stature, so this is something completely and utterly different to that and I think it’s going to take a long time for this to sink in."

Jai Hindley

(Image credit: Barry Ryan)

Here's our report page

Tao Geoghegan Hart wins 2020 Giro d'Italia

MILANO ITALY OCTOBER 25 Podium Tao Geoghegan Hart of The United Kingdom and Team INEOS Grenadiers Pink Leader Jersey Celebration Trophy Duomo di Milano Milan Cathedral during the 103rd Giro dItalia 2020 Stage 21 a 157km Individual time trial from Cernusco sul Naviglio to Milano ITT girodiitalia Giro on October 25 2020 in Milano Italy Photo by Stuart FranklinGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Full report, results, photos

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