Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) sealed overall victory at the Giro d’Italia on Sunday, safely negotiating the final time trial, which was won by Matteo Sobrero (BikeExchange-Jayco).
Hindley, who lost the pink jersey in the Giro’s final-day TT two years ago, conceded seven seconds to Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) on the 17.4km course in Verona - well within the 1:25 margin for error he’d carved out on the Marmolada the previous afternoon.
The 26-year-old punched the air as he rode into Verona’s famous amphitheatre to win his first Grand Tour, the first for his team, Bora-Hansgrohe, and the first Giro for his country, Australia.
Carapaz did all he could. The Ecuadorian showed that his wobble on the Marmolada was a blip - albeit a costly one - as he produced a strong ride to place 10th on the stage and dismiss any feint possibility of losing his runner-up spot to Landa. Hindley didn't exactly need to, but he followed suit with arguably the strongest time trial of his career, placing 15th.
He tops the final general classification with an advantage of 1:18 over Carapaz, who comes away with the fourth Grand Tour podium of his career, followed at 1:06 by Landa, who takes to the podium for the first time in seven years.
“It’s really incredible,” Hindley said. “I’m really proud to be Australian, and I’m happy to take this one home.”
The Giro belonged to Hindley but the stage honours belonged to Sobrero, who destroyed the competition to claim the first Grand Tour victory of his young career.
The 25-year-old, whose only other career victory earned him the Italian national champion’s skinsuit he wore in Verona, completed the 17.4km course, which featured a 4.5km mid-way climb, in 22:24. Only two riders were able to get within a minute of him, with Thymen Arensman (DSM) placing second on the stage at 22 seconds and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) taking the final podium spot at 39 seconds.
“It’s an amazing feeling. I put the finish line on the top of the climb, said I’d give everything until there, then descend and whatever is left I give at the end,” said Sobrero, who bookended the Giro with time trial wins for BikeExchange-Jayco, Simon Yates having claimed the opener in Budapest.
With Hindley holding of Carapaz and Carapaz holding off Landa, there was no change at the top of the standings and there was little change elsewhere in the top 10, with such significant gaps at the start of the day. The one mover was Hugh Carthy (EF Education-EasyPost), who put in a strong rider to place 11th on the day and leapfrog Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) into ninth overall.
How it unfolded
Roger Kluge (Lotto Soudal) was the first rider down the ramp on the outskirts of Verona at 14:00 local time, with race leader Hindley the final rider off at 16:48.
The 17.4km course made its way through the city before heading out north to tackle the Torricella Massimiliana climb, a 4.5km category 4 ascent with an average gradient of 5%. A 5km descent followed before the flat final few kilometres into the striking Verona amphitheatre. The intermediate checkpoint was positioned at the top of the climb at kilometre 9.5.
There were some strong time triallists among the early starters but it took an hour or so for a really strong time to be posted to the leaderboard. Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost) clocked 23:42 to beat Michael Hepburn (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) by six seconds and Edoardo Affini (Jumbo-Visma) by 12 seconds. Mauro Schmid (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) then rode a negative split and a lightning descent to take the lead by 17 seconds.
However, despite this flurry, Sobrero was just starting and was about to blow all those times out of the water. He remained largely seated and in the aero bars on the climb, hitting the top on 14:23 before tearing down the descent in similarly aerodynamic fashion. He flew through the final kilometre to stop the clock on 22:24, a full 1:17 quicker than anyone else.
That advantage would soon be slimmed as Van der Poel hit the course, but the Dutchman couldn’t seriously challenge the lead. He passed his minute-man on the climb but was still 33 seconds down at the top, and was unable to make any of that up on the descent, crossing the line 39 seconds down, albeit in second place and 37 seconds up on Schmid in third.
Ben Tulett (Ineos Grenadiers) then produced another shift on the lower steps of the provisional podium, bumping Schmid off third place with a time 1:11 slower than Sobrero in what was a strong end to a hugely promising Grand Tour debut. Tulett was himself then bumped off by Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), the Dutchman finishing strongly despite a more disappointing Giro.
As the top 20 on GC set off, there was a storming ride from Arensman, who went into second place 22 seconds down on Sobrero and 17 seconds up on Van der Poel.
Hugh Carthy (EF Education-EasyPost) put in a very strong showing to place provisional 10th and move up to ninth overall ahead of Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo), who was more than a minute slower. The gaps were already too big to create any drama or movement on the rest of the leaderboard, and attentions turns to the top two.
Hindley reached the foot of the climb three seconds slower than Carapaz - down, but by nowhere near enough to endanger his yellow jersey. Carapaz climbed to the checkpoint in 15:20, 10th fastest and clearly still with strength left despite his troubles the previous afternoon. Hindley sprang out of the saddle at various points on the climb, and hauled himself to the top just one second down on Carapaz.
Carapaz tackled the descent and gave everything through swaying shoulders on the run-in to the line, crossing the line in 10th place on the day with 23:48. Only Hindley remained on course, and he avoided incident and accident on the descent. He had plenty of time to play with but he gave everything all the way to the line and beyond before a smile broke across his face as he emerged into the amphitheatre.
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