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by Dane Cash
October 26, 2020
Photography by Cor Vos
Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers) won the Giro d’Italia after going faster than Jai Hindley (Sunweb) in the final time trial on Sunday in Milan.
Geoghegan Hart entered stage 20 in second overall but on the same time as Hindley, with Hindley in pink after the fractions of a second from the two prior time trials were factored in. As the two best-placed riders on the day, they were the last two riders on the road, with Geoghegan Hart’s Ineos teammate Filippo Ganna well-established in the hot seat by the time Geoghegan Hart and then Hindley rolled out.
Real-time data showed Geoghegan Hart 15 seconds ahead of Hindley by the time he reached the intermediate time check and he kept it fast and smooth through the final kilometers to arrive 58 seconds down on Ganna. Hindley fought to the line but finished 39 seconds behind on his rival, ceding the pink jersey on the final stage of the race after spending one day in it.
When all was done and dusted, Geoghegan Hart ascended to the top step of the Giro d’Italia podium for his first career Grand Tour overall title. Hindley took runner-up honors with his Sunweb teammate Wilco Kelderman rounding out the podium. Ganna won the stage to make it a clean sweep of the Giro’s three TTs, with Victor Campenaerts in second on the day and Rohan Dennis in third.
“Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine this would be possible when we started out in Sicily almost a month ago,” Geoghegan Hart said. “All my career I’ve dreamed of trying to be top five or top 10 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.”
The time trial finale of the Giro d’Italia ran 15.7 kilometers from Cernusco sul Naviglio to Milan on flat roads that brought the specialists to the fore in the stage battle.
Mathias Brändle (Israel Start-Up Nation) spent time in the hot seat early, followed by Alex Dowsett (Israel Start-Up Nation) and then Miles Scotson (Groupama-FDJ), before Victor Campenaerts (NTT) went nine seconds faster with a time of 17:48. The world hour record holder would not spend long atop the provisional standings, however, as Ganna rolled off the ramp and proceeded to deliver a dominant performance, cruising through the intermediate 20 seconds faster than Campenaerts after only 10.3 kilometers. The world time trial champ picked up 12 more seconds on his way to the finish.
From there, no one would unseat Ganna, with Campenaerts’s time standing as second fastest and Dennis setting the third fastest mark a few fractions of a second slower than Campenaerts.
With Ganna’s stage win growing more assured as one starter after another came up short, all eyes turned to the GC battle. João Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), who spent much of the race in the lead, was the fourth fastest rider on the day, and his fantastic ride was strong enough to propel him up over Pello Bilbao into fourth overall in the final standings. Kelderman put in a solid ride 55 seconds slower than Ganna to at least secure his spot on the podium but it wouldn’t be enough to make any movement up the leaderboard.
As Geoghegan Hart and then Hindley started their efforts, live time gaps made it clear only a few minutes into Hindley’s ride that Geoghegan Hart was enjoying a better day out. The gap was never big, but it didn’t have to be, as only a single second was necessary to decide the race. In the end, Geoghegan Hart picked up 39 of them to seal the deal, taking his first ever pro stage race win and first Grand Tour title all in one fell swoop.
Top 10, stage 21
1 GANNA Filippo (INEOS Grenadiers) 17:16
2 CAMPENAERTS Victor (NTT Pro Cycling) 0:32
3 DENNIS Rohan (INEOS Grenadiers)
4 ALMEIDA João (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 0:41
5 SCOTSON Miles (Groupama – FDJ)
6 CERNY Josef (CCC Team) 0:44
7 HAGA Chad (Team Sunweb)
8 MCNULTY Brandon (UAE-Team Emirates) 0:46
9 GRADEK Kamil (CCC Team) 0:47
10 TRATNIK Jan (Bahrain – McLaren)
Top 10, GC
1 GEOGHEGAN HART Tao (INEOS Grenadiers) 85:40:21
2 HINDLEY Jai (Team Sunweb) 0:39
3 KELDERMAN Wilco (Team Sunweb) 1:29
4 ALMEIDA João (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 2:57
5 BILBAO Pello (Bahrain – McLaren) 3:09
6 FUGLSANG Jakob (Astana Pro Team) 7:02
7 NIBALI Vincenzo (Trek – Segafredo) 8:15
8 KONRAD Patrick (BORA – hansgrohe) 8:42
9 MASNADA Fausto (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 9:57
10 PERNSTEINER Hermann (Bahrain – McLaren) 11:05