By Jonny Long
Chad Haga was the unlikely winner of his first ever Grand Tour stage win with victory in the final stage 21 time trial of the Giro d'Italia 2019.
The American had gone under the radar of most people's pre-stage predictions, just as Richard Carapaz (Movistar) had done in pre-race discussions of who would win the general classification, with the Ecuadorian surviving the stage to take both his and his country's first ever Grand Tour victory.
Haga went four seconds quicker than stage favourite Victor Campenaerts, with Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) finishing a further two seconds down to take third place.
Richard Carapaz (Movistar) finished 1-12 behind Haga and 49 seconds behind Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida). This was enough to seal his first ever Grand Tour victory, with the Ecuadorian government providing free-to-air television coverage of stage 21 in the country to celebrate the momentous achievement.
Vincenzo Nibali consolidated second place in the overall, finishing 23 seconds down on Haga and three seconds ahead of Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma).
Roglič finished in 22-33, enough to knock Mikel Landa (Movistar) off the third spot of the GC podium, with the Spaniard finishing in 23-04. The gap of 31 seconds on the stage was only just not enough, with the gap between the two riders at the start of the day being 23 seconds.
How it happened
The 17km-long and technical time trial course features one fourth category climb, 4.5km in length with an average gradient of 4.6 per cent, finishing in the Arena di Verona.
Tom Bohli (UAE Team Emirates) set the early benchmark of 22-41, with stage favourite Victor Campenaerts heading out of the start hut a few minutes later, finishing the course with a new fastest time of 22-11, but only seven seconds faster than Josef Černy (CCC).
The next fastest time was set by American Chad Haga (Sunweb), who went four seconds faster than Campenaerts, with a time of 22-07, meaning the hour record holder goes home from the Giro empty handed despite three time trials.
Australian time trial champion Luke Durbridge (Mitchelton-Scott) then came through with the provisionally fifth fastest time of 22-34, before Tobias Ludvigsson finished 11 seconds down on Haga's time, in virtual third place.
Ludvigsson's provisional third place was soon taken away by Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) who posted a strong time of 22-13, six seconds behind Haga and two seconds behind Campenaerts.
Bob Jungels (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) then came through with a disappointing time of 22-51 that was unlikely to threaten the top ten on the stage.
Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) finished a minute down on Haga, in 24th place, to consolidate his top 10 spot on GC. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) finished four seconds slower to also firm up his fifth place on GC.
Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) rode a strong time trial, only 40 seconds down on Haga, where Miguel Ángel López (Astana) crossed the line with a deficit of 1-20, meaning the pair switched their sixth and seventh places in the overall.
Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) needed to take back 23 seconds from Mikel Landa (Movistar) to move back up to third spot on the podium. With 9km left to ride, Roglič was only 12 seconds up on Landa, but the Slovenian then started to take the gap out towards the end of the course, eventually finishing 31 seconds quicker to beat him by eight seconds on GC.
Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) put in a strong time trial performance, despite his second place in the overall basically already guaranteed, and finished in ninth place on the stage, 23 seconds behind Haga and three seconds quicker than Roglič.
Race leader Richard Carapaz (Movistar) was the last out of the start hut and the last across the finish line, finishing 1-12 down on Haga and 49 seconds slower than Nibali, which was enough to secure the pink jersey.
Speaking in his post-race interview, Richard Carapaz said: "This is the biggest moment of my sporting life and it's hard to explain it. I just suffered from start to finish in Verona."
Giro d'Italia 2019, stage 21: Verona to Verona - ITT (17km)
1. Chad Haga (USA) Team Sunweb, in 22-07
2. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Soudal, at 4 seconds
3. Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal, at 6s
4. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-Merida, at 9s
5. Josef Černy (Cze) CCC Team, at 11s
6. Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Groupama-FDJ, at same time
7. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team, at 17s
8. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, at 20s
9. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida, at 23s
10. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, at 26s
Final general classification after stage 21
1. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar, in 90-01-47
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida, at 1-05
3. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, at 2-30
4. Mikel Landa (Esp) Movistar, at 2-38
5. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo, at 5-43
6. Rafał Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 6-56
7. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana, at 7-26
8. Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott, at 7-49
9. Pavel Sivakov (Rus) Team Ineos, at 8-56
10. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin, at 12-14
Final points classification
1. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, 226 pts
2. Arnaud Dèmare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, 213 pts
3. Damiano Cima (Ita) Nippo Vini Fantini, 104 pts
Final climber classification
1. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, 267 pts
2. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, 115 pts
3. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-Merida, 84 pts
Final youth classification
1. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana, in 89-45-46
2. Pavel Sivakov (Rus) Ineos, at 1-53
3. Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Education First, at 8-39
Final team classification
1. Movistar Team (Esp), in 269-34-59
2. Astana (Kaz), at 17-53
3.Bahrain-Merida (Bah), at 19-23
Super combativity award
Fausto Masnada (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermic
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races. I'm 6'0", 26 years old, have a strong hairline and have an adequate amount of savings for someone my age. I'm very single at the minute so if you know anyone, hit me up.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab, reporting about students evacuating their bowels on nightclub dancefloors and consecrating their love on lecture hall floors. I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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