By Jonny Long
Tao Geoghegan Hart has won the Giro d'Italia 2020 after beating Jai Hindley by 39 seconds in the stage 21 time trial in Milan.
The Ineos rider was the second to last to leave the start ramp, trailing race leader Hindley by fractions of a second in the GC, the Australian then setting off in his pink skinsuit.
Geoghegan Hart didn't look in any trouble as he navigated the 15.7km course, Ineos having already likely tied up a seventh stage win as Filippo Ganna set the best time of the day with 17-16, more than half a minute faster than second-place Victor Campenaerts (NTT).
With Sunweb's Hindley at 9.6km to go and Geoghegan Hart 3km further up the road, the Ineos rider was 11 seconds up on his Australian rival.
Geoghegan Hart then came through the official time check at 5.4km remaining with a time of 12-07, the 12th best time and 37 seconds down on Ganna.
As Hindley then made his way towards the time check, the TV graphic showed the gap between the pair was out to 18 seconds, Geoghegan Hart gaining with every pedal stroke.
Hindley was 22 seconds down on Geoghegan Hart at the time check, , meaning as long as the Brit could stay upright over the last couple kilometres, the maglia rosa was his.
Into the final kilometre, Geoghegan Hart's advantage was up to 25 seconds and he crossed the line with the 13th best time of 18-14 before Hindley finished 39 seconds down, in 18-53, Tao Geoghegan Hart having sealed the overall victory at the 2020 Giro d'Italia.
How it happened
British rider Jon Dibben was the first rider off the start ramp for Lotto-Soudal, needing to make up more than two and a half minutes to move off the last place on GC and leapfrog Israel Start-Up Nation's Guy Sagiv, which he didn't manage as he finished the pan-flat 15.7km course in 19-29.
His compatriot Alex Dowsett (Israel Start-Up Nation) then posted an early benchmark of 18-22 before Groupama-FDJ's Miles Scotson flew across the finish line with the first sub-18 minute time of 17-57. Adam Hansen (Lotto-Soudal) soon also crossed the line, bringing his nearly 20-year career to an end as he finished his 29th Grand Tour.
Hour record holder Victor Campenaerts (NTT) was the next man into the hot seat, going nine seconds faster than Scotson with a time of 17-48, stage winner Josef Cerny (CCC) then coming through in 18 minutes flat, the provisionally third fastest time.
Next, it was time for world time trial champion and the winner of the two races against the clock so far at this year's Giro to roll off the start ramp. Filippo Ganna was underway with the chance of taking a seventh stage win for Ineos, a third of all those on offer over three weeks of racing in Italy.
Chad Haga (Sunweb) who won the final time trial in last year's edition, also came in at exactly 18 minutes as Ganna looked unstoppable out on the course, 20 seconds quicker than Campenaerts at the first time check.
As the Italian sped towards the finish line, Campenaerts literally took his hat off to Ganna in the hot seat, the Ineos man catching another rider on the line as he went 32 seconds than Campenaerts with a time of 17-16.
This time was unlikely to be beaten and the man who came closest last time, Rohan Dennis, was not expected to match his previous effort after spending energy teeing up Geoghegan Hart in the mountains this past week.
Soon, the final 10 riders on GC were rolling out of the start hut, with the likes of Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana).
Then it was Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren) and João Almeida (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) set to fight it out for fourth place, the Spaniard having a slender 23-second lead to protect.
Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) came across the line in 18-02, another strong TT performance from the young rider.
As Hindley and Geoghegan Hart finished their warm-ups, the former offered the latter a fist bump before their decisive rides. Then Geoghegan Hart was off, safely going through the first few corners as he settled into his ride, bobbling around in his saddle as he powered along.
As Hindley set off Almeida had already overhauled Bilbao by the intermediate time check, meaning the Portuguese rider would be moving up to fourth place, which was also his final position on stage 21, with a time of 17-57.
Kelderman had also soon locked in his podium spot with a decent ride, as he finished in 18-10.
Then it was just Geoghegan Hart and Hindley out on the road, with the Brit going 22 seconds faster at the time check and only extending his lead to cross the line 39 seconds quicker than Hindley, sealing the overall victory.
Giro d'Italia 2020, stage 21: Cernusco sul Naviglio to Milan (15.7km ITT)
1. Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers, in 17-16
2. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) NTT, at 32 seconds
3. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers, at same time
4. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, at 41s
5. Miles Scotson (Aus) Groupama-FDJ, at same time
6. Josef Cerny (Cze) CCC, at 44s
7. Chad Haga (USA) Sunweb, at same time
8. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates, at 46s
9. Kamil Gradek (Pol) CCC, at 47s
10. Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain-McLaren, at same time
13. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 58s
38. Jai Hindley (Aus) Sunweb, at 1-37
Final general classification
1. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, in 85-40-21
2. Jai Hindley (Aus) Sunweb, at 39 seconds
3. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb, at 1-29
4. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, at 2-57
5. Pello Bilbao (Esp) Bahrain-McLaren, at 3-09
6. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana, at 7-02
7. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, at 8-15
8. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 8-42
9. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, at 9-57
10. Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain-McLaren, at 11-05
Final points classification
1. Arnaud Démare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, 233 points
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe, 184 points
3. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, 108 points
Final mountains classification
1. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) EF Pro Cycling, 234 points
2. Tao Geoghegan-Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, 157 points
3. Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto-Soudal, 122 points
Final youth classification
1. Tao Geoghegan-Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, in 85-40-21
2. Jai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb, at 39 seconds
3. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, at 2-57
Final team classification
1. Ineos Grenadiers, in 257-15-58
2. Deceuninck – Quick-Step, at 22-32
3. Team Sunweb, at 28-50
Final combativity classification
1. Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto-Soudal, 55 points
2. Simon Pellaud (Sui) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, 52 points
3. Tao Geoghegan-Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, 45 points
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