Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) secured victory at the 99th Giro d’Italia after safely navigating the final stage to Turin.
Giant-Alpecin’s Nikias Arndt was awarded the stage 21 victory, after provisional winner Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) was deemed to have performed an irregular sprint.
The general classification on the final stage was neutralised after wet conditions on the tricky finishing circuit in the city caused several crashes, with three riders forced to abandon so close to the end of the race.
That meant all Nibali had to do was cross the line, and left the sprinters to it as he and third placed Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) rolled in a minute or so behind the race for the line.
Esteban Chaves rolled in later amongst his Orica-GreenEdge teammates in the safe knowledge he had secured his second place overall.
The 2016 Giro proved to be another exciting edition despite a relatively low key line-up. The maglia rosa changed hands no fewer than nine times over the course of the three weeks of racing, with eight riders wearing pink starting with Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) in the opening Apeldoorn time trial in the Netherlands, to Nibali at the very end.
The third week proved to be the key moments in the GC battle, with Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) looking a sure-thing coming into the final two mountain days on stages 19 and 20.
That moment won Nibali is second Giro d’Italia after his 2013 victory, and his fourth Grand Tour overall career win.
Bob Jungels, one of three Etixx-Quick Step riders to enjoy a stint in the pink jersey along with Gianluca Brambilla and Marcel Kittel, secured the young rider classification after finishing sixth overall, 8-10 down on the winner. It’s Jungels’ first Grand Tour top-10, showing his prospects for future GC campaigns.
The red points jersey went to Giacomo Nizzolo for a second year despite the Italian having never won a stage in his home race, while Mikel Nieve (Team Sky) took him the blue jersey of the mountains classification after his breakaway efforts in the final week.
Along with Nieve’s stage win, it’s but a consolation prize for Team Sky after their leader Mikel Landa was forced to abandon on the return from the second rest day with illness, leaving the British squad hunting for stage victories.
The top three of Nibali, Chaves and Valverde also grabbed a stage win each to add to their podium successes.
The 2017 Giro d’Italia route has yet to be confirmed, but will not leave Italy’s borders as organiser RCS Sport celebrates the prestigious race in it’s centenary year.
Vincenzo Nibali could be back to defend his title in the extra special edition of the Giro d’Italia in 2017 with his probable new Bahrain Cycling Team.
Final overall classification
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, at 86-32-49
2. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge, at 52s
3. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, at 1-17
4. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo, at 1-50
5. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff, at 4-37
6. Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx-Quick Step, at 8-31
7. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale, at 11-47
8. Andrey Amador (CRC) Movistar, at 13-21
9. Darmin Atapuma (Col) BMC, at 14-09
10. Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr), at 16-20