Britain's Tao Geoghegan Hart rides past the gothic cathedral after completing the final stage of the Giro d'Italia cycling race, a 15.7 kilometers (9.756 miles) individual time trial from Cernusco sul Naviglio to Milan, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Geoghegan Hart Beats Hindley To Giro Title By 39 Seconds

October 25, 2020 - 9:02 am

MILAN (AP) — In one of the most exciting final stages of a Grand Tour, British rider Tao Geoghegan Hart won the Giro d’Italia on Sunday, edging out Australian Jai Hindley by just 39 seconds.

That was all that separated them after nearly 3,500 kilometers (2,175 miles) of racing.

For the first time in Grand Tour history, the first- and second-place riders had the same overall time on the eve of the last stage, and the 25-year-old Geoghegan Hart proved to be quicker than Hindley in a tense individual time trial in Milan.

Neither of them had ever finished higher than 20th in a Grand Tour.

Wilco Kelderman was third overall — 1:29 behind Geoghegan Hart — at the end of the three-week race, which appears to have finished just in time with rising numbers of coronavirus cases in Italy and new restrictions announced in the country.

Geoghegan Hart's Ineos Grenadiers teammate Filippo Ganna was fastest on Sunday, with a time of 17 minutes, 16 seconds on the mostly flat 15.7-kilometer (10-mile) route, which finished next to Milan’s iconic cathedral.

Ganna was heavily favored to win the final stage after the Italian dominated the two previous time trials in this year’s Giro. Ganna was 32 seconds faster than Victor Campenaerts and Rohan Dennis for his fourth win in 21 stages.

The Giro was rescheduled from its usual May slot because of the coronavirus pandemic. Race director Mauro Vegni said from the start that the race’s greatest achievement would be reaching the finish in Milan.

The Lombardy region, of which Milan is the capital, introduced a nightly curfew last week because of a rising number of COVID-19 cases in an area already hard hit during the first wave of infections earlier this year.

Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte announced further restrictions in the entire country on Sunday after the last two days saw daily new caseloads creep close to 20,000.

There was rigorous testing at the Giro and overall contenders Simon Yates and Steven Kruijswijk had to withdraw from the race after testing positive. Yates’ Mitchelton-Scott team and Kruijswijk’s Jumbo-Visma team subsequently withdrew their entire squads following a series of positive results from the first rest day.

Australian standout Michael Matthews and Colombian sprinter Fernando Gaviria also had to withdraw after contracting the virus.

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