• Overall race winner Team Ineos rider Great Britain's Tao Geoghegan Hart wearing the leader's pink jersey holds the "Never ending trophy". (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS Grenadiers) went into the final stage on equal time with his Australian adversary Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb), but performed well in the final time trial to take the overall victory at the Giro d'Italia.
By
SBS Cycling Central

26 Oct 2020 - 3:32 AM 

It all came down to an all-out drag race on the flat 15.7 kilometre time trial course around Milan between Australian Hindley and Geoghegan Hart for the overall win at the 2020 Giro d'Italia.

Geoghegan Hart went into the stage as the more favoured rider against the clock, but the final time trial at Grand Tours has a tendency to throw up surprises.

Geoghegan Hart started second to last and went out setting a fast pace, passing throught the intermediate checkpoint with the 12th fastest time on flat course that suited the pure power riders better than the climbers. 

Hindley was shown falling behind according to the GPS tracking on the motorbikes following the top two riders. That was confirmed at the intermediate checkpoint as Hindley was 33rd overall through that point, but most crucially 22 seconds behind his rival for the overall win.

Geoghegan Hart negotiated the course well, and put in more and more time into Hindley as he neared the finish, eventually crossing the line and joining team and family to await Hindley's arrival. 

The Western Australian young climber was unable to pull off an extraordinary comeback from the midpoint and ended up finishing 39 seconds behind the British rider.

“Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine this would be possible when we started out in Sicily almost a month ago,” said Geoghegan Hart. “All my career I’ve dreamt of trying to be top 10, top 5 maybe, 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.”

“My DS said I was 10 seconds up, and he kept giving me a few seconds. I only knew that we must have been in a good situation when he was screaming at me to not take any risks in the last kilometre. It’s not often that your DS tells you to slow down in a 15km TT. I also knew the work was done up until that point, so it’s incredible to arrive here in the Duomo in the centre of Milan."

Geoghegan Hart celebrated in dramatic fashion with his team in Milan, clearly a popular winner within the squad that sometimes has a reputation for being technocratic and unemotional.

“I’m going to enjoy this," said Geoghegan Hart. "It’s incredible. I’m going to stay the same person and as professional as I believe I always have been,” he said. “I’m dedicated and wake up everyday looking forward to riding my bike, loving my life and being grateful for the honour and amazing position and privilege that I am in to be on this team and to be doing these beautiful race.”

Hindley finished second overall at the Giro, his best Grand Tour result and the highest overall finish by an Australian at the Giro d'Italia.

Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers) won the time trial with an impressive time of 17 minutes and 16 seconds, scorching through both the intermediate time check and the finish well ahead of his rivals as he confirmed himself once again as the fastest time triallist in the world with his third TT win and his fourth win of the 2020 Giro d'Italia. 

The result was topped off by Geoghegan Hart's performance, which meant that INEOS Grenadiers racked up an impressive seven stage wins, the youth classification, the team classification and the overall win. 

Former world time trial champion Rohan Dennis (INEOS Grenadiers) was third on the stage, with fellow Australian Miles Scotson (Groupama-FDJ) setting a very strong term early in proceedings which stood as the benchmark for a long time in the stage.