Photo Credit: Cor Vos
A fantastic third week has drawn to a close with a thrilling closing time trial in Milano on Sunday, with Jai Hindley starting the day in pink with the closest time differences in a GC battle that a Grand Tour has ever seen.
The final week lit up on stage 18 when Team Sunweb vaulted into first and second in the GC after an incredibly brutal and testing stage over the famous Stelvio pass. Team Sunweb had cards to play, with Jai instructed to follow Ineos to limit their advantage gained in the overall standings. Despite an infernal pace set by Ineos, Jai went on to ultimately take the stage win – his first professional victory – whilst Wilco paced his own climb to move into his very first pink jersey.
On the final day in the mountains at the Giro there were minimal time differences. Ineos piled on the pressure, looking to split the race up over the three ascents of Sestriere and take the pink jersey. The team had a simple plan, Jai and Wilco would follow for as long as possible and look to defend pink for the team.
On the second ascent of Sestriere a brutal pace was set. After following for as long as he could, Wilco had to let go of the wheels and passed the baton over to Jai to go all in for pink for the team. Following the plan, Jai stuck like glue to Geoghegan Hart, bagged some bonus seconds in the GC and a second place on the stage. With Jai and Geoghegan Hart finishing on exactly the same time, it was an intense wait to see who took over the race lead. Then it was confirmed – Jai would go into stage 21 in Milano in the Maglia Rosa with just milliseconds of an advantage.
With Jai leading the race for the team, Geoghegan Hart in second on exactly the same time and Wilco in a strong third place, it was set to be a thrilling finale to the Giro d’Italia. One thing was for sure; Jai and Wilco would do the TT of their lives to defend their positions in the GC.
Rounding out an incredible lap of Italy, Jai left nothing to spare, finishing the race in second place, at 39 seconds in the GC, a close margin after three intense weeks of racing. In a vision of pride, the team took another podium spot with Wilco in third place, after his hard-fought and never-say-die ride.
A double podium spot adds to an unbelievable year for Team Sunweb. Hard work and dedication across the board secured successes in the Classics with a strong block, three Tour de France stage wins and most combative rider, our stage success here at the Giro d’Italia, plus numerous other victories from February through to October, and hopefully we aren’t finished yet. More to come from our guys in Spain!
Congratulations to Tao Geoghegan Hart and Team Ineos on the win – it was a great battle and one that we are sure millions will never forget.