The 2019 Giro d’Italia ends on a feel-good note, with its final stage being won by Sunweb’s Chad Haga who was in the ITT hot seat for a looooooong time before he could celebrate his first GT victory – a very popular win with fans. Richard Carapaz (Movistar) made history as the first Ecuadorian Grand Tour champion as he sacrificed only 49sec to second-placed Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida). Mikel Landa lost his place on the podium by a heartbreaking 8sec, which flipped back to Primoz Roglic.
Rider of the RaceEmbed from Getty Images
Here at VeloVoices Towers, we are unabashed and unapologetic in our delight in those unexpected wins for guys who normally spend their racing days in the service of others. Chad Haga is one of those guys. A very popular presence on Twitter with his Oversimplified Stage Tweets, he pipped hour record holder Victor Campenaerts and Victor’s Lotto Soudal teammate Thomas De Gendt by 4 and 6 seconds respectively.
I expect that Team Sunweb will be partying well into the night, although it might be an intimate affair, as the team that came in with such high hopes for another Giro title for star rider Tom Dumoulin, finished the Giro with only four, Tom D not being one of them. So, in the spirit of oversimplification: here it is:
“Good guy rides faster than all others to win final Giro stage. Fans overjoyed.”
The podiumEmbed from Getty Images
Going into this Giro d’Italia, it was all about Primoz Roglic, Tom Dumoulin and Simon. Philip. Yates. Vincenzo Nibali was talked about, mainly from the ‘he’s wily, you better watch him’ perspective but not with any real conviction that he would be on the podium. And certainly if a rider from Movistar was mentioned among the ones to watch, it was Mikel Landa. Yet it was Landa’s teammate, who calmly went about the business of putting together a Grand Tour winning ride by not hesitating to take his chances when he felt he could gain time on his rivals, staying cool when he didn’t need to expend energy unnecessarily, and using his strong and loyal Movistar team to his advantage. Richard Carapaz is indeed a worthy winner.Embed from Getty Images
Whereas Carapaz rode with quiet strength and calm, Vincenzo Nibali rode with spit and vinegar, throwing some trash talk at Yates and Roglic along the way. But one thing that’s always true about the Italian rider, he sure can animate a race when he’s of a mind to. He rides to win, rides to make sure he has no regrets once the confetti has been swept up. For me, he was the rider that really lit up this Giro, even if, in the end, he didn’t have enough touchpaper to take his third Giro title.Embed from Getty Images
Primoz Roglic came into this Giro as red-hot favourite (no matter what Simon. Philip. Yates had to say about it) and for the first two weeks, it looked like that prediction would come true. An enigmatic rider, he seemed fairly nonchalant about his time in pink and certainly didn’t allow himself to get rattled by Nibali’s verbal fireworks. But, as he said in his interview today, from Stage 14 onwards, he was battling fatigued legs and the legs don’t lie. The fact that for all their efforts, the team that Jumbo-Visma fielded to support him just weren’t up to the Grand Tour task, leaving him isolated in the mountains, was key. With Movistar doing all the right things at all the right times and Bahrain driving the Pain Train™ on those categorised climbs, a weak, inexperienced Jumbo-Visma team weren’t going to cut it. Will be interesting to see what they take away from this Giro for Roglic’s next GT campaign.
It might not have been the most exhilarating Giro to watch or one with the most cliffhangers, but there were a lot of surprises, including a lot of first time Grand Tour stage winners. There were a few big teams who came away with absolutely nothing – the team formerly known as Sky being one of them, QuickStep being another – but there were also some heartwarming wins – Damiano Cima‘s by-a-hair breakaway win, Esteban Chaves‘ summit finish win after so many setbacks and, of course, Chad Haga‘s win today. It was a good way to spend three weeks, I reckon. (And keep an eye out for our Giro A to Z … I’m putting it together in the next day or so …)
By the way, am I the only one who has been singing ‘My Verona’ all day today?
Stage Results – Top 5
1 Chad Haga (Team Sunweb) 22:07
2 Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal) +0:04
3 Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) +0:06
4 Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Merida) +0:09
5 Tobias Ludvigsson (Groupama-FDJ) +0:11
Final GC classification – Top 10
1 Richard Carapaz (Movistar Team) at 90:01:47
2 Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) at 01:05
3 Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) at 02:30
4 Mikel Landa (Movistar Team) at 02:38
5 Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) at 05:43
6 Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) at 06:56
7 Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) at 07:26
8 Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) at 07:49
9 Pavel Sivakov (Team Ineos) at 08:56
10 Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) at 12:14
Maglia rosa – Richard Carapaz (Movistar)
Maglia blanca – Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana)
Maglia azzurra – Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo)
Maglia ciclamino – Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe)
For full stage review and race results, go to cyclingnews.