Giro d’Italia 2019
The final stage was won in scintillating fashion by Team Sunweb’s Chad Haga.
The Ecuadorian rider didn’t go into the race as the favourite – he was not even expected to lead Movistar – but he barely put a pedal-stroke wrong as he built a large lead in the general classification going into the final week. He ably survived attacks from his rivals over the last days of the mountains, even managing to skip clear and take more time on stage 17, to become a Grand Tour champion for the first time in his career.
Carapaz becomes the first ever Ecuadorian winner of a Grand Tour adding the Giro title to the one other stage race he has won, the 2.1 Vuelta Asturias.
Haga talked before the stage about this being a potential opportunity for redemption for his Sunweb squad, after they lost their big GC hopeful, Tom Dumoulin, in the opening week to a crash. Since then, Sunweb has struggled to leave an impression on the 2019 race – until today.
Haga set his winning time of 22:07 early on in the stage, rolling off the start ramp 38th, 4:14:58 down in 105th place at the beginning of the day. The American overturned the previous best time set by Tom Bohli, but watched on fearfully as one of the world’s biggest TT stars, Primoz Roglic(Jumbo Visma) hit the course.
In the end though, Roglic paid dearly for his exertions in the preceding days in the Dolomites, only just making it into the top ten on the stage. Haga was visibly relieved as the Slovenian crossed the line. Carapaz was never likely to trouble Haga for the stage win and not even a superb ride from Vincenzo Nibali was enough to unseat him from the hotseat.
While he would have loved to seal the final stage win of the Giro after two imperious TT performances earlier in the race, Roglic achieved his main goal of the day – which was to overtake Mikel Landa and jump back into the podium GC spots. Roglic needed to beat Landa’s time by 23 seconds to secure third place, eventually finishing 31 seconds faster than the Basque.
The final podium sees Carapaz win, 1’05” ahead of Nibali who rode a blistering TT to cut the Ecuadorian’s lead in half. Roglic finishes third 2’30” down on the maglia rosa. Landa, who lost a cumulative 5’07” in time trials this year will probably look to spend a bit more time with his time trial bike before he next takes a tilt at a GC ride.