Jai Hindley became the first Australian to win the Giro d’Italia as the 26-year-old eased home on the final-stage time-trial.
Hindley, who had lost the 2020 race on the final-day time trial, had snatched the pink jersey and an 85-second lead from Richard Carapaz on Saturday.
Ecuador’s Carapaz went out hard but could not strike back on the individual race against the clock in Verona.
“It’s a beautiful feeling. A lot of emotions out there,” Hindley said.
“I had in the back of my mind what happened in 2020 and I wasn’t going to let that happen again, to be honest. To take the win is really incredible.
“I was getting updates and I felt pretty good on the bike. I didn’t feel like I was fighting it and I knew it was a decent ride.”
Spaniard Mikel Landa took the final spot on the overall podium behind Hindley and Carapaz, ahead of two-time Giro champion Vincenzo Nibali in fourth, riding his final Giro at the age of 37.
Matteo Sobrero of BikeExchange-Jayco ensured there was an Italian stage winner to sign off on this year’s race, with a time of 22 minutes 24.54 seconds on the 17.4km course.
It brought to an end an eventful edition of the Giro…
A landmark win and a premature end for Girmay
Eritrean rider Biniam Girmay predicted before making his Grand Tour debut that becoming the first black African to win a stage in one of the big three multi-day races would be “the greatest moment”.
The 22-year-old did not have to wait long to find out if such an achievement lived up to his expectations.
On stage 10, he survived nearly missing a turning in the final stages, as well as a late sprint by Mathieu van der Poel, to take the day’s honours in Jesi.
Girmay did not get a chance to add further wins, however.
The cork from his bottle of podium prosecco hit him in the eye, forcing his retirement from the race the following morning.
No permanent damage was done, however, so we should see plenty more of him – and his noisy support – in the seasons to come.
Cavendish keeps on, but for how long?
Mark Cavendish achieved his 16th Giro stage win with a typically dynamic, determined sprint on stage three.
However the 37-year-old could not notch another to strengthen his claim to a spot in QuickStep-AlphaVinyl’s Tour de France selection.
Cavendish defied expectations and advancing years to pick up four stage wins in last year’s Tour de France and pull level with the legendary Eddy Merckx on 35 overall.
However, he may not get a chance to claim that record for his own.
Cavendish is out of contract later this year and QuickStep-AlphaVinyl may prefer to go with in-form Dutchman Fabio Jakobsen for the Tour de France.
Yates feels the pain
Simon Yates might not have realised his pre-race hopes of succeeded Egan Bernal as Giro winner, but the Briton turned in a gutsy campaign that featured two stage victories.
The 29-year-old Briton took the first time trial and, after injuring his knee in a crash on stage four, managed to reel in Richard Carapaz for a win in the mountains on thrilling day 14.
However, his hopes of overall victory had already gone by then after he had dropped out of contention on the brutal climb to Blockhaus.
Asked if the stage win was any consolation for seeing a shot at another Grand Tour victory slip away, Yates was clear.
“Not really. I mean, not to put a downer on the day but I came here to win the race,” he said.
Yates dropped out of the race on stage 17 with his persistent knee pain proving too much.
1 Matteo Sobrero (Ita/Team BikeExchange-Jayco) 22mins 24secs
2 Thymen Arensman (Ned/Team DSM) +23secs
3. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned/Alpecin-Fenix) +40secs
4. Bauke Mollema (Ned/Trek-Segafredo) +1min 8secs
5. Ben Tulett (GB/Ineos Grenadiers) +1min 12secs
6. Mauro Schmid (Swi/Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) +1min 17secs
7. Magnus Cort (Den/EF Education-EasyPost) +1min 18secs
8. Tobias Foss (Nor/Jumbo-Visma) +1min 19secs
9. Michael Hepburn (Aus/Team BikeExchange-Jayco) +1min 24secs
10. Richard Carapaz (Ecu/Ineos Grenadiers) +1min 24secs
General classification after stage 21
1. Jai Hindley (Aus/Bora-Hansgrohe) 86 hours 31 minutes 14 seconds
2. Richard Carapaz (Ecu/Ineos Grenedier) +1min 18secs
3. Mikel Landa (Spa/Bahrain Victorious) +3min 24secs
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita/Astana-Qazaqstan) +9mins 2secs
5. Pello Bilbao (Spa/Bahrain Victorious) +9mins 14secs
6. Jan Hirt (Cze/Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert Materiaux) +9mins 28secs
7. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger/Bora Hansgrohe) +13mins 19secs
8. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita/Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert Materiaux) +17mins 29secs
9. Hugh Carthy (GB/EF Education-EasyPost) +17mins 54secs
10. Juan Pedro Lopez (Spa/Trek-Segafredo) +18mins 40secs
For all the latest Sports News Click Here