Pinotti Wins Closing TT of Giro; Hesjedal Takes Overall
Ryder Hesjedal (Team Garmin-Barracuda) is the first Canadian to win a Grand Tour.
Ryder Hesjedal (Team Garmin-Barracuda) is the first Canadian to win a Grand Tour. The Garmin-Barracuda man claimed victory in the 2012 Giro d'Italia by making good a 31-second deficit on maglia rosa Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) in Stage 21, a flat, technical, 28-km individual time trial in Milan. Marco Pinotti (Team BMC Racing) won the event in 33:06, with Geraint Thomas (Sky) finishing second at 0:39 and Jesse Sargent (RadioShack-Nissan) taking third at 0:53. Hesjedal finished 6th at 1:09, while Rodriguez settled for 26th at 1:56.
Thomas set the early standard. The Briton posted a 33:45, a time that Pinotti bettered fewer than 40 minutes later. That left the overall winner and many of the first 11 places to be sorted out.
Hesjedal needed to make up 1 second per km to take the maglia rosa from Rodriguez. At the first time check (11 km), the Canadian had cut the Spaniard's lead to 2 seconds. Rodriguez is known as an indifferent time trialist, but he fought back and lost less time than expected. For his part, Hesjedal nearly crashed on several turns, but he recovered each time and slowly pulled away from the Katusha man.
Further down on GC, final places were decided. One minute and 52 seconds separated Places 3 through 6. Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) started the day in 3rd and hoped to hold off Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM), who had vaulted from 8th to 4th with his Stage 20 victory. At the beginning of the time trial, the Italian led the Belgian by 0:27, but De Gendt turned the tables on Scarponi to take 3rd place. For the first time since 1995, no Italian stood on the Giro podium.
Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) held their 5th and 6th places, but sorting out needed to be done at Places 8 through 11. One minute and 33 seconds separated these positions. Domenico Pozzovivo (Colnago-CSF Inox) held onto 8th place, but Sergio Henao (Sky) leaped two places, from 11th to 9th. Mikel Nieve (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and John Gadret (Ag2r-La Mondiale) dropped to 10th and 11th, respectively.
Hesjedal's victory overwhelmed him. "This is incredible, I can't quite believe it," the Canadian said. "I have to thank my team for their efforts over the past three weeks, I couldn't have done it without them. I've had to dig deeper and deeper as the race has gone on. I also like to thank all the Canadian fans back home for their incredible support.
"It's been a fantastic experience. I started to believe in it more and more when I realized that I was riding better in the mountains than I ever have in any other race. My legs felt good, I was strong in my head, and I reached the last day in good condition and managed to write an important page in history."
And so he did. Hesjedal won the 2012 Giro d'Italia by 0:16 over Rodriguez and by 1:39 over De Gendt. Many of the competitors in the Giro will ride in the Dauphine Libere, the Tour de Suisse, the Tour de France,