Richard Carapaz (Movistar Team) became the first cyclist from Ecuador to win a Grand Tour as he triumphed in the arena of Verona with two of the pre-race favourites, Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma), accompanying him
on stage for the honours of the final podium. Once Tom Dumoulin crashed out on stage 4 – the first stage Carapaz won – the 26-year-old made the best of the rivalry between those two adversaries and benefitted from the superiority of his
team, not least the efforts of Mikel Landa who eventually settled for fourth place having played a major role in the defence of the Maglia Rosa in the final week.
“I’m very proud of what I achieved”, Carapaz reflected after the finish in the city of Romeo and Juliet. “I’m delighted to make my dream of winning a Grand Tour come true. We must never forget our childhood dreams. They can
always become reality with hard work and determination. In my four years in European cycling, I realized that opportunities have to be caught.”
The route of the 102nd Giro was divided in two parts, with the first 12 days not featuring any major climbs: different to previous editions of the Corsa Rosa. Roglic who arrived unbeaten in the three stage races he did this year (UAE Tour,
Tirreno-Adriatico, Tour de Romandie) dominated the first two time trials: up the San Luca in Bologna on day 1 and up the Republic of San Marino, which is located on a hill, on stage 9. The first enabled the Slovenian to wear the Maglia Rosa for five
The first sequence dedicated to sprinters saw the emergence of Germany’s Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) – who had never participated in a Grand Tour before – and the punchy finish of Frascati in the outskirts of Rome was a way for
Carapaz to get his second stage win at the Giro, a year after his first one. There he made up some of the 46 seconds lost the previous day due to a mechanical. Hampered by the tension around the Maglia Rosa, Roglic was happy to let it go but he would
never get it back.
As Fausto Masnada took one of five Italian stage victories – before Cesare Benedetti, Dario Cataldo, Giulio Ciccone and Damiano Cima – Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates) started his odyssey in pink. Being the first rider from Rome in the lead
of the Giro d’Italia since Dario Beni who was the first ever stage winner in 1909, he made the headlines for six days before passing the baton onto his team-mate Jan Polanc. By the time Carapaz came back under the spotlight throughout a brave
attack on the San Carlo climb on stage 15, while Roglic and Nibali were trapped into a controversial duel typical of the Italian event, Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) had won two sprint stages and Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) one.
Mountainous or hilly stages inadvertently gave moments of glory to long-time domestiques: Benedetti in Pinerolo, Cataldo in Como and Bilbao atop Croce d’Aune-Monte Avena after the Basque rider from Astana had already grasped a first opportunity
in L’Aquila at the end of a stage dedicated to the memory of the earthquake of April 2009. Ciccone won the Mortirolo stage deprived of the Gavia because of too much snow at the top. He caught the hearts of Italian fans for his determination
to being the King of the Mountains, the other popular attacker being Masnada who became the first rider called Fausto to win the Cima Coppi prize awarded to the first cyclist at the highest peak of the Giro – the Passo Manghen, after the cancellation
of the Gavia.
There was plenty of action but also a smart defence of the Maglia Rosa by a Movistar Team that had two cards to play with Carapaz and Landa. Passo Manghen evidenced the superiority of three climbers: Carapaz, Landa and Miguel Angel Lopez whose Corsa Rosa
featured highs and lows. The Colombian was eventually crowned the best young rider for the second straight year but with seventh place overall, not making the top three this time. “It was because of bad luck, not because of bad legs”,
argued the diminutive climber who fell on the ascent of the Croce d’Aune because of the imprudent move of a spectator.
Roglic bettered Landa in the closing time trial for the third place overall, as expected. Just like Masnada, Benedetti, Nans Peters and Damiano Cima, Chad Haga of Team Sunweb took his first UCI WorldTour victory, and his came on the very last day of the
race. Against the clock, the American avenged his leader Dumoulin. Ciccone and Ackermann added two distinctive jerseys to their stage wins, the Italian being the King of the Mountains almost from start to finish (except for one day) and the German
coming home with the points classification under his belt. It’s a Giro of new faces.