We will have to get used to these two names, as we have had to get used to that of Tadej Pogacar, surprise winner of the last Tour de France. Who knew the Briton Tao Geoghegan Hart, second in the general classification at the start of the final time trial? Almost nobody, if not its leader Geraint Thomas, left with the sign of the boss of the Ineos Grenadier team. And forced to retire after a fall at the start of Giro, leaving the field open to his lieutenant.
→ READ. Tour de France 2020: Tadej Pogacar, a kid who made history
We did not know much better his brave second the Australian Jay Hindley of the Sunweb team, who left Sunday, October 25 with the pink jersey, less than a second ahead of the Briton. But the cruel reality of the final time trial, which got the better of Primoz Roglic for the benefit of his young compatriot Tadej Pogacar in the Tour de France, got the better of the Australian’s hopes. Which showed his limits as a roller against Tao Geoghegan, whose power on the flat evokes the great British drivers of recent years, such as Bradley Wiggins, first winner from across the Channel of a Tour de France, in 2012.
Undoubtedly restrained in the mountains by the priority given to his teammate Wilco Kelderman, who stalled in the formidable passage to the Stelvio in the Dolomites at an altitude of 2,750 m, the Australian was not able to let go of everyone, as he seemed to have the capacity. But the logic of the racing team forced him to curb his ambitions, which narrowed the gap with Tao Geoghegan Hart on the eve of the final stage to 80 hundredths of a second. That is less than ten meters of difference, after twenty days of racing, 3,497 kilometers and 45,000 m of elevation gain covered.
A tiny gap that has gone down in history
This tiny gap would have gone down in history if it had been maintained until the end, since the small difference recorded on recent Tours is six seconds on the Tour of Spain 2015 between the winner Fabio Aru and the second Tom Dumoulin . In 2010, Alberto Contador had won for ten seconds over Andy Schleck. Less than a second, the thing had never happened and will not be for this 2020 edition of the Giro. The final gap between the winner and the second was indeed widened over the fifteen kilometers of flat land of the final stage. Up to 39 seconds at the finish line.
There remains one lesson, repeated at the end of recent major races. The winners are younger and younger and less afraid of taking risks and responsibilities on the big tours. After Tadej Pogacar’s 21 years on the Tour de France, here is a 25-year-old winner and a 24-year-old runner-up on the Tour of Italy. These two men, who nobody would be risky to put on the shelves of favorites before the start of the Giro, succeed an equally unexpected winner in 2019. Richard Caparaz had become the first Ecuadorian to win a grand tour (he also endorsed on Sunday 25 the red jersey of the leader of the Tour of Spain).
In terms of French satisfaction, the cyclamen jersey (the equivalent of green on the Tour de France) for the road of the Groupama FDJ team Arnaud Démare, winner of the points classification after winning four stages. Great consolation after the setbacks in the Tour de France of Thibaut Pinot, mountain leader of the French team.