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The 2012 Tour de France winner, at the Giro d’Italia for Eurosport, typically chimes in during the day’s coverage with insight, color and the occasional Robbie McEwen impression, but his most telling words on stage 20 came after the action, and after Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) had cracked Richard Carapaz (Ineos-Grenadiers) and moved into the maglia rosa.
Carapaz started the day with a slender three second advantage over Hindley in second overall but on the upper slopes of the Passo Fedaia the Ineos leader cracked after a relentless pace set by Hindley and his teammate Lennard Kämna.
- Giro d’Italia: Jai Hindley launches himself into the pink jersey with late attack
- Giro d’Italia: Richard Carapaz loses maglia rosa after cracking on the Passo Fedaia
At the finish Hindley had put 1:28 into Carapaz and with just one stage to go Hindley has 1:25 over the 2019 race winner.
According to Wiggins the tell-tale signs surrounding Carapaz’s demise were there to see on the key climb of the Passo Pordoi, which the race climbed before the last ascent of the Passo Fedaia.
Bahrain-Victorious had set the pace on both climbs before Ineos-Grenadiers took over roughly halfway up the last climb with Ben Tulett and Pavel Sivakov taking turns.
Carapaz was able to match Hindley’s first kick which took place as soon as Sivakov peeled off but the Ineos leader began to lose ground with around 2km to go.
“I could tell that Carapaz didn’t look like his normal self,” Wiggins said at the finish.
“He had his top undone and his glasses on top of his head. He did not look comfortable at all. Carapaz was in all sorts of trouble. I think he’s just lost the Giro d’Italia.”
“Before the start this morning I was pretty sure that I couldn’t see Richard Carapaz losing this jersey. I did spot on the Pordoi that he didn’t look his normal self in the line. He was pedaling a really low gear and was sitting right forward on the saddle. That’s never a good sign. I could sense through his body language that he wasn’t on a good day.”
Wiggins was full of praise to Hindley who leads the race with just the final time trial to come. Unless the Australian crashes or become ill he will surely win the race outright, according to Wiggins.
“As we saw on the final climb, as the severity kicked in, Jai, what a ride. He’s safely in the jersey and I can’t see him being dislodged in the time trial tomorrow. What a ride. I’m still struggling to get my head around that. I think it’s impossible for Carapaz barring a crash or any illness for Jai overnight. Jai pretty much has this Giro wrapped up. He’s just gotta keep his head on and go through that process.”