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Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe), who came into the penultimate stage of the Giro d’Italia just three seconds down in the overall standings, dropped Carapaz on the toughest section of the Passo Fedaia after excellent team work from Lennard Kämna, who set a blistering pace after dropping back from the early break.
Carapaz was able to match the initial pace set by the Bora-Hansgrohe duo but when a small gap opened up it was clear that the 2019 winner was struggling. Half a wheel became a few meters within the blink of an eye before Hindley accelerated on his own to put significant time into his main rival.
Earlier on the climb Hindley attacked as soon as Carapaz’s teammate Pavel Sivakov peeled off the front. Mikel Landa was immediately distanced as Hindley pressed on with Carapaz on his wheel before they reached Kämna. The German maintained a stinging pace for Hindley before Carapaz began to come apart.
Hindley crossed the line in sixth place on the stage, 2:30 down on winner Alessandro Covi (UAE Team Emirates) with Carapaz coming over the line in 11th place, 1:28 down on Hindley. The Australian now leads in the overall standings with Carapaz at 1:25 in second place.
“They just told me, it’s difficult. We tried everything, that’s sport,” Carapaz’s teammate, Sivakov said at the finish.
“Chapeaux to Jai. We handled the stage well, but he is the strongest in the end, so there’s nothing more to say. We wanted to try to get rid of Jai today, and we were at altitude today, and we thought that would be an advantage to Richard. We just have to accept it. Uffff, it will be difficult to take that much time in an 18km time trial, it will be complicated, but we have to try.”
Landa (Bahrain-Victorious) also dropped Carapaz but remains in third, 26 seconds down on Carapaz ahead of the final time trial in Verona on Sunday.
For Carapaz, his hopes of winning the Giro d’Italia are all but over. Unless Hindley has a series of mechanicals in Sunday’s time trial the race is effectively over. Carapaz moved into the maglia rosa on stage 14 and was the pre-race favorite at the start of the Giro d’Italia. It was clear during the first week that he, Hindley and Landa were the strongest climbers in the race but Hindley and Carapaz could hardly be separated during the second and most of the third week of the race.
The pair went toe-to-toe in the mountains but on the Passo Fedaia it was Hindley who had the edge. The help from Kämna played a huge role in cracking Carapaz but it was the Australian who was able to extend his advantage and create the huge buffer with one day remaining.