Giro stage 21: Haga snatches surprise win while Carapaz claims the pink jersey

Carapaz and Nibali secure first and second on GC while Roglic ousts Landa from the podium to take third ovarall.

Chad Haga (Sunweb) won his first grand tour stage on the Giro’s closing time trial in Verona, salvaging something for his team after Tom Dumoulin’s early exit. Victor Campenaerts and Thomas De Gendt (both Lotto-Soudal) finished second and third respectively on the stage.

Richard Carapaz (Movistar) secured the pink jersey, finishing 36th on the stage. His victory is the second ever win for a Latin-American in the Giro d’Italia.

Vincenzo Nibali posted a strong time on the stage to finish ninth, however, it wasn’t sufficient to overturn his 1:54 deficit to the Ecuadorian, leaving the Bahrain-Merida man second in overall.

As expected, Primoz Roglic took Mikel Landa’s overnight spot in third on GC, finishing 31 seconds up on the Basque rider to leave him 8 seconds ahead of him in the overall.

“I thought of my dad and my wife, I thought that Roglic must be tired,” said Haga. “The way my legs felt yesterday I fully believed I could win today, I just had to do it, and I was right.”

“My victory is a consolation prize, and it was a way to redeem our Giro,” he continued. “We came here in top form to support Tom [Dumoulin], but unfortunately he was forced to leave. Our Giro was not over, and we took our form and legs, and tried to shift it in other ways. I am glad I could make good on that.”

The 17-kilometer course around Verona was dominated by a long dragging climb midway on the Via Torricelle of 4.5km of around 4 percent, a gradient shallow enough to allow riders to stay in their timetrial position throughout.

Campanaerts was one of the early starters and set the benchmark time of 22:11, an average speed of 46.0kph.

It didn’t take long for Haga to take the Belgian’s place in the hot seat, setting a time of 22:07; four seconds faster than Campanaerts with an average speed of 46.1kph. Though the American had been six seconds down on Campanaerts at the intermediate time check, he held his form and finished strong. The American had been targeting the stage and had been attempting to save his legs as much as possible through the final mountain stages.

De Gendt was also off early in the day, and posted a time of 22:13, only six seconds back on Haga, placing third in the provisional standings. Bob Jungels (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) was an outside contender for the stage, however, having had a disappointing second-half of the Giro, only managed a time to provisionally place 10th, finishing the day in 17th on the stage.

As Roglic set off,  it seemed that he was the only rider yet to start that was capable of unseating Haga from the hotseat. As well as racing for the stage, Roglic was racing for the GC podium, needing 23 seconds on Landa to return to a third in the overall, having been bumped off it the day before on stage 20. As he crested the climb, he was still down on Landa, and a long way off the time set by Haga. Though he finished the stage only in tenth, he did enough to take third on GC, beating Landa’s time by 31 seconds.

“This was a hard Giro,” said Roglic. “I think we can be proud. I think everyone wanted to win. The way it finished for me, it can be like a win for me.”

Next up was Nibali, and though he posted an impressive time to finish ninth on the stage, it wasn’t enough to overhaul the 1:54 overnight deficit he had to make up on Carapaz. The Ecuadorian finished the stage 1:12 down on Haga, earning him 36th on the stage, but more crucially, it was only 49 seconds slower than Nibali, meaning his pink jersey was safe.

In the other jersey classifications, Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) did enough to secure the white jersey for young riders, Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) took the ciclamino jersey for the points classification, and Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) secured the blue KoM jersey, having held it for every stage of the race bar one.

Max Sciandri, sport director of Movistar, said of Carapaz: “He’s an amazing leader, took amazing victories – won two stages – dominated with the jersey, so we’re super happy.”