The 105th edition of the Giro d’Italia is over. The last stage, a 17.4 kilometer time trial, took place in Verona and the finish line was set up in the ancient Arena, a rotten but still imposing testimony to the ancient empire of the Caesars.
The winner is Matteo Sobrero, a 25-year-old Piedmontese from the Australian Bike Exchange Jayco team and Italian time trial champion in 2021. Sobrero, who is constantly compared to Filippo Gana, the Ineos rocket who, in the coming months, will try to beat the hour record, he had finished fourth in Budapest, in this 9 kilometer time trial won by Simon Yates.
The young man born in Alba burned the times in Verona. He rode nearly 47 kilometers per hour and completed the course in 22 minutes and 24 seconds. The only one who was more or less close to his time was DSM’s Thymen Arensman of the Netherlands, who needed 23 seconds more to reach the finish line.
They cheered Matteo as he entered the arena. They cheered him on like he was Francesco Moser, but then they forgot about him like a cookie commercial is forgotten in the middle of a dramatic action movie.
And it was the Giro today in Verona, the closing of a dramatic film, and Matteo did nothing more than write the first part of the script. Another Matteo, also Piedmontese, wrote fantastic tales in the 15th and 16th centuries, but he too has been forgotten. His surname was Bandello and history assures that he was the author of Romeo and Juliet, that sweet story of passions, daggers, swords and hemlock that moved the world and set in Verona.
Bandello, it is said, wrote the outlines, but it was Shakespeare, the Bard, who ultimately constructed its nooks and crannies, its plots, its most dramatic scenes. Shakespeare took Bandello’s white piece and gilded it. He made it his own and he went down in history.
Yesterday, although the stage was won by Sobrero, the drama of the Giro went through another side, through other lines, through other pedal strokes. Everyone wanted to know how the conflict between Carapaz and Hindley was defined, and everyone also wanted to see for the last time the “shark of the strait”, Vincenzo Nibali, who was racing for the last time in the Giro, and little by little little he approaches the twilight of his long career.
And all those arrivals came together in the final part of the stage, with the streets packed with fans and the sound of the Adige flying in warm winds.
Nibali, like an autumn cloud, crossed the city in his Wilier Triestina. He was dressed in blue, nailed to the handlebars, but with no intention of winning the stage. He only said goodbye, full of years and glory, like Hadrian of Yourcenar, empty of strength, but full of triumphs and memories. A legend.
He was ranked 49th in the fraction, he who used the stopwatch so many times to demolish his rivals. The final stage of the Giro 105 was nothing more than a walk in the park for him, who can’t wait to get back to Messina to stand in Union Square like a monument.
Better than him were the Colombians Harold Tejada and Santiago Buitrago. The first, from Astana, was in 32nd place, 2:05 a.m. from Sobrero, while the second, from Bahrain, came in 42nd at 2:29 a.m. For the Vulture, it was also a good arrival in the Corsa Rosa. He took a step and helped his team to third place on the podium with Landa.
Around 4:00 p.m., with already colder winds heralding rains from the distant Dolomites, the final scene of the Giro arrived, the duel between Carapaz and Hindley. The Ecuadorian came out in his gala costume, the Olympic one, with the flag of his country adorning his white dress with stripes. He looked like the great Andean condor, gliding majestically over the transalpine roads.
But the kilometers were few, the battle arena was too narrow, and Hindley, the surprising Australian from Bora, only had to go at his own pace, without compromising his safety in the chicanes, until he arrived safe. and except at the finish line. Carapaz did everything he could, but time trials are not his domain. It wasn’t Hindley’s turf either.but he knew how to defend himself. Carchi’s managed to scratch it for a few seconds, but the Senza Fine finally confirmed its owner.
The 26-year-old, born in Perth and vice-champion in 2020, finally steps on the podium to shower with champagne. “Champion, champion,” they shouted to him from all corners of the old Arena, and he, who only cried the day he lost the race with Tao Geoghegan Hart, exploded with joy. First title for Australia in the Giro, a country which, until the appearance of Cadel Evans, only produced sprinters, and what great sprinters: McEwen, O’Grady, Ewan.
Now they have Hindley to aspire to the big time as the young man from Bora, perhaps the best team around, is set for more.
It was not the best of presentations for Colombia, which last year had vibrated with the title of Egan Bernal. Buitrago caused a sensation this year, thanks to his stage victory in Lavarone and his second place in the junior classification. Fernando Gaviria also stood out, despite not being able to get any wins. The Antioquia man is second in the points standings, behind Arnaud Demare. It looks like his years in the UAE are coming to an end and new winds are blowing about his future.
Hindley is the new Giro champion and was joined on the podium by Richard Carapaz and Mikel Landa. Koen Bowmann won the mountain and Bahrain, thanks to Buitrago, crowned the team classification. 149 runners finished out of the 176 who started the course in Hungary three weeks ago. Finally, Juan Pedro López, the Spaniard of the Trek who was the leader for several days, moved to tenth place in the general classification, ahead of Valverde, and won the youth classification.
Another Giro, another story. Maybe next year it will be more exciting, and with Colombian protagonism.