Jai Hindley won the Giro d’Italia on Sunday after making his way through the final stage time-trial in Verona to claim his first Grand Tour.
Bora Hansgrohe rider Hindley put himself in an almost unassailable position when he snatched the pink jersey from Richard Carapaz on the final climb of Saturday’s brutal mountain stage.
The Australian had a cushion of almost a minute and a half and rolled triumphantly past Verona’s ancient Roman Arena after easily holding off his Ecuadorian rival to become his country’s first Giro winner.
He ended the Giro one minute, 18 seconds ahead of 2019 winner Carapaz after losing just seven seconds in Sunday’s time-trial on the Ineos rider and finishing 15th on the day.
“It’s a beautiful feeling, really, a lot of emotions out there today. To take the win is really incredible.” Hindley said after the race.
“It’s really incredible man, I’m really proud to be Australian and I’m going to take this one home.”
Australia already had a Tour de France winner in 2011 winner Cadel Evans but as yet has no winner in the Vuelta a Espana.
Hindley, 26, banished the memory of his gutting final-stage defeat in 2020, where his weakness in time-trials cost him the overall victory at the death.
Having taken the pink jersey also in that year’s 20th stage he was pipped in the climatic time-trial in Milan by Briton Tao Geoghegan Hart.
However this year he had no such problems, his stunning display on the Passo Fedaia in the Dolomites on Saturday supplying him with enough room to relieve most of the pre-race pressure.
“I had in the back of mind what happened in 2020 and I wasn’t going to let that happen again,” added Hindley.
Italian Matteo Sobrero took the honours on the final stage on a cool day in northeastern Italy, setting the fastest time of 22 minutes, 24.54 seconds early in the day.
“It’s an amazing feeling, I still need to recognise everything,” Sobrero said.
“I’m really happy with the team, we win on the first day and we win on the last day. All the work is paying off.”
French rider Arnaud Demare claimed the points classification for the second time in his career, winning three stages and asserting himself as the best sprinter in the peloton despite the presence of Mark Cavendish.
Dutchman Koen Bouwman won two stages and also claimed the mountain’s classification blue jersey for his team Jumbo-Visma.
Trek-Segafredo rider Juan Pedro Lopez, who held the pink jersey for 10 days of this year’s Giro, earned the white jersey for best young rider in front of Colombia’s Santiago Buitrago.