The Giro d’Italia reached a thrilling climax this weekend as the new generation of INEOS Grenadiers riders rounded off an improbable three weeks with a superb Grand Tour win for Tao Geoghegan Hart as Filippo Ganna racked up a fourth stage win in Milan.
The three-week race saw a host of individual and collective displays of the highest level from the team after the loss of captain Geraint Thomas following an unfortunate crash on stage 3.
The Giro began first with a historic performance from UCI world champion Filippo Ganna who, in his first-ever Giro appearance, took the art of time trialling to a new level with the fastest-ever Grand Tour time trial average of 58.8 km/h. Swapping his rainbow stripes for the leader’s pink jersey, he then pushed clear on the final climb of stage 5 for his first career win on the road with a solo attack to conquer the 225km stage with over 4,500m of elevation, confirming his top condition and showing he can win on the road as well as he can against the clock.
The team went on to celebrate a remarkable run of three wins in four stages crowned by Tao Geoghegan Hart, the 25 year-old from Hackney, London, who aboard the Vento Argo R1 courageously ignited unexpected general classification hopes for the team.
Having crashed out of last year’s Giro with a broken collarbone, the win was all the more emotional as he crossed the line pointing to the sky in tribute to the team’s late Sports Director Nico Portal.
On stage 18, in what was surely one of the most memorable days in Giro history against the backdrop of the snow-capped peaks of the Dolomites, the slopes of the legendary Stelvio Pass saw a masterful INEOS Grenadiers performance that caused a dramatic GC shake-up, setting up the prospect of a thrilling final weekend after Tao’s superb second place on the stage moved him up to third place on GC, only 15 seconds away from the pink Jersey with just three stages to go.
Filippo Ganna went all out to win his fourth stage in the final time trial as Tao Geoghegan Hart made a valiant effort to secure the Maglia Rosa of the overall classification. He rode the race of his life, edging out Jai Hindley in the final time trial.
Covering 3,497 km up the length of Italy from Palermo, the capital of Sicily to the northern industrial powerhouse of Milan, the INEOS Grenadiers ended their spectacular run in style, showing truly impressive strength of character and remarkable consistency throughout the three-week race. Their spirited, attacking racing, record-breaking performances and unfailing team support played a central role in what is sure to go down as one of the greatest performances in one of the most memorable editions of Giro d’Italia history.
Congratulations to Tao Geoghegan Hart and the INEOS Grenadiers!