Thomas goes close as Hesjedal seals pink

Thomas goes close as Hesjedal seals pink

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British Cycling Podium Programme rider Geraint Thomas finished second in the individual time-trial as the Giro d’Italia ended on a high for Team Sky.

Thomas set a superb time of 33 minutes and 45 seconds to register the second quickest time, only beaten in the city-centre course by Marco Pinotti (BMC Racing).

The result for Thomas mirrored his performance in the opening stage in Denmark, with the team taking the first of three stage victories a day later through Mark Cavendish.

Denied the red points jersey by a single point after three weeks of hard racing, Cavendish overcame crashes and mountain time limits to reach the finish in Milan – a significant milestone as he continues to build towards results in the summer.

Ian Stannard produced another impressive performance to clock the 11th quickest time in the finale, his time trial skills ever-improving to finish with a flourish after getting through a supreme amount of work during the race.

Rigoberto Urán clinched the white jersey and seventh overall at the Giro d’Italia while Sergio Henao jumped up two places to ninth in Milan.

The Colombian pairing capped off a strong three weeks which saw Team Sky battling on all fronts, both in the sprints and in the high mountains, to leave their mark on the first Grand Tour of the season.

Seventh and ninth reflected a consistent campaign from Urán and Henao, with the latter taking a superb top-10 placing in his first ever Grand Tour, comfortably seeing off John Gadret (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Mikel Nieve (Euskaltel-Euskadi) on the Milan streets to vault up the leaderboard.

There were also changes at the top of the standings as Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) pushed hard to snatch the pink jersey at the death on the 30-kilometre time trial.

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) proved no match for the Canadian against the clock and resigned himself to second, while Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM) backed up a superb ride on Saturday to elevate himself to the final step of the podium.

Also finishing in Milan were Juan Antonio Flecha (36th), Thomas (80th), Stannard (132nd) and Bernhard Eisel (152nd). Jeremy Hunt rode hard for the cause before leaving in the final week to witness the birth of his child, while Peter Kennaugh secured important racing miles ahead of the Olympics.

Out on course Hesjedal was visibly pushing hard and quickly tore into his 31-second overnight deficit to Rodriguez. Another rider to drop back was Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD), the winner of the 2011 edition forced to relinquish third, meaning no Italian finished on the podium for the first time since 1995.


1 Marco Pinotti (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:33:06
2 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:39
3 Jesse Sergent (NZl) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:53
11 Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:01:24
55 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky Procycling

Final General Classification

1 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Barracuda 91:39:02
2 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 0:00:16
3 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:01:39
80 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling 2:59:32
132 Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Procycling 4:20:11
145 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky Procycling 4:46:19