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Jai Hindley snatches Giro d’Italia overall lead

Jai Hindley snatched the Giro d’Italia lead from Richard Carapaz on Saturday’s penultimate stage, won by Alessandro Covi, to all but ensure a stunning overall victory in the Italian Grand Tour.

Bora–Hansgrohe’s Hindley made his move with less than three kilometres remaining of the mountainous, 168km 20th stage, pulling one minute, 28 seconds away from Carapaz ahead of Sunday’s final stage time trial in Verona.

“I knew this was going to be the crucial stage of the race. I knew there was a brutal finish and that you could make a difference,” said Hindley.

“We just stayed patient, saved our energy until today and, you know, actually it was perfect.”

The Australian started the day just three seconds behind 2019 winner Carapaz and demolished the Ineos rider towards the summit of the Passo di Fedaia.

Ecuadorian Carapaz visibly struggled to keep up with Hindley on a 14km climb at 7.6 percent and watched his slender lead vanish after a powerful and well-time attack by his rival.

Carapaz even finished behind Mikel Landa, who had appeared out of the running earlier in the day.

Hindley is especially happy with the time gap over him and Carapaz as he struggles on time trials and lost the 2020 edition of the Giro on the final time trial stage.

He had come into that year’s climax in Milan level with Briton Tao Geoghegan Hart, who ended up winning the overall race.

Stage winner Covi claimed the biggest win of his career on home turf after a bold attack with over 50km to go.

The 23-year-old UAE rider went for it on the stage’s second big Passo Pordoi climb and held off Domen Novak to win his first Grand Tour stage.

“Last year we went close a couple of times this year I wanted to win a stage, but I had to help (Joao) Almeida so my chances for winning for few and far between,” said Covi.

“Unfortunately Joao caught Covid and we were left bare for the final three stages, so we wanted to take home at least one of them for the team.”

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