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Friday, June 24, 2022

Hirt wins stage 16, Carapaz continues to lead the Giro

APRICA, Italy ( Associated Press) — Czech Jan Hirt won the tricky 16th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Tuesday for his first major win, while Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz keeps the pink jersey as the competition heads into its final week in the high mountains. .

Hirt held his head in disbelief before throwing his hands up as he crossed the finish line at the end of the 202km route from Salo to Aprica, which included one of the toughest climbs in the sport at Mortirolo.

“Every time someone asks me why I’m a cyclist, what I want to achieve, I thought I wanted to win a Giro stage and then I could stop my race,” Hirt said with a laugh. “So I’m happy, but I don’t want to stop.”

The stage also included two other top rated ascents, the epic stage including over 5,000 meters of climbing. This was also about the annual wine stage and it was dedicated to the Sforzato variety in the Valtellina area.

Hirt attacked almost at the top of the Santa Cristina climb, which has slopes in double digits, and although he nearly lost control on the descent made difficult by earlier rain, the 31-year-old managed to stay on his bike and finished 7 seconds ahead of Thymen Arensman.

There was a fight for third place and last place with bonus points between the favourites. Jai Hindley beat Carapaz and Mikel Landa. The quartet – which also included Spaniard Alejandro Valverde – crossed 1 minute and 24 seconds behind Hirt.

Hindley, runner-up in 2020, reduced the gap to Carapaz to three seconds. João Almeida remains third in the standings but lost 14 seconds and is now 44 seconds behind the Ecuadorian.

“It has been a tough stage and in the end I have to say that I am happy”, said Carapaz. “I thought I would win the sprint for third place and take the bonus. Even if I didn’t make it, it’s still a good day for me.”

“It is true that I lost a few seconds with Hindley, but I gained more with Almeida, so the balance is positive”.

Landa is fourth, while two-time Giro champion Vincenzo Nibali moved up to fifth after attacking to break away from the pack on the descent at Passo Mortirolo. Although his rivals caught up with him, the form he showed seems like he still has more to offer the Italian rider in his last Giro.

Wednesday’s 17th stage has nearly 4,000 meters of ascent on a 168-kilometre route from Ponte di Legno to Lavarone.

The Giro ends on Sunday in Verona.

World Nation News Desk
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