Roglic Wins Giro d’Italia
The 21st and final stage of Giro d’Italia 2023 was a 126-kilometer flat ride from Rome to Rome. The final classification had already been settled after yesterday’s mountain time trial, so Sunday’s stage 21 was the traditional parade stage in which riders will toast to their remarkable and memorable performances in the Giro and celebrate with Italian sparkling prosecco wine.
The scene was set in beautiful architectural surroundings with the closing circuit route passing by many prominent historic buildings and the finish line located on the Fori Imperiali.
The riders took off from Rome under sunny skies and in high spirits and there was time for riders to reflect on the events of the past three weeks, talk to friends from other teams while cruising in a relaxed tempo, and congratulate each other on their feats.
The Giro riders rode along Columbus Avenue on a 23-kilometer ride towards the coast in Ostia, where the riders made a U-turn and returned to Rome for the final round stretch where a final sprint battle across the finish line was expected – unless a breakaway group managed to trick the sprinters.
Three riders attacked with 68 kilometers left of the stage. The riders were Cesare Benedetti (Bora-Hansgrohe), Maxime Bouet (Cofidis), and Toms Skuijns (Trek-Segafredo). The trio was first to enter Rome for the final six circuits of 13.6 kilometers each though the streets of the Italian Capital. But with 40 kilometers left, the optimists in front had a lead of no more than fourteen seconds.
Twenty kilometers from the finish line the advantage of the front trio had been reduced to ten seconds.
Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost) launched a powerful attack with 15 kilometers left and bridged the gap to the front group. But the four riders were caught by the chasing peloton shortly thereafter.
Ineos-Grenadiers, Jumbo-Visma, and Trek-Segafredo were pulling at the front of the peloton with five kilometers left. The speed was high, and action was on the menu for the stage finale.
Derek Gee (Israel-PremierTech) tried to escape from the peloton, but the speed set by the sprinter teams was too fast for Gee to break free from their grip.
Team Movistar moved to the front for sprint ace Fernando Gaviria.
Geraint Thomas proudly moved to the front – the Welshman showed real courage and had not been discouraged by yesterday’s disappointment in the time trial.
Gaviria launched his long sprint. Pascal Ackermann (UAE Team Emirates) and other riders crashed heavily. Mark Cavendish (Astana) countered and won the final stage of Giro d’Italia 2023 in Rome.
Cavendish won the stage in 02:48:26. Alex Kirsch (Trek-Segafredo) finished second and Filippo Fiorelli (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizane) completed the stage podium.
"Any win is a confidence booster, so this one is too,” stage winner Cavendish told Roadcycling.com while crying tears of joy after the finish. “We kind of joked with Geraint Thomas. In twenty-five years, he’s been kind of my best friend. He has always seen the glass as half full. He’s special. I couldn’t be happier today. A big part of my racing career has been in Italy. To win the last stage of the Giro d’Italia in my final Giro is beautiful. It will stay with me forever."
Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) won the general classification in 85:29:02. Ineos-Grenadiers’ Geraint Thomas finished 14 seconds behind the winner and Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) took third.
Almeida won the best young rider classification. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) won the best climber classification. Jonathan Milan won the points competition for Bahrain-Victorious.
Giro d’Italia champion Roglic was clearly moved by his grand victory. “There’s so much emotion going on after my time trial win yesterday. This was my first time in Rome and the historic scenery here is incredible.”
“Every Grand Tour is a challenge for me. I can’t compare my win at the Giro d’Italia with my wins in the Tour de France and La Vuelta. The Giro was what I was hunting for this year. It was a pleasure to fight with Geraint Thomas who is a good friend of mine,” Roglic added.
"I was at the front in the finale, and I saw Cavendish was there too, so why not give a pull. He’s an old mate and I predicted he’d win the stage. My job in the Giro was already done,” runner-up finisher Thomas explained to Roadcycling.com.
Not winning the Giro still hurts. I saw Primoz (Roglic) riding in pink, and I thought: It could have been me. It’s the lows that make the highs. I don’t know if I’ll be back at the Giro d’Italia again, but never say never.
”I’m still extremely proud about how we raced as a team despite the losses of Filippo (Ganna), Tao (Goeghegan Hart) and Pavel (Sivakov), but we kept riding well together. Everyone in the team backed me one hundred percent - not just the riders. It’s been an incredible team effort. We’ll keep going.” Thomas added.
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