This Giro d’Italia was all about the young riders – new talents who have quickly become protagonists.
The triumph of Tao Geoghegan Hart (25) at this year’s Giro, finishing in front of Jai Hindley (24), marked an important generational change, the first signs of which had already been seen over the last year and a half of competition in the international cycling calendar.
Scrolling through the Corsa Rosa’s roll of honor, one needs to go back to 2008 to find a final podium on which the first two riders are both under 26 years old. In that edition it was a 25-year-old Alberto Contador who climbed the top step. We have seen three under-25s in the top 5 of the general classification this year, thanks in no small part to João Almeida, who spent 15 days in the Maglia Rosa and finished fourth at just 22 years old.
The 103rd Giro d’Italia opened in Monreale with an inaugural individual time trial that saw the 24-year-old Filippo Ganna, world champion against the clock, record the fastest time at the finish line in Palermo and wear the race’s first Maglia Rosa. The rider from Verbania shone again on Stage 5, soloing to victory in Camigliatello Silano and went on to win both remaining ITTs (Stages 14 and 21).
During the first uphill finish at Etna (Stage 3), it was the Portuguese rider João Almeida who took the Maglia Rosa off Ganna’s shoulders. He then held onto it until Stage 18, finally forfeiting the lead on Laghi di Cancano’s uphill finish.
Youth further triumphed over experience thanks to the successes of Jhonatan Narváez (23) in Cesenatico on Stage 12 and Ben O’Connor (24), in San Daniele Del Friuli on Stage 17.