Giro GC wide open as Hirt takes first hit in the High Mountains
Jan Hirt (Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux) soloed to a mighty stage win in Aprica in this final mountainous week of the 2022 Giro d'Italia. Just 3 seconds separate Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) and Jai Hindley (BORA-hansgrohe)
Czech rider Jan Hirt took the 16th stage of the Giro d'Italia on Tuesday to claim his first ever Grand Tour win, while Richard Carapaz held on to his slender overall lead after a brutal mountain stage.
The 31-year-old Intermarche rider attacked two kilometres before the summit of the final of three huge climbs on the 202km run from Salo to Aprica and held off chaser Thyman Arensman for the win.
Hirt's stage win was by far the biggest of his career and added to his overall victory at the Tour of Oman this year.
"When people ask me what I want to do with cycling I say that I want to win one stage on the Giro and then I can stop my career," Hirt joked after the win.
"So now I am happy but I don't want to stop now."
Hirt had been chasing Lennard Kamna after the Bora-Hansgrohe rider made a run for it just before the start of the final Santa Cristina ascent.
However he and Arensman caught Kamna within the closing 10km and Hirt then made his charge for the line in wet Aprica after wrestling with mechanical problems in the last kilometres.
"He (Kamna) had a good advantage on us and it was looking quite difficult but I had to try," added Hirt.
"I had quite difficult moments on the stage... in the last climb I had a problem with the bike it wasn't shifting very well, it was jumping my chain.
"I was suffering so much and had all these problems but I wanted the win so bad I held on till the end."
Olympic road race champion Richard Carapaz retained the pink jersey after crossing just over a minute later alongside Mikel Landa and Jai Hindley.
Hindley cut Carapaz's already a slim lead to just three sedonds after winning four bonus seconds on the finish line.
The Giro d’Italia enters its final decisive week with five riders knotted up within 61 seconds of the pink jersey.
That will likely shake up quite a bit with four grueling mountain stages between here and Verona, but could the final time trial decide the final winner?
VIDEO: 2022 Giro d'Italia Stage 16 Highlights
2022 Giro d'Italia Stage 16 Top 10
1 CZE Jan Hirt Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert 05:40:45
2 NED Thymen Arensman Team DSM + 07
3 AUS Jai Hindley BORA-hansgrohe + 01:24
4 ECU Richard Carapaz INEOS Grenadiers + 01:24
5 ESP Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team + 01:24
6 ESP Mikel Landa Bahrain Victorious + 01:24
7 GER Lennard Kämna BORA-hansgrohe + 01:38
8 POR Joao Almeida UAE Team Emirates + 01:38
9 ITA Vincenzo Nibali Astana Qazaqstan Team + 02:06
10 GBR Hugh Carthy EF Education-EasyPost + 02:13
2022 Giro d'Italia GC after Stage 16
1 ECU Richard Carapaz INEOS Grenadiers 68:49:06
2 AUS Jai Hindley BORA-hansgrohe + 03
3 POR Joao Almeida UAE Team Emirates + 44
4 ESP Mikel Landa Bahrain Victorious + 59
5 ITA Vincenzo Nibali Astana Qazaqstan Team + 03:40
6 ESP Pello Bilbao Bahrain Victorious + 03:51
7 CZE Jan Hirt Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert + 07:42
8 ESP Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team + 09:04
9 NED Thymen Arensman Team DSM + 10:23
10 GBR Hugh Carthy EF Education-EasyPost + 17:28