By Orla Lawrenson-McLaughlin
Usually the first of the three Grand Tours, the 2020 Giro d’Italia gets underway this month after being rescheduled amidst the coronavirus pandemic. While the startlist is still yet to be confirmed, we do know that last year’s winner Richard Carapaz won’t be defending his title, as the Ineos Grenadiers’ cyclist rode at the recent Tour de France and instead, the British team will be pinning their hopes on Geraint Thomas. It won’t be long before betting exchange sites start releasing their pre-race odds as punters eagerly select their favourites. But while we wait for confirmation, let’s take a look back at the most recent General Classification winners of the Giro.
2019: Richard Carapaz
Last year’s race began in Bologna and finished in Verona and history was made as Carapaz then of Team Movistar became the first Ecuadorian rider to win the Giro. After victory at stage 14, Carapaz retained the pink jersey for the remainder of the race, finishing with a winning time of 90 hours 1 minute and 47 seconds – with Vincenzo Nibali of Bahrain-Merida in second, and Primož Roglič (Team Jumbo-Visma) in third. Since that victory, Carapaz switched allegiances to Ineos Grenadiers, and recently raced at the Tour de France, finishing 13th.
2018: Chris Froome
Not only did Froome win the pink jersey at the 2018 Giro, he was also named the King of the Mountains, receiving the blue jersey. The race began in Jerusalem, with two stages in Israel, before a rest day and continuing in Sicily, before ending in Rome. The reigning Tour de France and Vuelta a España champion at the time, Froome was the heavy favourite for the Giro – but it wasn’t until the final stages that he asserted himself. After winning stage 14, it was in the 19th stage that he attained both pink and blue jerseys and went on to win the Giro just 46 seconds ahead of the previous winner, Tom Dumoulin – a continued spell of dominance for Team Sky.
2017: Tom Dumoulin
The 2017 edition of the Giro marked the 100th race, which began on the island of Sardinia and finished in Milan. Dumoulin of Team Sun-Web was one of the outsiders going in to the race, but in winning the Giro, became the first Dutch rider to be victorious. After winning stage 10, Dumoulin held onto the pink jersey until stage 19. But in the final day’s racing, he made up valuable seconds in the time-trial and secured the win, 31 seconds ahead of Nairo Quintana (Movistar). After finishing second the following year, Dumoulin was also runner-up of the 2018 Tour de France, his best finish to date.
2016: Vincenzo Nibali
2016 marked a second victory in four years for the Italian, who had been the pre-race favourite. The Netherlands hosted their third ‘big start’, with the Giro starting in Apeldoorn, and finishing in Torino, Italy. It was an almighty comeback by Nibali, who found himself some way down the Classification after 18 stages. After winning stage 19, he clawed back some time, and finished 52 seconds clear of Esteban Chaves of Orica–GreenEDGE. It was a third Grand Tour victory for Nibali, who hasn’t won a major race since and now rides for Trek–Segafredo.
2015: Alberto Contador
Seven years on from his first win in the Giro (Contador was stripped of his 2011 title), the Spaniard went on to regain the pink jersey in the 2015 edition of the race. The 2015 Giro began in San Lorenzo al Mare and finished in Milan. With both Froome and Nibali absent, Contador was the pre-race favourite – and dominated for a large proportion. He first took the General Classification lead after stage 5, before Fabio Aru took over at the end of stage 13. From then on, Contador was in control, finishing just under two minutes ahead of his rival. It was an Astana two-three on the podium, with Aru and teammate Mikel Landa finishing as respective runners-up. After one season with Trek–Segafredo, Contador retired in 2017.