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Hirt overcomes cramps and faulty bike to win mountainous Giro stage 16

SALO, Italy: Czech cyclist Jan Hirt of Intermarche-Wanty Gobert overcame problems with his bike and fought cramps to win the 16th stage of the Giro d'Italia on Tuesday (May 24) as the race headed into the mountains in its final week.

Hirt's maiden stage win came on a 202km ride from Salo to Aprica where the riders gained an altitude of more than 5,000 metres on the climb.

He was well behind the leaders but caught up before the summit of the Mortirolo in the Italian Alps.

By the time Hirt crested the final climb on Valico di Santa Cristina, he was in the lead with Dutchman Thymen Arensman - who attacked earlier - 16 seconds behind, eventually crossing the line on his own seven seconds ahead of the Team DSM rider.

"I wanted to try to do something nice today. Every time I hear Mortirolo I want to anticipate. I wanted to go in the breakaway today," Hirt said.

"There were difficult moments when the group split, so then we had to come back on the Mortirolo. Then in the end on the last climb I had a problem with my bike, it was not shifting properly and the chain was jumping.

"Then I had cramps on the downhill. I had all these problems but I just wanted to fight all the way to the finish."

Overall leader Richard Carapaz of Ineos Grenadiers, Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) and Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) were in the group that sprinted for third - one minute and 24 seconds behind.

Australian Hindley eventually clinched third and received the time bonus that allowed him to cut Ecuadorean Carapaz's lead to three seconds ahead of Wednesday's stage 17.

"It's been a hard stage and at the end I'm happy. I thought I was going to win the sprint for third place," Maglia Rosa holder Carapaz said.

"I eventually didn't but it's still a good day for me. I've lost a few seconds on Hindley but I gained more on (UAE Team Emirates third-placed Joao) Almeida so the balance is positive," he added after moving 44 seconds clear of the Portuguese.

Source: Reuters

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