Thomas De Gendt, 17 years after Johan Bruyneel

Thomas De Gendt, the big surprise of this year's Tour of Italy, took 5th place in the closing time trial of the cycle race, which allowed him to leapfrog Michele Scarponi on the final day to finish third overall.

Thomas De Gendt rides for the Vacansoleil team. He was supposed to compete in the Tour of France this year, but is getting married in July. The 25-year-old East Fleming hadn't come to the Giro d'Italia with strong ambitions: finishing in the top-20 would be nice.

During the race, he adapted his ambitions, hoping for the top-10. After yesterday's mountain stage, in which he took the most beautiful win of his career on the top of the Stelvio Pass, he was 4th in the overall rankings.

As time trials are his cup of tea, he could hope for more in the closing time trial. De Gendt took 5th place in the stage won by Marco Pinotti, to climb to 3rd place in the overall standings. Canada's Ryder Hesjedal took the final overall victory, depriving Spain's Joaquin Rodriquez of the pink jersey in the time trial.

It's the first time a Canadian wins of the three big stage races in cycling - Tour of Italy, Spain, or France. It's also 17 years ago that Belgium last a rider in the top-3. Johan Bruyneel was the last, in 1995 in the Tour of Spain. Where the Giro is concerned, the last Belgian on the final podium was Johan De Muynck, who won the Tour of Italy in 1978.

Final standings:

  1. Ryder Hesjedal (Canada/Garmin)
  2. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain/Katusha) 16 seconds behind
  3. Thomas De Gendt (Belgium/Vacansoleil) + 1 minute, 39 seconds
  4. Michele Scarponi (Italy/Lampre) + 2 minutes, 5 seconds
  5. Ivan Basso (Italy/Liquigas) + 3 minutes, 44 seconds