HIGHLIGHTS: Geoghegan Hart takes Giro d’Italia on final day; Chen, Bell, Hubbell+Donohue all win at Skate America; who is Beryl Gastaldello?

It was just this close at the end of stage 20 of the Giro d'Italia, with Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBR, right) edging Australia's Jai Hindley, Geoghehan Hart won the overall race on the final day. (Photo: ProCyclingStats)

Headline results of noteworthy competitions around the world:

Athletics ● The season is just about over, but Rio Olympic 50 km Walk champ Matej Toth (SVK) claimed a world-leading mark in the men’s 50 km Walk in the Dudince Fifty on Saturday.

Competing in the tiny spa town of Dudince, Slovakia, Toth led from the start and won easily in 3:41:15 – best of the year by more than two minutes – with Poland’s Rafal Augustyn second in 3:47:42 (no. 4 on the 2020 world list) and Ecuador’s Andres Chocho third in 3:48:57 (no. 6).

Cycling ● The mountain stages are usually the deciders in major cycling tours like the 103rd Giro d’Italia, but in 2020, it was only the table-setter.

On Saturday, the 20th stage was a misery-inducing triple climb that finished uphill at the Sestriere ski resort, with Australia’s Jai Hindley and Britain’s Tao Geoghegan Hart finishing together, with the Geoghegan Hart declared the winner in 4:52:45 over 190.0 km. Dutch star Wilco Kelderman finished 1:35 back in eighth place and lost the lead to the top two finishers, who were tied going into Sunday’s time trial!

Italy’s time-trial star Filippo Ganna won his second time trial and third stage in this year’s Giro, clocking 17:16 over the 15.7 km flat route to Milan, 32 seconds ahead of Victor Campanaerts (BEL) and Australia’s Rohan Dennis.

Behind them, Geoghegan Hart finished 13th, some 58 seconds behind Ganna, but good enough to beat Hindley (38th: -1:37) and Kelderman (11th: -0:55). Geoghegan Hart finished the 21 stages in 85:40:21, 39 seconds better than Hindley and 1:29 ahead of Kelderman. Portugal’s Joao Almeida, who led for 15 of the 21 stages in the race, was fourth, 2:57 behind.

Geoghegan Hart, 25, had never won a UCI World Tour race coming into the Giro, but took two stages and the grand prize. This was also the best-ever performance in a World Tour race for Hindley, 24, who won one stage and the silver medal.

The formidable triple-climb route of Stage 6 ended the first week of racing in the 75th Vuelta a Espana with a shuffling of the leaderboard.

Home favorite Ion Izagirre took the stage with a 25-second win over Canada’s Michael Woods in 3:41:00 for the 146.4 km route. The uphill finish to the Aramon Formigal ski resort in the Pyrenees took its toll and while Ecuadorian star Richard Carapaz finished 55 seconds back, leader – and defending champion – Primoz Roglic (SLO) was 1:38 behind and gave up the lead.

Going into Monday’s rest day, Carapaz now leads by 18 seconds over Hugh Carthy (GBR), 20 seconds over Dan Martin (IRL) and 30 seconds against Roglic. Those four are all within a minute; next best is Ernic Mas (ESP) at 1:07 back. But there is a long way to go.

Figure Skating ● Two-time World Champion Nathan Chen of the U.S. dominated the spectator-free Skate America at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, winning by almost 24 points.

This was the first event in the annual ISU Grand Prix Series, but was limited to mostly American performers and others training in the U.S. due to the coronavirus pandemic. Chen won his fourth Skate America title, charging to a big lead after the Short Program — 111.17 to 99.36 for Vincent Zhou – and then scored 187.98 in the Free Skate for a total of 299.15. Zhou finished second at 275.10 and Canada’s Keegan Messing was third with 266.42.

American Mariah Bell won her first Skate America title, racing to a 76.48-73.29 lead over Bradie Tennell, then holding on after scoring only fourth-best in the Free Skate. Tennell won the Free Skate, scoring 137.78, followed by Karen Chen (136.77), Audrey Shin (136.38) and then Bell (136.25). But Bell’s total of 212.73 was good enough to win, with Tennell second (211.07) and Shin third (206.15).

The new Pairs combination of Alexa Scimera Knierim and Brandon Frazier won easily, taking both the Short Program and Free Skate with a total of 214.77. That was well ahead of Jessica Calalang and Brian Johnson (USA: 207.40) and Audrey Lu and Misha Mitrofanov (USA: 189.65).

Worlds medalists Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue won their third straight Skate America, scoring 211.39 and well ahead of Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker (USA: 202.47) and Christina Carrera and Anthony Ponomarenko (USA: 185.78).

Next week’s Skate Canada International has been cancelled, so the ISU Grand Prix circuit will continue in Chongqing, China for the Shiseido Cup of China from 6-8 November 2020.

Judo ● The IJF World Tour emerged from the pandemic this week with the Budapest Grand Slam, showcasing 405 judoka from 61 countries.

Russia dominated the men’s competition, providing the 1-2 finishers in four of the seven weight classes, and claiming five golds from Yago Abuladze (-60 kg), Abdula Abdulzhalilov (-66 kg), Mikhail Igolnikov (-90 kg), Niyaz Ilyasov (-100 kg) and Inal Tasoev (+100 kg).

France was the only country with more than one winner in the women’s classes, with two-time Worlds medalist Amandine Buchard winning at -52 kg, and Audrey Tcheumeo taking the -78 kg division. Slovenia’s Tina Trstenjak (SLO), the Rio 2016 gold medalist, won at -63 kg. Kosovo’s Worlds bronze medalist at -48 kg, Distria Krasniqi, scored a noteworthy win over Argentina’s Olympic winner, Paula Pareto.

Swimming ● The third match of the ISL season featured the new Tokyo Frog Kings and Toronto Titans in action on Saturday and Sunday in short-course swimming at the Duna Arena in Budapest (HUN), but the L.A. Current managed a close victory.

The big individual winner was 25-year old, third-generation French Olympian Beryl Gastaldello, who won the 50 m Free (tie), 100 m Free, 50 m Back, 50 m Fly and 50 m Free Skins for L.A. Current. There were six other multi-event winners:

● Ryan Murphy (USA): Men’s 50 m Back (tie), 200 m Back, 50 m Back Skins
● Tom Shields (USA): Men’s 100 m Fly, 200 m Fly
● Vladimir Morozov (RUS): Men’s 50 m Free, 100 m Medley
● Anton McKee (ISL): Men’s 100 m Breast, 200 m Breast
● Kosuke Hagino (JPN): Men’s 200 m Medley, 400 m Medley
● Yui Ohashi (JPN): Women’s 200 m Medley, 400 m Medley

The Skins wins by Gastaldello and Murphy salted the meet away for L.A. Current, which finished with 535.5 points to 506.5 for Tokyo and 401.0 for Toronto, with the Aqua Centurions (Italy) forth with 260.0.

Another match will be held on Monday and Tuesday, notably including Breaststroke star Lilly King (USA), working on a perfect 18-for-18 streak in ISL races over two seasons.

Coming Attractions ● It’s a thin schedule this week with cycling’s Vuelta a Espana continuing into its second week in Spain, a possible Zagreb Grand Slam in Croatia and a Pan American Open in Ecuador in Judo.

The USA Track & Field National 5 km Championships, scheduled for 31 October in New York, has been cancelled.

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