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Taco van der Hoorn’s unexpected stage win was the 2021 positivity cycling fans needed

We all love an underdog story

Photo by: Sirotti

On May 10, Taco van der Hoorn, racing for Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Materiaux, won stage three of the Giro d’Italia. “Five months ago I considered quitting cycling because I had no contract,” he said. “Today, I won a stage of the Giro d’Italia.” The fans went wild.

Although we all have our favourite GC contenders, unexpected underdog moments, stories of riders winning against all odds, are some of the best in the sport. To add to Van der Hoorn’s elation, Belgian team Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Materiaux made their WorldTour level debut in 2021 and had yet to take a win (the only team without a victory so far this season.)

For most of the stage, it looked like the win might go Peter Sagan. With 6km to go, van der Hoorn, a Grand Tour debutante, went solo and was able to hold a gap. He only had a 15-second lead at the 1km mark but managed to hold off the bunch until the finish, checking behind himself almost in disbelief as he crossed the line.

“I can’t believe it,” he said in the post-race interview. “With 1km to go I was looking behind to see [if they were coming]…’ah f**k, I’m going to make it, what the f**k.’ Those last metres were really unbelievable.”

RELATED: Taco Monday: escapee van der Hoorn victorious on Stage 3 of the Giro d’Italia

Inspirational story

The unexpected result caused the internet, and the live spectators, to erupt in cheers.

Other pros also showed their support.

Many said the win was what cycling is all about.

While others declared him their new favourite cyclist.

The positive response was likely aided by his show of genuine emotion.

And, as expected, there were many taco (the food) jokes.