Giro d'Italia 2012: Ryder Hesjedal is first Canadian to win the race

Ryder Hesjedal wins the Giro d'Italia

Ryder Hesjedal created cycling history when he became the first Canadian to win the Giro d'Italia.

Hesjedal, 31, snatched the leader's pink jersey from Spain's Joaquim Rodriguez after the 28.2km (17.5 mile) final-day time trial.

Briton Mark Cavendish came second in the points competition after Rodriguez overtook him on the penultimate stage.

Meanwhile, Britain's Geraint Thomas finished second in the final time trial behind Italian Marco Pinotti.

Overnight Rodriguez had led by 31 seconds in the overall standings but ended up 16 seconds behind in second with Thomas De Gendt third.

Hesjedal completed the time trial in 34 minutes, 15 seconds to finish the race in a total time of 91 hours, 39 minutes and 2 seconds.

Pinotti won the final stage in 33:06.

"It was just an unreal experience from day one, with what we've been able to do, with the support of the team," said Hesjedal.

"I couldn't have done it without them. I knew I was good when I came here. I just stayed focused and took advantage of the situation. I kept feeding off that support."

Hesjedal's victory is also the first Grand Tour podium finish for his Garmin team in their five-year history.

Final Stage 21 Standings:

1. Marco Pinotti (Ita/BMC Racing)

2. Geraint Thomas, (GB/Sky Procycling) at 39 seconds

3. Jesse Sergent, New Zealand, RadioShack-Nissan at 53 seconds

4. Alex Rasmussen (Den/Garmin-Barracuda) at 1 minute

5. Thomas De Gendt (Bel/Vacansoleil) at 1 minute 1 second

6. Ryder Hesjedal (Can/Garmin-Barracuda) at 1 minute 9 seconds

Overall Standings

1. Ryder Hesjedal (Can/Garmin-Barracuda), 91 hours, 39 minutes, 2 seconds

2. Joaquin Rodriguez, (Esp/Katusha) at 16 seconds

3. Thomas De Gendt (Bel/Vacansoleil) at 1 minute 39 seconds

4. Michele Scarponi (Ita/Lampre) at 2 minutes 5 seconds

5. Ivan Basso (Ita/Liquigas) at 3 minutes 44 seconds

6. Damiano Cunego (Ita/Lampre) at 4 minutes 40 seconds