Tour of Italy: Tadej Pogacar as big favorite

Tour of Italy: Tadej Pogacar as big favorite
Tour of Italy: Tadej Pogacar as big favorite

The Tour of Italy begins today with a hilly first stage between Venaria Reale and Turin. It is likely to suit Tadej Pogacar, who is the overwhelming favorite of this 107th Giro.

Pogacar is tackling the immense challenge of winning the Giro and the Tour de France in the same year. No one since Marco Pantani in 1998 has achieved this tour de force which consists of linking two three-week odysseys for 42 stages and 6892 kilometers in total. In the more distant past, Fausto Coppi, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain achieved the double twice.

Measure your efforts

‘The Giro-Tour double is very difficult to achieve. You have to know how to measure your efforts,’ warns Indurain. And that’s not exactly Pogacar’s strong point, who wants to win every race he takes part in.

‘You have to be perfect for 21 days, 20 is not enough. One bad day can change everything’, insists the Italian Vincenzo Nibali, winner of the Tour in 2014 and the Giro in 2013 and 2016, who also highlights the often difficult weather conditions at the Giro.

Modest competition

But the elders also agree that if any runner can achieve the double, it is Pogacar, the most complete runner in the world. The Slovenian arrives with meticulous preparation and exudes health with seven victories in just ten days of racing in 2024. He notably succeeded in three demonstrations at the Strade Bianche, at the Tour of Catalonia and at Liège – Bastogne – Liège.

At the Tour of Italy, less mountainous than usual (7,000 m less altitude difference than in 2023), Pogacar has a significant margin over more modest competition. In truth, we don’t see who could worry him. Ben O’Connor, Geraint Thomas, second last year, Cian Uijtdebroeks and Romain Bardet are among the main outsiders, but they are playing a notch below.

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