Third victory for Tadej Pogacar in eight stages since the start of the Giro

Third victory for Tadej Pogacar in eight stages since the start of the Giro
Third victory for Tadej Pogacar in eight stages since the start of the Giro

If some thought that Tadej Pogacar was going to loosen his grip on the race the day after his demonstration in the Perugia time trial, that he was going to let the escapees oil up front, they were for their cost. The Pink Jersey won on Saturday during the second finish at the top of the Giro, in Prati di Tivo, his third stage victory since the start, after his success at the top of the Oropa sanctuary, during the 2nd stage, and Friday’s time, therefore.

This time, no great flight, the Slovenian did not strain his talent but waited for a sprint in a small group, of around ten runners, to raise his arms, at the end of a finale where he will have mastered everything .

Plapp and Lutsenko exploded

Antonio Tiberi (Bahrain) had tried to pop the cork Rafal Majka, Pogacar’s last teammate, 1.8 km from the line, but the Pink Jersey went directly to get him himself. Then Thymen Arensman (Ineos) accelerated, Tiberi again, then Michael Storer, present in the breakaway of the day but who had managed to stay in the group of favorites. Except that each time, Pogacar brought everyone back. The Slovenian then benefited from a final stint from Majka, who had come from behind, and accelerated 200 meters from the finish to claim his 10th victory of the entire season. Daniel Martinez (Bora), runner-up to Pogacar in the general classification, and Ben O’Connor (Decathlon-AG2R) complete the podium.

In the general’s battle, Luke Plapp (5th Saturday morning) and Alexey Lutsenko (6th) were the big losers of the day, dropped more than 10 km from the summit of the last climb, when the Bora, with Maximilien Schachmann, had decided to take over from Pogacar’s UAE at the head of the group. The Australian from Jayco and the Kazakh from Astana were thus ejected from the top 10 overall.

Valentin Paret-Peintre was the last survivor of the breakaway, the last to be swallowed up 4 km from the finish by a very thin group of favorites. The fight to be at the front started early, from the first kilometer, on the climb out of Spoleto. It was on the first listed pass of the day, the Forca Capistrello (2nd category), that a group managed to gradually form, both on the ascent and on the descent. Romain Bardet (DSM-Firmenich), with an acceleration 6 km from the summit, was at the origin of the movement, with Simon Geschke (Cofidis) in his wheel and the pair was quickly joined by Georg Steinhauser (EF-EasyPost) then by Valentin Paret-Peintre (Decathlon-AG2R).

Alaphilippe and Bardet at the front

On the descent, it was the turn of a group of four – Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-Quick Step), Jhonathan Narvaez and Magnus Sheffield (Ineos), Alessandro Verre (Arkéa-B & B) – to catch up with the right car, before the return of a last hunting group to the valley, with Nairo Quintana and Pelayo Sanchez (Movistar), Alessandro De Marchi (Jayco), Michael Storer (Tudor), Martin Marcellusi (Bardiani), Henok Mulubrhan (Astana).

This group of 14 elements, who did not always collaborate well, never managed to build a lead of more than 2’30” over the peloton (70 km from the finish). He thus only counted 1’30” at the summit of Croce Abbio, second of the three passes of the day, 40 km from the finish. A gap which left little hope that the adventure could go to the end, since it was only 30 seconds at the foot of the last climb of more than 14 km.

In the end, Romain Bardet lost a few more points overall due to the failure of the breakaway. Note that Christophe Laporte, not recovered from his fall on the Lucca stage on Wednesday, did not start on Saturday morning.

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