Caught then went on the attack again, Steinhauser defied the predictions at the Giro: “As soon as I signed, I told myself that I had the legs to win”

Caught then went on the attack again, Steinhauser defied the predictions at the Giro: “As soon as I signed, I told myself that I had the legs to win”
Caught then went on the attack again, Steinhauser defied the predictions at the Giro: “As soon as I signed, I told myself that I had the legs to win”

The most bitter will say that the 2024 edition of the Giro is boring to death, with an ultra-dominant Tadej Pogacar and non-existent suspense. But those who put their prejudices aside to watch the stages of the 107th Giro d’Italia will tell you the opposite: it’s a lot of fun. The 17th stage, short and nervous (159 km), which arrived at the top of Passo Brocon (climbed by two different slopes in the finale), was proof of this. With a breakaway of ten men who took off from the Passo Sella, first pass of the day, and Cima Copi (highest summit) of the Giro.

Among them, we found regulars at the forefront: Julian Alaphilippe, Giulio Pellizzari, Marco Frigo and Nairo Quintana. But as has often been the case since the start of the Italian event, the gap never really increased. Worse, the fugitives were caught 60 kilometers from the finish, in the Passo Gobbera, by a DSM-firmenich team which seemed to want to launch major maneuvers for its leader, Romain Bardet. But when the latter tried to accelerate, it was a certain… Tadej Pogacar who got stuck in his wheel. “He can’t stop racing”, said the Frenchman with a yellow smile about the Slovenian in his post-race interview. Direct consequence of this aborted movement: the leading group slowed down. And two men from the initial breakaway, Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Lidl Trek) and Georg Steinhauser (EF Education-Easy Post) took the opportunity to try their luck again.

Pogacar widens the gap even further

And this time, the gap widened, so much so that Steinhauser, who had let go of his Eritrean companion on the first ascent of Passo Broco, started the final climb three minutes ahead. A cushion sufficient enough to win with one minute and 24 seconds from Tadej Pogacar who placed an acceleration in the group of favorites in the final, after having controlled all day. The pink jersey widened the gap a little further in the general classification (nearly 8 minutes ahead of the second place!) but what was especially important to remember was the great feat of this 22-year-old German who signed his first professional victory in great style, after having already finished 3rd in the queen stage on Sunday.

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When Pogacar attacked, I was nervous.

”It’s something incredible”, savored this roller-climber, who is taking part in the first grand tour of his young career. “It’s been several times that I felt that I had good legs. And I was very happy with my third place in Livigno. But today, just by signing, I told myself that I had the legs to win. Despite the somewhat special scenario, with this first escape taken very early, I tried again and it worked.”

A great reward for the one who saw Pogacar come back like a bullet in the finale. But the gap was too big to imagine the pink jersey topping it at the end (as happened in recent days at Quintana then Pellizzari). “In the last kilometers, I was just thinking about going as fast as possible, on this wet and slippery road. I was nervous when I heard Pogacar had attacked but there were only two kilometers left so I thought I would do it.” And he did it. To mark with a white stone what is perhaps the beginning of a great career.

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