Tadej Pogacar wins his first Tour of Italy, after an insolent domination and sets a date for the Tour de France

Tadej Pogacar wins his first Tour of Italy, after an insolent domination and sets a date for the Tour de France
Tadej Pogacar wins his first Tour of Italy, after an insolent domination and sets a date for the Tour de France

For his discovery of the Tour of Italy, Tadej Pogacar crushed the competition with a final victory obtained almost ten minutes ahead of Daniel Martinez. The Slovenian will also leave with the victory of six stages and the gain of the mountain classification. He is now launched towards his goal of a double with the Tour de France in July, where he will appear as the favorite.

After four years devoting himself to the Tour de France, Tadej Pogacar announced his participation in the Tour of Italy last December, in order to double for the first time with the Grande Boucle. Five months later, the Slovenian validated the first stage of his bet with flying colors, he who hopes to win the first two Grand Tours on the calendar during the same season.

>>> Relive the last stage of the Giro 2024

Geraint Thomas’ tribute: “Pogacar is the best runner I have raced against”

The feat has not been achieved since Marco Pantani in 1998. Several riders have failed in this quest, like Alberto Contador or Chris Froome. In addition to six stage successes and the mountain classification in his bag, Tadej Pogacar crushed the competition overall in this Giro. Daniel Martinez, his runner-up, finished almost 10 minutes behind. Knocked down by Primoz Roglic in Italy on the eve of the final finish last year and third this year, Geraint Thomas felt the weight of his 38 years against “Pogi”.

From the second stage, at the end of the climb of the Sanctuary of Oropa, Tadej Pogacar won his first bouquet, also recovering a pink jersey which he has not let go since. And this despite a small fall at the foot of the final climb. The next day, the Slovenian had fun attacking on a hill during a stage promised to the sprinters. Geraint Thomas held on but the 2018 Tour de France winner was never able to compete afterwards. Like everyone else. “Pogacar is the best rider I have raced against,” concluded the Briton this Saturday, also expected at the next Tour de France. “However, I have known many good ones.”

“Pogacar is so versatile, so aggressive, throughout the season. It’s crazy how talented he is,” summed up Geraint Thomas, who took third place in the 2022 Tour de France behind Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogačar. Because in view of the show offered in Italy by Pogacar, only the double title holder on the Grande Boucle seems able to compete. Except that the Dane is currently racing against the clock, against himself this time, to be at the start of the next Tour de France in Florence (June 29 in Florence).

What results for the French?

For French cycling, the results are rather very good. Headliner of the contingent, Julian Alaphilippe left with a stage victory, obtained during the 12th stage after a long escapade with the Italian Mirco Maestri. This duo will have left their mark, both by the former world champion’s ability to regain success after so many struggles and by the state of mind of his escape partner. The Soudal-QuickStep runner will have multiplied the attacks throughout the three weeks.

Coming with the ambition of the general classification and the hope of winning a stage to complete his collection on the Grand Tours, Romain Bardet (DSM-Firmenich Post NL) will finish ninth in the end. The Auvergnat missed his best chance at Bocca della Selva, where his compatriot Valentin Paret-Peintre (Decathlon – AG2R La Mondiale) beat him. The young climber (23 years old) revealed himself in the mountains, being a strong support for his leader Ben O’Connor. Finally, Benjamin Thomas will not be in Rome this Sunday but the Frenchman delivered Cofidis, who had not yet won this season, on the fifth stage after a breakaway on a stage dedicated to sprinters.

Pogacar sends a message before the Tour de France

The Visma-Lease a Bike staff has already indicated that Jonas Vingegaard will only take part in the Tour de France if he is in 100% physical condition. Having fallen on April 4 during the Tour of the Basque Country, the climber suffered a pulmonary contusion and a pneumothorax in addition to a fractured clavicle and several broken ribs. The timing to return to the top looks tight and since then, Tadej Pogacar has multiplied the attacks and victories.

Having fallen on April 23, 2023 during Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Tadej Pogacar did not present himself in his best form then at the last Tour de France. Competing for two weeks with Jonas Vingegaard, he finished 7’29” behind his rival. This time, the direction of history seems to have been reversed. If the competition will be fiercer this summer compared to the Giro, with notably Remco Evenepoel and Primoz Roglic, she does not seem to be from the same planet as this Pogacar. The 25-year-old prodigy will also have an armada at his service with Adam Yates, Juan Ayuso or Joao Almeida.

On the Tour of Italy, as soon as he wanted to win, Tadej Pogacar did not need to be asked. After a success in the time trial in Perugia, he did not strain his talent to beat his rivals in Prati di Tivo, waiting until the last moment. At Monte Pana, after having crucified the young Giulio Pellizzari without really wanting to, he gave his glasses and his pink jersey as an apology to the Italian, who has the same agent as him. In Livigno or this Saturday in Bassano del Grappa, the leader of the UAE Emirates finished with more than two minutes of margin. “Today (Saturday) was just another test before this summer, to see what happens,” Pogacar concluded. “I wanted to finish the Giro with a good mentality and good form. I think I achieved that.”

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