Pogačar takes victory and the leader's pink jersey at end of second stage of Giro d'Italia

BIELLA, Italy (AP) — It only took Tadej Pogačar until the second day of his Giro d’Italia debut to make a mark on the Italian grand tour.

And the Slovenian star did it despite a puncture and a tumble, 11 kilometers (seven miles) from the end of the tricky second stage on Sunday, on the approach to the final climb.

Pogačar swiftly made his way back to the peloton and then attacked on his own four kilometers (2.5 miles) from the end to secure victory on the top-category uphill finish to Santuario di Oropa and the leader’s pink jersey.

Pogačar raised his arms and screamed in delight as he crossed the line, finishing 27 seconds ahead of Daniel Martínez and Geraint Thomas at the end of the undulating 161-kilometer (100-mile) route from San Francesco al Campo, that featured three categorised climbs.

The UAE Emirates cyclist took over the maglia rosa from Jhonatan Narváez, who had surprisingly edged Pogačar at the end of the opening stage on Saturday.

Pogačar moved 45 seconds ahead of last year's runner-up Thomas, who is likely to be his main challenger, and Martínez.

Rarely has the Giro had such an overwhelming pre-race favorite as Pogačar, with the two-time Tour de France winner targeting a Giro-Tour double.

Monday’s third stage sees the sprinters get their first chance of the race along the mainly flat, 166-kilometer (103-mile) route from Novara to Fossano.

The Giro ends in Rome on May 26.


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