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2024 Giro d’Italia: Tadej Pogačar Wins!

cycling ita giro
Giro d’Italia 2024 Stage-by-Stage Recap & ResultsLUCA BETTINI - Getty Images

Two-time Tour de France champion Tadej Pogačar won the 2024 Giro d’Italia is dominating fashion. It was Pogačar’s first Tour of Italy win in his first try at the grand tour.

The race ran from May 4 to May 26 through the mountains of Italy. The first of three men’s grand tours, the Giro is arguably the most difficult. Pogačar won an incredible six stages in the Giro and finished 9 minutes, 56 seconds ahead of second place in the general classification—the largest margin of victory in the Tour of Italy since 1965, when Vittorio Adorni won by 11 minutes, 26 seconds.

Behind Pogačar, Daniel Martinez (BORA-hansgrohe) was second, and veteran Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers) was third, 10:24 behind the winner.

Check out stage-by-stage recaps of the action below.

Stage 21: Roma to Roma, 125 km

Merlier Grabs Third Stage Win to End the Giro in Rome

Stage Winner: Tim Merlier (Soudal Quick-Step)
Race Winner: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

It was an epic finish to the 2024 Giro d’Italia as fans were treated to one last final exciting sprint. Tim Merlier (Soudal Quick-Step) took home the stage victory in a thriller. It was the third stage win of the Giro for Merlier, who held off a hard-charging Jonathan Milan (Lidl-Trek).

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Milan suffered a mechanical late in the race, but amazingly, he was able to return to the peloton and have a shot at the stage win. But in the end, Merlier was too strong. Merlier went first and Milan tried to track him down, but came up just short.

Meanwhile, the GC was pretty much already locked coming into the day. Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) had a nearly 10-minute advantage on his next closest competitor in the overall standings. All he had to do on Sunday was avoid disaster. He did just that. The only surprise, perhaps, was that Pogačar didn’t mix it up with the sprinters at the end.

We kid, of course, but nothing would have surprised us from Tadej.

Stage 20: Alpago to Bassano del Grappa, 184 km

Pogačar Puts Exclamation Point on Epic Giro Ride

Stage Winner: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)
Race Leader: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

Tadej Pogačar’s dream Giro d’Italia had one last grand finale in the penultimate stage of the first grand tour of the 2024 season. Pogačar claimed his sixth stage victory of the Giro, putting his hold on the maglia rosa even further out of reach (not that his grip on the GC lead was in any doubt).

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Dario Belingheri - Getty Images

With 40km to go Pogačar’s UAE team managed pushed the pace and managed to drop many of the other GC contenders. Shortly thereafter, Pog attacked and no one was going with him. He brought it home to win yet another stage—this time by 2:07 over the next closest riders on the stage.

Pogačar’s GC lead—already well out of reach from anyone else—exploded to nearly 10 minutes. Daniel Martinez (BORA-hansgrohe) is the lone rider within 10 minutes, in second position, 9:56 back of Pogačar.

Stage 19: Mortegliano to Sappada, 157 km

Vendrame Soars to Victory in Mountainous Stage; Breakaway Dominates as Thomas Survives Late Crash

Stage Winner: Andrea Vendrame (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale)
Race Leader: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

May 24, 2024—The first part of the Giro d’Italia’s nineteenth stage offered some early fireworks, as a ten-strong breakaway put half a minute into the peloton almost immediately after the flag dropped. And no sooner was that group caught and absorbed into the peloton some twenty kilometers later did another attack launch, this time featuring perhaps this Giro’s hungriest breakaway artist, Soudal Quick-Step’s Julian Alaphillipe.

A group of nine chasers led by Alessandro De Marchi of Jayco-AlUla (who grew up in San Daniele del Friuli, which the peloton tore through at kilometer thirty-two) crossed and eventually caught Alaphillipe’s ten-man breakaway, creating a group of nineteen riders. Behind, the peloton sat up, allowing what was predicted to be the last chance for the breakaway in this year’s Giro to take shape.

However, the one-hundred-and-fifty-seven-kilometer stage from Mortegliano to Sappada was a day-long creep upwards that featured three climbs—a pair of category twos and a category three—in its final fifty-seven kilometers, which left the window ever-so-slightly open for the peloton.

But soon, the gap between the break and the peloton stretched to over nine minutes, eventually growing to sixteen minutes.

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Dario Belingheri - Getty Images

Alaphillipe exhibited some more of the aggression he’s displayed over the last two-and-a-half weeks, attacking and winning the final intermediate sprint of the day. He attacked immediately after, at the foot of the category three Sella Valcalda, with Stage 17 winner Georg Steinhauser of EF Education-EasyPost and Stage 1 winner Jhonatan Narváez of INEOS Grenadiers sticking to his wheel. Those three quickly became seven, however, with Steinhauser taking the KOM points over the Valcalda.

No sooner did the group begin to splinter did Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale’s Andrea Vendrame attack on the descent, quickly putting a minute of his own into the breakaway. Steinhauser and Movistar’s Pelayo Sánchez fought mightily to bring Vendrame back on the day’s final climb, the Cima Sappada. However, the gap only came down a bit, and Vendrame beat Sánchez by fifty-four seconds and Steinhauser by one minute and six seconds, winning the second Giro stage of his career.

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The drama was hardly over, however, as current third-place rider Geraint Thomas of INEOS Grenadiers accidentally crossed wheels with Antonio Tiberi of Bahrain Victorious and crashed suddenly with just under six kilometers to go. He quickly hopped on a backup bike and got back with the dozen-strong group that included the rest of the race’s current podium of Tadej Pogačar of UAE Team Emirates and Dani Martínez of BORA-hansgrohe. In a display of sportsmanship, the group sat up, allowing Thomas to get back on easily.

Sixteen minutes after Vendrame crossed the line, the maglia rosa group finished the stage. “In the beginning, I felt so bad,” said third-place finisher Georg Steinhauser. “I didn’t even plan to end up in the breakaway. Just planned to pull for Mikkel Honoré. On the steep climb, I followed Alaphillipe and my legs just opened up. I’ve had three really good performances. It’s just crazy.”

Stage 18: Fiera di Primiero to Padova, 178 km

Merlier Narrowly Beats Milan in Sprint Finish

Stage Winner: Tim Merlier (Soudal-Quick Step)
Race Leader: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

A long, flat stage meant a blisteringly fast sprint finish in Fiera di Primiero, with Tim Merlier (Soudal-Quick Step) narrowly beating Jonathan Milan (Trek-Lidl) by half a wheel length in the photo finish. And while Tadej Pogačar wasn’t lighting up the race today, he was sitting comfortably in the peloton, maintaining his massive GC lead.

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Pool - Getty Images

The 178-kilometer flat stage meant plenty of early attacks, and with a wet start to the race, riders had a lot of incentive to stay safe but keep the speed high to avoid the predicted afternoon thunderstorms. For Stage 18, the race whittled down even further, with 144 riders starting the stage. Christian Scaroni of Astana Qazaqstan pulled out due to illness.

The early breakaway that did stick included Mikkel Honore (EF Education First-Cannondale), Andrea, Filippo Fiorelli (VF Group Bardiani-CSF Faizanè), and unsurprisingly, Andrea Pietrobon and Mirco Maestri (Team Polti Kometa), who’ve been lighting up breakaways the entire Giro. The group maintained a gap that ranged from 40 seconds to nearly two minutes.

Visma-Lease a Bike’s Edoardo Affini bridged the gap to the lead group with 50 kilometers to go, joining the four race leaders with the peloton only 30 seconds behind. 25 kilometers later, the group of five still had a small gap of just 10 seconds, but the peloton seemed unable or unwilling to close the gap.

In the final 10 km, it was clear that the breakaway would come back—it was just a matter of time. The group of five shattered as leadout trains upped the pace of the peloton and swallowed the leaders. Thyme Arensman, the INEOS-Grenadiers rider sitting in sixth in the GC, was forced to pull to the side with a minor mechanical, but his teammate Jhonatan Narváez was able to help him reconnect with the peloton.

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Edoardo Affini (Visma-Lease a Bike), Filippo Fiorelli (VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè), and Mikkel Frolich Honore (EF Education-EasyPost) in the breakaway passing Mirano village while fans cheer during the 107th Giro d’Italia 2024.Tim de Waele - Getty Images

Coming into the finish in Fiera di Primiero, the sprint seemed like it was beginning with 5 km to go as the top teams swarmed the front. The peloton charged towards the finish in a massive swarm, with Lidl-Trek starting the sprint without their team leader (and sprint point race leader), Johnathan Milan, on the front. Confusion slowed the group momentarily, but Milan was able to find some space to move close to the front. Tim Merlier (Soudal-Quick Step) took advantage of the confusion and narrowly took the sprint over Milan, with Kaden Groves (Alpecin - Deceuninck) in third.

“It was important today to be in good position,” said Merlier. “I was a bit surprised. The last kilometer was really fast, with two corners… In the final moment, I started my sprint and had to go a bit around, but I made it.”

When asked if this late-stage win is a step up in Merlier’s career, he enigmatically said: “The haters will be disappointed.”

Of course, no one in the GC was coming close to race leader Tadej Pogačar, whose lead still sits at nearly eight minutes ahead of second place. Behind him, there were no shakeups in the top 10, with Daniel Felipe Martinez and Geraint Thomas sitting second and third, respectively. In the race for the overall points jersey, Milan seems to have cemented his overall lead even if he didn’t take the win.

As always, hat tip to the Giro social crew for gems like this: https://twitter.com/giroditalia/status/1793609885969727851



Stage 17: Selva di Val Gardena/Wolkenstein in Gröden to Passo del Brocon, 159 km

Steinhauser Nabs First Professional Victory

Stage Winner: Georg Steinhauser (EF Education-EasyPost)
Race Leader: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

After the confusion and cold, driving rain of Tuesday’s 16th stage, today’s stage 17 offered a bit of normalcy. Still, as today’s stage coursed through the grand Dolomites, riders were wrapped in jackets, knee warmers, and full-finger gloves.

The 159-kilometer stage stretched from Selva di Val Gardena to Passo del Brocon, offering up the Giro’s final summit finish.

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Dario Belingheri - Getty Images

Once again, Julian Alaphillipe attacked early, eventually finding himself as part of an eight-man break that included Nairo Quintana of Movistar, Damiano Caruso of Bahrain Victorious, Marco Frigo of Israel-Premier Tech, Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier of Lidl-Trek, Davide Ballerini of Astana Qazaqstan, Georg Steinhauser of EF Education-EasyPost, and yesterday’s near-winner, Giulio Pellizzari of VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizane. However, the break was caught with sixty-one kilometers to go, a bit less than halfway up the category 3 Passo Gobbera, one of the day’s five categorized climbs.

Ghebreigzabhier attacked again over the top of the climb. EF Education-EasyPost’s Georg Steinhauser caught him soon after, and himself went clear a dozen kilometers later.

It was an attack that proved to be the winning move, as Steinhauser soloed to victory over the race’s final thirty-four kilometers.

Of course, not before Tadej Pogačar launched an attack of his own in the final two kilometers, eating nearly forty seconds out of Steinhauser’s lead, which was at two-minutes when Pogi went clear of Geraint Thomas and Dani Martinez. Had Pogačar attacked one kilometer earlier, he very likely might be celebrating his sixth stage win today.

It was the 22-year-old Steinhauser’s first professional victory.

“I could already be happy with just with the Queen stage of the Giro,” said Steinhauser, who finished third on Sunday’s stage 15. “Today, when I rode to the sign-on, I thought to myself, ‘Fuck, I have good legs. Maybe I will win today.’ I went from the beginning of the break. It was a little bit strange because we got caught by the peloton. But I thought I had to try again and I did and it worked out.”

Stage 16: Livigno to Santa Cristina Valgardena/St. Christina in Gröden, 202 km

Pogačar Makes It Five

Stage Winner: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)
Race Leader: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

May 21, 2024—For the first time in this year’s Giro d’Italia, the weather played a factor. And it did so in more ways than one.

Last week, it was announced that the Passo dello Stelvio, originally slated for today’s sixteenth stage, was removed from the stage for fear of avalanche. That left the still-might Umbrailpass, a 16.7-kilometer climb that averages 7.2 percent and tops out at two thousand five hundred meters.

However, as bitter rain fell, the stage was again shortened, removing the Umbrail Pass, after the riders unanimously agreed not to race the stage unless the summit was removed from the parcours. Thus, the UCI’s Extreme Weather Protocol was invoked, and the stage was shortened to one hundred and twenty-one kilometers with just a pair of summits on the day.

Riders and team managers grumbled amid the confusion of the early morning, but AG2R Decathlon La Mondiale’s GC guy Ben O’Connor didn’t mince words.

“It’s probably one of the worst organized races. I’m just being honest. This would never happen in 99 percent of other situations,” O’Connor told Eurosport. “It’s just a shame that it is 2024, and you have dinosaurs who really don’t see the human side of things. I would still like to ride the stage, but I don’t want to ride over 2,500 meters. It is already five degrees (Celsius) and pouring rain, and at 2,500 meters, it is already snowing. I’d like to see (race director Mauro Vegni) in our position, go outside on the bike and do the start of the stage, and see what his answer is after those couple of hours.”

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Tim de Waele - Getty Images

The stage did start, albeit a few hours late, and saw an immediate attempt at a breakaway. After a few futile efforts, a small, four-man break of Soudal Quick-Step’s Julian Alaphillipe, Polti Komete’s Mirco Maestri, Astana Qazaqstan’s Davide Ballerini, and EF Education-EasyPost’s Andrea Piccolo stuck, eventually putting up to a two-minute lead into the group.

The day’s two climbs came in quick succession, with the summit of the first—the category 1 Passo Pinei—coming just twelve kilometers before the second: the day’s category 2 summit finish atop the Monte Pana. The two nearly combined climbs made for a final thirty-six kilometers that were ostensibly uphill.

Shortly after the start of the first climb, Julian Alaphillipe launched a solo attack, quickly gapping his three breakmates by a minute. That lead was whittled down to just twenty seconds at the top of the Pinei, and Alaphillipe was swallowed up by a three-man chasing group of Ewen Costiou of Arkéa B&B Hotels, Giulio Pellizzari of VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè, and Christian Scaroni of Astana Qazaqstan after the start of the final climb.

Those four became three when Alaphillipe fell off the back at the 3-kilometer mark. Pellizzari and Costiou traded punches at the front before the twenty-year-old Italian made a final and seemingly decisive move with a kilometer-and-a-half to go.

But Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) once again proved that he might not be of this world, launching a move that quickly caught and dropped Costiou and Scaroni before catching Pellizzari and winning his fifth stage of this year’s Giro.

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Dario Belingheri - Getty Images

Behind the man in pink, BORA-hansgrohe’s Dani Martínez snatched second back from Ineos Grenadiers’ Geraint Thomas in this Grand Tour’s most (and possibly only) compelling competition.

“(Movistar) went really fast on the final climb,” Pogačar said. “The final two kilometers, we tried to control. Then Rafa (Majka) had enough, and he said, ‘Yeah, we push on.’ I was thinking that Pellizzari would win today’s stage. I’m super happy that he got second.”

“Actually, today we didn’t want to go for the stage,” said Rafaeł Majka, Pogačar’s UAE teammate. “On the last climb, I said (to Pogačar), ‘Go on, man.’”

Stage 15: Manerba del Garda to Livigno, 222 km

It’s All Pogačar Once Again

Stage Winner: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)
Race Leader: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

Tadej Pogačar did it again on Sunday’s Queen Stage at the Giro d’Italia. Pogačar claimed his fourth stage win of the Giro and extended his own lead in the general classification in another brilliant show of strength.

A big breakaway was able to stay away for much of the day, and the veteran Nairo Quintana (Movistar) was the last remaining rider. The 34-year-old Quintana was all alone with under 20km in the stage.

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LUCA BETTINI - Getty Images

But Pogačar, of course, was on the hunt. With 1 km to go, Pogačar set off on his solo mission to catch Quintana and win the stage. He timed in well, making the pass with 2km to go and quickly gapping Quintana. It was yet another incredible performance from Pogačar, who has continued to dazzle through the first 15 stages of the Tour of Italy.

All told, Pogačar won the stage by 29 seconds over Quintana, who settled for second after a long day out front. Pogačar added almost another three minute buffer between him and his closest GC rivals. Daniel Martinez (BORA-hansgrohe) and Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers) finished 2:50 back on Pogačar on the day. Ben O’Connor (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale) was 2:58 back.

Pogačar lead in the GC has swelled to an almost unbelievable 6:41 over second place Thomas, and 6:56 over third place Martinez. It seems that Pogačar just needs to remain upright during the last week of the Giro and he will claim another grand tour victory.

Pogačar was his usual self after the stage, celebrating the fact that the second rest day of the Giro comes tomorrow. “Drink to that!” he said before taking a swig of hot tea.

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Stage 14: Castiglione delle Stiviere to Desenzano del Garda (Individual Time Trial), 31.2 km

Ganna Gets His ITT Stage Victory

Stage Winner: Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers)
Race Leader: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

Eight days after he roasted on the hot seat for much of the day only for the maglia rosa to steal the spotlight at the last minute, Filippo Ganna was able to exact some revenge and get his time trial stage victory at the 2024 Giro d’Italia.

With just 150 meters of elevation gain, the stage certainly played into the hands of Ganna, the time trial specialist from INEOS. It was tailor made for a big performance. It was on the final climb of the Stage 7 time trial where Ganna lost crucial seconds to Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and finished second on the stage. There would be no stage victory stealing from Pog this time.

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Ganna, in the Italian champion’s jersey, put down a time of 35:02 to set a strong early standard. Of course, with Pogačar, there are no guarantees. The race leader put down a solid performance—29 seconds off Ganna and enough for second on the stage, furthering his lead in the general classification.

Pogačar entered the stage with a 2:40 over second position Daniel Martinez (BORA-hansgrohe) and 2:56 over third position Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers). After the Stage 14 TT, Pogačar extended his lead to 3:41 over Thomas, who slipped into second place in the GC with a strong ride, and 3:56 over Martinez.

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Stage 13: Riccione to Cento, 179 km

Jonathan Milan Takes Third Giro Victory

Stage Winner: Jonathan Milan (Lidl-Trek)
Race Leader: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

May 17, 2024—After an action-packed opening two weeks, it was an atypically quiet day on a flat stage that was one of the last chances for the sprinters to shine in this year’s Giro d’Italia.

The lake-flat 179-kilometer stage took the riders from Riccone, on the Adriatic, to Cento, a small medieval city directly north of Bologna. And as they often do on flat stages, crosswinds battered the peloton all day.

Of course, there was a breakaway. Given the rate at which breakaways have turned into winning moves in this race, as much was expected. But the leading group never got more than a few dozen seconds clear of the peloton. With just over fifty kilometers left to race, the peloton caught the small group off the front. However, the breakaway again fought valiantly, keeping themselves on a rubber band just a few seconds ahead. Again, they built up a near-minute lead before the peloton steadfastly reeled them back in.

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A two-man breakaway of Martin Marcellusi of VF-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè and Dries de Pooter of Intermarché-Wanty built up a lead upwards of thirty seconds before a crash tangled up several riders with just under twenty kilometers to go. However, as it was toward the back of the pack, it had little effect on the stage results and the GC riders.

A few moments later, de Pooter ended up off the front alone. But his attack lasted just a few kilometers, and he was swallowed up with nine kilometers to go.

The group was disorganized as they crossed under the 5 km banner, with teammates peppered throughout the peloton. From there, the pace ratcheted up instantly, everyone trying to find position and leadout men for the day’s final stretch, which included several technical turns and pinch points.

Lidl-Trek’s Jonathan Milan, the current maglia ciclamino, spent much of the day at the front, though his legs apparently didn’t suffer much. He was right there battling for the sprint finish.

Movistar’s Fernando Gaviria was the first to launch with less than five hundred meters to go. But it was Milan, coming off Gaviria’s wheel with about two hundred meters left, who took the line, notching his third win of this Giro and tightening his stranglehold on the maglia ciclamino.

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“It’s about the team,” said Simone Consonni, one of Milan’s key leadout men, immediately following the stage. “They were unbelievable today.”

Milan echoed the sentiment in his postrace interview. “The guys did an amazing job,” he said. “They delivered me in the perfect position. It was impressive how the guys rode today, how everyone did his part, how everyone pushed for this team goal. When everyone is believing all this, this is the end. I'm super proud of the guys on my team. I have to say ‘thanks’ to them.”

Stage 12: Martinsicuro to Fano, 193 km

Julian Alaphilippe Takes Stunning Victory in Signature Style

Stage Winner: Julian Alaphillippe (Soudal-Quickstep)
Race Leader: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

May 16, 2024— Stage 12 turned out to be a lightning-fast stage over a hilly course with 2,200 meters of elevation, leading to some animated racing from the breakaway, chase groups, and even the peloton, where GC riders sat hoping for the race to calm down. But for 193 km, it never really did.

The victory was taken with aggression and style by two-time World Champion Julian Alaphillippe (Soudal-Quickstep). Alaphilippe was part of a huge breakaway battle that started in the Marche region, and at an average of 47 kilometers per hour, it turned out to be one of the top ten fastest stages in Giro history. Jhonatan Narváez (INEOS Grenadiers) finished in second, and Quinten Hermans (Alpecin-Deceuninck) was third after the chase-group sprint in Fano.

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This is the Soudal-Quickstep rider’s first win since last year’s Critérium du Dauphiné and his first at a Grand Tour since 2021. The win also completes his Grand Tour stage-win set and adds to his six Tour de France stage victories and one La Vuelta a España win.

Alaphilippe launched the first of many attacks about 138 km from the finish before meeting his breakaway companion Mirco Maestri (Polti-Kometa). Their effort would hold off the chasers until Alaphilippe attacked the last ascent 11.5 km from the finish.

“I didn’t plan it. I was expecting a big group to be in the breakaway. First, I have to thank my teammates who perfectly controlled the first 60 km. I was focused on being on the front,” said the Frenchman in the post-race interview.

Alaphilippe believed he could win the stage, but made sure to continue working and hold off the chasers. “Until the last kilometer, I had to keep pushing full gas because I hear Narvaez was close behind me,” he said. “It was my dream to win a stage of the Giro.”

While Maestri would have certainly liked to finish behind a champ like Alaphilippe, the chase caught up to him on the last climb, and he went on to finish in 9th place. “He also deserved to win today. He was amazing. We collaborated super well,” said Alaphilippe.

This is how the stage went down. At 140 km to go, Alaphilippe, along with Andrea Piccolo, sparked a decisive move on an uncategorized climb, prompting a group of former stage winners to join in the action. As the breakaway materialized, Alaphilippe initiated another acceleration, reducing the group’s size to just him and Maestri, leaving the peloton behind.

Although the breakaway initially held a substantial advantage, cooperation within the group was scarce, allowing the chasing peloton to gain ground. As the race approached the final climb, Alaphilippe made his move, leaving Maestri behind in pursuit of the stage win.

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Jan Hirt (Soudal-QuickStep), who sits in 11th place in the GC, tried to get in the early break, but team Bahrain Victorious, who has rider Antonio Tiberi sitting in 5th in the GC, made sure Hirt wouldn’t get very far.

While Alaphilippe dominated the finale, Narváez showcased his strength by securing second place. Behind them, the GC contenders remained cautious; race leader Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) stayed safe in the peloton alongside Dani Martínez (Bora-hansgrohe), and Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers). Bora-hansgrohe did attempt to position Martínez for a potential attack, but it never materialized. With the flat stages ahead and a crucial time trial looming, the focus has shifted to preserving energy and maintaining position in the overall standings.

Stage 11: Foiano di Val Fortore to Francavilla al Mare, 207 km

Jonathan Milan Beats Tim Merlier and Kaden Groves in Messy Sprint Finish

Stage Winner: Jonathan Milan (Lidl-Trek)
Race Leader: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

May 15, 2024—After a bit of whistle-wetting with Stage 10’s summit finish, the sprinters again took the spotlight for Wednesday’s Stage 11.

The 207-kilometer stage that started in Foiano di Valfortore kicked off with a few bumps in the road before the parcours sloped gently downward toward the sea, with the day’s final hundred kilometers offering more or less a flat run into Francavilla al Mare.

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A small breakaway built a two-minute-and-forty-second lead heading into the day’s only classified climb, the category three Pietracatella, which pitched up at the stage’s fortieth kilometer. But they were slowly reeled in along the flat Adriatic coastline and fully caught one-hundred-and-thirty kilometers late, with just over thirty-five kilometers to go.

Despite a fruitless late attack from EF Education-EasyPost’s Andrea Piccolo, the peloton stayed together at a blistering pace of well over sixty kilometers per hour (occasionally over seventy).

With 4 kilometers to go to the finish, the course bent a hard ninety degrees, a brief wrench thrown into an otherwise straightforward day. And other than a bit of slowing, the peloton came through the turn unscathed.

Movistar’s Fernando Gaviria launched first with just a few hundred meters to go, but by the time the final meters ticked down, the race came down to Soudal Quick-Step’s Tim Merlier and current and reigning maglia ciclamino Jonathan Milan of Lidl-Trek. It marks Milan’s second win in this year’s Giro.

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LUCA BETTINI - Getty Images

“Our team put me in a really good position,” Merlier said immediately following the stage.“Perfect job from the guys. It’s just a shame that I couldn’t win for them.”

One developing non-racing story to keep an eye on is just how many riders have abandoned due to an illness that is spreading through the peloton. Twenty-one riders have thus far dropped out of the Giro d’Italia, several due to crash-related injuries. However, an inordinate amount of riders have packed it in, citing fevers and viral symptoms.

Just one day after winning Stage 9, Visma-Lease a Bike’s Olav Kooij abandoned with illness during Monday’s rest day. The following day, his team leader, Cian Uijtdebroeks, suffered the same fate. Visma’s main leadout man, Christophe Laporte, crashed out on Stage 4, leaving last year’s world beaters with just four riders left and two weeks still to race.

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Stage 10: Pompei to Cusano Mutri, 142 km

Paret-Peintre Claims His First Professional Win

Stage Winner: Valentin Paret-Peintre (Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale)
Race Leader: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

Fresh off a rest day, it was all out from the flag drop on today’s stage. With 142 km to cover, it was a relatively short stage. Riders had a long warmup before the climbing started. This stage featured a summit finish on a new climb, the Category 1 Bocca della Selva, with a deceiving 4.6-percent average gradient. Jan Tratnik (Visma-Lease a Bike) led for more than 25 km, but it was Valentin Paret-Peintre (Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale) who finally caught him and took his first professional win.

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Dario Belingheri - Getty Images

Despite pleasant temperatures, riders had to contend with wet roads and rain. Staying upright required all the bike handling skills and smart choices on turns and descents. Riders also had to maneuver around a dog on the course—likely a stray.

The first sprint came at 52 km in Arpaia. Alessandro De Marchi (Jayco-AlUla) took first, Simon Clarke (Israel-Premier Tech) took second, and Kaden Groves (Alpecin Deceuninck) crossed the line in third.

At 73 km, the lead group and the chase group were still fairly chaotic. Alessandro De Marchi and Simon Clarke remained the lead duo, followed by many attacks. Eventually, we saw a breakaway group of 27 riders.

The 6.1 km category 2 climb at Camposauro saw Simon Geschke (Cofidis) take first, Filippo Fiorelli (VF Group–Bardiani–CSF–Faizanè) second, and Enzo Paleni (Groupama-FDJ) third.

Eventually, Simon Clarke was dropped by the breakaway and caught by the peloton. With 28 km to go, Tratnik took a solo lead. Tratnik took the bonus sprint points at Cusano Mutri with 20 km to go. He remained out front into the final climb of the stage.

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Tim de Waele - Getty Images

The Bocca della Selva climb started with just under 18 km to go. Riders climbed 976 meters (3,202 feet) with a maximum gradient of 10 percent. A plateau broke up the climb a little over halfway through.

With less than 3 km to go, Tratnik was finally caught by Paret-Peintre, followed by Romain Bardet (dsm-firmenich PostNL).

Following in his brother (and teammate) Aurélien’s footsteps, and just ahead of his idol, Bardet, Paret-Peintre took his first professional win. Previously, his best Giro stage result was 31st place. This was the 15th win for Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale. It’s like they gained superpowers by abandoning the brown bibs.

In his post-race interview, Paret-Peintre said that he decided to go for it in the final kilometers because it was the toughest section, and he felt like he had it in his legs. “I can’t describe what I feel now. It’s just amazing,” said Paret-Peintre. “I was there to go for a good result and why not win? Now, I have a Giro stage win for my first pro win. It’s amazing.

“I saw that the last 4 km was the hardest, so I said, ‘ok, if I want to attack, it’s in the last 4km, so I was waiting waiting waiting for all the last climb, then when I see the last 3 km, I attacked.”

Tratnik took third at the summit, after a strong and successful ride. There were lots of changes in the top ten, with a huge scramble for seconds with the chase group. But no change in the pink jersey going into Stage 11. Is it possible that Tadej Pogačar is finally riding a bit conservatively?


Stage 9: Avezzano to Naples, 214 km

Olav Kooij Takes First-Ever Grand Tour Stage Win

Stage Winner: Olav Kooij (Visma-Lease a Bike)
Race Leader: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

The longest stage so far is arguably one of the easier stages despite covering 214 km. Compared to the gravel stage, a short, hard time trial, and the brutal summit finish in yesterday’s stage, Avezzano to Naples may have a lot of distance, but it was relatively flat and fast. While a valiant effort from Polti Kometa’s Andrea Pietrobon and Mirco Maestri kept the two riders away for most of the race, Julian Alaphilippe and Jhonathan Narváez both made impressive attacks in the final kilometers. But it came down to a sprint finish that was played perfectly by Visma-Lease a Bike’s Olav Kooij.

The long, flat start meant plenty of attacks from early on, with Soudal-QuickStep, EF Pro Cycling and Bahrain Victorious as some of the early teams to head to the front. But the first early attack that stuck came from Polti Kometa’s Andrea Pietrobon and Mirco Maestri—they grew a gap of over two minutes, but the peloton behind seemed unbothered. As always, kudos to the Giro Twitter feed for gems like this:

The two led for much of the race, maintaining a nearly two-minute gap at 65 km to go—a no man’s land with the intact peloton behind and charging hard. The Alpecin-Deceuninck team led the peloton behind Pietrobon and Maestri as the two teammates continued to sweep up sprint points.

A crash at 57 km to go saw three Ineos Grenadiers, including Geraint Thomas—currently third in the general classification—go down. But with his teammates, Thomas was unconcerned and was back on and riding back to the peloton quickly.

Meanwhile, the peloton began to pull the Polti Kometa riders back, dropping the gap to 1:20 with 53 km to go. UAE Team Emirates and EF Education-EasyPost took control of the front of the peloton as the three Ineos Grenadiers, including Thomas, made their way back into it.

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LUCA BETTINI - Getty Images

At 27 km to go, Julian Alaphillipe launched an attack with the two leaders just 10 seconds ahead. He swiftly chased them down with teammate Nicola Conci as they closed on the top of the punchy climb. Alaphilippe raced past the Polti Kometa riders, continuing his attack up the road. Kevin Vermaerke (dsm-firmenich PostNL) and Lewis Askey (Groupma FDJ) were able to launch themselves from the peloton and attach themselves to the now-six-man strong lead group.

Behind them, attacks came fast and furious from the peloton as the clock ticked down on Stage 9, and riders tried to bridge up to the lead group. Arkea-B&B Hotels’ Ewen Costiou made his way across the now-lowered gap, and the peloton struggled to get organized to chase with Lidl-Trek on the front.

Costiou and Alaphillipe attacked, spearing themselves from the lead group, opening a 15-second gap to the five riders behind them. The peloton continued to reel in the leaders, tightening the gap between them and the now-chase group to only four to 10 seconds.

While Costiou and Alaphillipe made a valiant effort, on the final climb with 10 km to go, Costiou couldn't hold the pace, and Alaphillipe was forced to continue his attack solo, reestablishing a 10-second lead on the peloton as he raced out of the saddle and towards the finish.

But he couldn't quite make it. He was absorbed by the peloton at just over 7 kilometers to go, as Ineos Grenadiers’ Jhonatan Narváez made an attack, opening a five-second gap as the peloton splintered on the climb.

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Tim de Waele - Getty Images

Stage 1 winner Narváez hit the final descent at 3 km to go, enjoying the use of the entire road on the downhill. He held an 8-second gap as the peloton started to organize for the final sprint.

With 1400 meters to go, Narváez had a 12-second gap as the small peloton, including Pogačar, tried to prepare for the sprint. But Narváez was unable to hold on to his gap as the teams massed behind him, swallowing him up with under a hundred meters to go.

Visma-Lease a Bike’s Olav Kooij ultimately took the sprint win ahead of Lidl-Trek's Jonathan Milan and Juan Sebastián Molano (UAE Team Emirates), who was led out by race leader Pogačar. (“If I can help… it’s better for me to be in front and help my friend,” he said in the post-race interview, adding, “I’m really looking forward to the rest day tomorrow.”)

Stage 8: Spoleto to Prati de Tivo, 152 km

Pogačar Sprints to Victory and Maintains Overall Lead

Stage Winner: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)
Race Leader: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

We know he can win races with dramatic breakaways, but it turns out Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) also can perfectly play out a sprint. In today’s race, he just narrowly outsprinted Daniel Martínez (Bora-hansgrohe) and Ben O’Connor (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale) for the win at the top of the steep final ascent to the finish.

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Dario Belingheri - Getty Images

In case you were wondering, Pogačar has continued to opt for the full pink kit after the sartorial debacle earlier this week.

Today marked the first major mountain stage of the Giro, with some of the classic climbs we love to see. Right from the start, it was clear that riders were going to be attempting breakaways before, during, and after every climb. Mountain stages at the Giro are often where we see unlikely stage winners thanks to a breakaway that comes as a surprise and actually sticks.

By 20 km into the race, a large group had formed at the front, but only 20 seconds separated them from the full might of the peloton. The group ebbed and flowed, and was cut down to 14 riders by just under 100 km to go. Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Romain Bardet (dsm–firmenich PostNL) and Magnus Sheffield (INEOS Grenadiers) were a few of the riders making moves in the lead group, and their lead stretched to over 2 minutes ahead of the peloton at 61 km to go.

But when a team like UAE Team Emirates is chasing the breakaway to preserve Pogačar’s overall lead, does it stand much of a chance?

“We thought the breakaway had a good chance, to be honest,” said Thomas in a post-race interview. “Obviously, UAE set a good tempo on the climb, and I guess because it was still quite close, I don’t know if they decided to go for the stage in the beginning, but they certainly decided to go for it in the end.”

As the group hit 15 km to go, heading towards the final climb into Prati di Tivo, the gap had dropped to just over 30 seconds. While several riders made valiant efforts to hold off the peloton, Pogačar sped into the finish with a group of seven riders and ultimately took the sprint.

However, the GC remained relatively unchanged, since seven of the top finishers on the stage were in the top eight in the GC, which is now led by Pogačar by 2:40 over Martinez and Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers).

“I wasn’t expecting this today,” Pogačar said in the post-race press conference, making him pretty much the only person in the world who wasn’t expecting it.

Stage 7: Foligno - Perugia (Individual Time Trial), 40.6 km

Pogačar Strengthens Grip on Pink Jersey

Stage Winner: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)
Race Leader: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

165 riders rolled down the little pink ramp this morning, each one minute apart, for the first time trial of this year’s Giro.

Vicious crosswinds pushed riders across the road at points, their giant disc wheels acting as windsails, slowing down even some of the most skilled time triallists around.

And there is arguably no rider more skilled on a TT bike than INEOS Grenadiers’ Filippo Ganna, one of the world’s fastest men in the race against the clock.

“Top Ganna” is what the commentators called him, saying that everyone else looked like a passenger plane next to the fighter jet that is Ganna.

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Tim de Waele - Getty Images

However, the 40.6-kilometer stage included a mighty pitch in the final stretch, gaining over two hundred meters over the last four kilometers, whose multi-digit grades benefitted some of the punchier riders in the bunch. After all, today’s time trail ran from Foligno to Perugia, across the undulating hills of Umbria.

By the time Geraint Thomas—who started the day in second place in the GC standings—rolled down the ramp, his INEOS Grenadiers teammates held all three positions on the podium (Ganna, Thymen Arensmen, Magnus Sheffield). By the time he crossed the line, those results held.

But there was only one rider left in the starting tent behind Thomas: current pink jersey, race favorite, and generational talent across a variety of disciplines, Tadej Pogačar.

Going back to his stunning time trial on the penultimate stage of the 2020 Tour de France, where he snatched the yellow jersey from Primož Roglič, Pogačar has displayed that he, too, is one of the world’s great time triallists.

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LUCA BETTINI - Getty Images

And today, that skill on a TT bike threw a wrench directly into the works of INEOS’s 1-2-3 day, as Pogačar made up over a minute on the stage’s final six kilometers. Pogačar finished seventeen seconds ahead of Ganna, giving the UAE Team Emirates superstar the stage win.

A bunch of INEOS riders who couldn’t quite nip Pogačar. Seems to be one of the themes emerging from this year’s Giro.

Pogačar’s ride put nearly two additional minutes into his nearest rivals in the GC standings, increasing his overall lead from 46 seconds to 2:36.

Meanwhile, BORA-hansgrohe’s Dani Martinez, who entered the day in third place overall, bested Geraint Thomas by thirteen seconds on the stage, putting him ten seconds ahead of Thomas in the GC standings.

“There was a lot of preparations for this, a lot of ups and downs,” Pogačar said. “I’m super happy that today I felt good. I paced myself until the climb and then the climb, full gas.”

Geraint Thomas, meanwhile, wore a subtle look of disappointment after the race.

“I tried to ride within myself, and when it was time to go, I just lacked it a little bit. It is what it is. It’s just one of those days.”

Thomas ended his post-race interview abruptly when the interview reminded him that his teammates did an excellent job on the day, without actually asking a question

“Thanks,” he said sternly, taking a sip of his drink.



Stage 6: Torre del Lago Puccini - Rapolano Terme, 180 km

Underdog Victory: Pelayo Sánchez Triumphs in Giro’s Gravel Stage

Stage Winner: Pelayo Sánchez (Movistar)
Race Leader: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

May 9, 2024—Looking at the profile of Stage 6, you might think that the day would have been relatively mellow. One-hundred-eighty kilometers, minimal elevation, a pair of category-four climbs. However, thanks to a trio of gravel sectors—the strade bianche of Tuscany—today’s stage was anything but.

What many thought might be a launching pad for Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), who won March’s Strade Bianche with a stunning eighty-kilometer solo break, ended up seeing a series of breakaways, none of which stuck.

Until one did. And, for the second day in a row, the break stayed away.

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Pelayo Sanchez (Movistar) attacks Luke Plapp (Jayco AlUla) and Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal Quick-Step) in the breakaway during Stage 6.Tim de Waele - Getty Images

The trio of Movistar’s Pelayo Sánchez, Soudal Quick-Step’s Julian Alaphilippe, and Jayco AlUla’s Luke Plapp had a lead that stretched out to as much as two and a half minutes as the race entered its third and final gravel sector. But INEOS Grenadiers set a blistering pace behind, quickly whittling the three-man breakaway’s lead to less than thirty seconds with just a few kilometers to go.

But the gap stayed at around twenty seconds as the Plapp, Alaphilippe, and Sánchez passed under the 1 km to go banner. Alaphilippe launched early, and Sanchez responded. Though Plapp was hanging on their wheels, it was clear that this was a two-man race to the finish.

In his post-race interview, Sánchez was asked if he knew what he had just accomplished. “No,” Sánchez replied. “This is amazing. I don’t have words. Crazy, crazy day for me. I thought today that I could be in the breakaway, but I could never imagine winning here.”

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The breakaway passing through the Vidritta gravel road sector in Stage 6.Tim de Waele - Getty Images

Sánchez also admitted that, even though he spent the last several dozen kilometers working with Plapp and Alaphilippe, he tried several times to put time into his mates in the breakaway. “I tried to drop [Plapp and Alaphilippe], but it was impossible for me,” he said. “So, I tried at the end with the sprint. Luckily, I was the fastest.”

Plapp, who spent much of the day in the virtual pink jersey, said after the race, “That was an insane day. The race was out of control, the whole race. It was ridiculous for the first eighty kilometers.”

“The three of us worked reasonably well to the finish,” Plapp added. “We played games a bit. I was half-eyes looking for time and half-eyes looking for the stage, so I ended up riding a bit harder.”

Asked if he was thinking about the pink jersey during his breakaway, Plapp said, “No, no, no. I know (UAE Team Emirates) were never going to let it go. You could see from the gaps they were keeping, they weren’t willing to let the jersey go.”

Stage 5: Genova - Lucca, 178 km

A Win for the Breakaway as the Peloton Couldn’t Get It Together

Stage Winner: Benjamin Thomas (Cofidis)
Race Leader: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

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Benjamin Thomas (Cofidis) celebrates on the podium after winning the 5th stage of the 107th Giro d’Italia.LUCA BETTINI - Getty Images

May 8, 2024—Another flat-ish day, another sprint finish. That was supposed to be the script for Wednesday’s fifth stage of the Giro d’Italia. But if there’s a theme emerging from the early stages of this year’s Giro, it’s to expect the unexpected.

Because in a move that seems ever more rare, the day’s breakaway stuck, the charging group of sprinters behind unable to catch up.

At the end of the 178-kilometer stage, Benjamin Thomas captured Cofidis’s first win this season. Behind him were EF Education-EasyPost’s Michael Valgren, Andrea Pietrobon of Polti Kometa, and Groupama-FDJ’s Enzo Paleni. The group spent about half of the day with a lead of around one minute over the peloton.

Eight seconds behind Paleni, Lidl-Trek’s Jonathan Milan—the current maglia ciclamino—led the rest of the peloton across the line.

With 5 kilometers to the finish, the four-man breakaway had a solid forty-second lead, and it seemed as though the peloton couldn’t organize themselves enough to reel them back in. Ineos Grenadiers had the most notable attack, but pulled off after the 3-kilometer mark, ostensibly working to protect their lead man Geraint Thomas’s time.

From there, nothing much materialized, and the breakaway was allowed to duke it out themselves for the win.

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Jonathan Milan (Lidl-Trek), Caleb Ewan (Jayco AlUla), Alberto Dainese (Tudor Pro Cycling), and Tim Merlier (Soudal Quick-Step) sprint for 5th place at the 107th Giro d’Italia 2024, Stage 5.Tim de Waele - Getty Images

“I said maybe today’s my day,” said the French Thomas, who captured both his first WorldTour and Grand Tour victories with the win. “Everything is perfect today. I knew the final because I trained there sometimes. I knew the Montemagno in the final, and it helped me, knowing the cobbles and the corners. It's a nice thing to win in Italy. It means a lot to me.”

Thomas, who is a seasoned track racer, likened the four-man break to a “long, long team pursuit.”

Valgren added that the topography of the parcours aided the breakaway’s chances.

“It was actually only with three or four ks to go (that we thought we could win) because you always think the peloton will take 10-seconds-per-kilometer more or less,” Valgren said after the race. “We kept working well together and there was in our favor kind of downhill. Chapeau to the other guys for working well together. We didn't start to play the games, so it was nice.”

The one thing that was expected was that nothing much changed in the GC battle. UAE Team Emirates’ Tadej Pogačar remains forty-six seconds clear of Geraint Thomas and forty-seven seconds ahead of BORA-hansgrohe’s lead man, Dani Martinez.

Stage 4: Acqui Terme - Andora, 190 km

Jonathan Milan Wins Sprint Finish

Stage Winner: Jonathan Milan (Lidl-Trek)
Race Leader: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

May 7, 2024—For the second straight day, the Giro d’Italia ended with a flat sprint that was almost nabbed with a daring and unexpected last-minute attack.

The 190-kilometer route from Acqui Terme to Andora started with a gradual ride into the day’s only categorized climb, the category 3 Colle del Melogno, where the KOM points were taken by Intermarché-Wanty’s Lilian Calmejane. After that, it was an almost wholly downsloping back half of the stage, ending with a straight, flat shot into the seaside town of Andora.

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A general view of the peloton competing close to the Mediterranean seaside during the 107th Giro d’Italia 2024Tim de Waele - Getty Images

If the peloton felt a bit jumpy heading into Andora, it no doubt had to do with Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and Geraint Thomas’s (INEOS Grenadiers) almost successful late break in yesterday’s sprint stage.

And then, just like yesterday, a solo attack was launched with plenty of racing left. Today, it was Ineos-Grenadiers’ Filippo Ganna, one of the fastest solo bike racers that’s ever lived, who attacked at the foot of the day’s final pitch, the Capo Mele, with 4 km to go. However, the long-distance attack was once again in vain, as he was caught and swallowed up with just a few hundred meters to go.

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Juan Pedro Lopez and stage winner Jonathan Milan of Lidl-Trek react after the 107th Giro d’Italia 2024, Stage 4.Pool - Getty Images

Moments later, another Italian, Lidl-Trek’s Jonathan Milan, launched a furious and commanding 300-meter sprint that would net him his second Giro stage win, exactly one year to the day from his first.

Meanwhile, Dani Martínez, who entered the day in third place in the GC standings, suffered a late-stage mechanical. Lucky for the BORA-hansgrohe racer, it was within the final 3 kilometers, meaning he was awarded the same time as the bunch ahead and lost no extra time to Pogačar and Thomas.

In sad news, Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty) slid out on a slick descent with about 62 kilometers left, crashing out of the race with an injury. It was a brutal reminder of the Eritrean’s luck, who, moments after becoming the first Black African rider to win a Grand Tour stage in 2022’s Giro, suffered a freak injury when the cork from his celebratory champagne bottle shot him in the eye, causing him to abandon the race with a hemorrhage in his eye.

“We saw Ganna going full gas in the last climb, and we just had to catch him,” said Milan of his Italian track teammate. “Today, the guys did such an amazing job. This experience was special because my parents were here today. I’m really happy about it,” Milan, who won last year’s maglia ciclamino, added.

After the race, second-place finisher Kaden Groves said the day’s blisteringly high speeds made the stage “quite scary at times.” And when asked about how his Alpecin-Deceuninck team was shaping up over the Giro’s first week, Groves said, “We’re getting there.”

Stage 3: Novara - Fossano, 166 km

Soudal Quick-Step’s Tim Merlier Takes Sprint Victory Amidst GC Favorites’ Late Attack

Stage Winner: Tim Merlier (Soudal Quick-Step)
Race Leader: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

May 6, 2024 – The sprinters had their first chance to shine, as the race’s third stage from Novara to Fassano featured just 750 meters of elevation over 166 kilometers.

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Soudal-Quick Step’s Tim Merlier celebrates on the podium after winning the 3rd stage of the 107th Giro d’Italia 2024.LUCA BETTINI - Getty Images

However, it wasn’t without a bit of drama, as the race’s biggest GC favorites launched a thrilling attack over the last four kilometers, throwing a wrench into what was expected to be a straightforward day. After an early move from EF-Education EasyPost’s Mikkel Honore, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers) followed, forming a small, three-man breakaway that, for a moment, looked as though it might stay away from the group.

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Geraint Thomas of INEOS Grenadiers and Tadej Pogacar of UAE Team Emirates cross the finish line during the 107th Giro d’Italia 2024, Stage 3. Dario Belingheri - Getty Images

Honoré was swallowed up by the group with about 1 kilometer to go, and given the day’s high pace and series of breakaways, there was some thought that Pogačar and Thomas’s attack might just stick. However, the two GC men were caught with about 400 meters to go, setting up the bunch sprint everyone expected the day to end with.

Soudal Quick-Step’s Tim Merlier nipped a group at the line that included Lidl-Trek’s Jonathan Milan and Intermarche Wanty’s Biniam Girmay, who rounded out the day’s podium, along with Arkea’s Jenthe Biermans and dsm-Firmeninch PostNL’s Tobias Lund Andersen.

After a masterful recovery from a late crash to win Sunday’s second stage, Pogačar started the day in the maglia rosa, forty-five seconds clear of Dani Martínez of BORA-hansgrohe and Geraint Thomas of Ineos Grenadiers. By the time stage 3 was over, those standings remained exactly the same.

“It wasn’t the plan,” Thomas said of the two-man attack over the closing kilometers. “We just wanted to stay out of trouble.”

He added that, over the final few hundred meters, it took everything he had to keep contact with Pogačar. “I was just trying to hold his wheel,” Thomas said, admitting that the attack was never part of the day’s plan.

“It was the hardest victory so far,” stage winner Merlier said of the unexpected chase he and his group of sprinters found themselves in as Thomas and Pogačar rode away. Merlier said he hesitated, causing him to miss out on his leadout man, and eventually forcing him to attack directly into the wind without any support.

Stage 2: San Francesco al Campo - Santuario di Oropa, 161 km

Tadej Pogačar Wins Stage 2 and Takes the Maglia Rosa

Stage Winner: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)
Race Leader: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

May 5, 2024 - Tadej Pogačar of UAE Team Emirates wins Stage 2 of the Giro d’Italia 2024 and takes the Maglia Rosa. Twenty-seven seconds behind, Dani Martínez (Bora-hansgrohe) takes second, and Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers) is third.

It was a masterful performance by UAE Team Emirates once Pogačar made it back to the front of the peloton after a small crash due to a front flat tire. The Slovenian leads Thomas and Martinez by 45" in the General Classification.

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Ben O’Connor (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale) and Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) attack the breakaway during Stage 2 of the Giro d’Italia 2024.Tim de Waele - Getty Images

In the post-race interview, Pogačar was asked if he panicked after crashing in the lead-up to the last climb. “Not really. I was quite calm. I hit a hole in the city and had a super fast flat tire. There was a bit of confusion. I wanted to stop before the corner, but the DS said, ‘No, no, after the corner.’ I was feeling good. The team was super good today. And then we set the pace that we like and it was perfect,” said the race leader.

“I didn’t know the climb well. Everybody was maybe doing this climb for the first time, and it was hard to guess where to do the [hard] pacing, but I think we did a really good job today. And it was super good the last pull of Rafał Majka in the hard part so that I could attack,” Pogačar added.

“I just wanted a stage win today and some gap. Test the legs a little bit. And the [goal] was to take the pink jersey. Now I can relax a little bit in the next few days with the team and we stay safe in the sprints.”

Watch the final kilometer of Stage 2 on the Giro d’Italia’s YouTube Channel

Geraint Thomas of INEOS Grenadiers found himself meeting his limit in today’s stage. “It was so hard to follow, but I knew if I tried to keep going I would completely blow up. I felt bad for sitting on Ben [O’Connor], but I was on the limit for a while there,” said Thomas in the post-race interview.

Regarding Pogačar’s crash, Thomas said, “Honestly, I didn’t know until I was on the climb, and someone said Tadej was back. The plan was to go to the front, not to attack, but to stay safe on the front.”

Stage 1: Venaria Reale - Torino, 140 km

Narváez Upstages Pogačar to Secure Stage 1 Victory and Maglia Rosa

Stage Winner: Jhonatan Narváez (INEOS Grenadiers)
Race Leader: Jhonatan Narváez (INEOS Grenadiers)

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Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), stage winner Jhonatan Narvaez (INEOS Grenadiers), and Maximilian of Schachmann (BORA-hansgrohe) sprint at the finish of Stage 1 of the 2024 Giro d’Italia.Tim de Waele - Getty Images

May 4, 2024 - The opening stage of the Giro d’Italia produced plenty of fireworks and a surprise winner on the line. Team UAE Emirates set it up perfectly for Tadej Pogačar on the opening stage. After some long-lasting breakaways were caught, Pogačar broke free in the last four kilometers with Jhonatan Narváez (INEOS Grenadiers) and Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe). The Slovenian just couldn’t gap those two rivals, and it set it up for a sprint finish. In a bit of a surprise, it was Narváez, the 27-year-old Ecuadorian national champion, outsprinting Schachmann (second on the stage) and Pogačar (third). Narváez earns the first Maglia Rosa of the 2024 Tour of Italy.

Though he didn’t win the stage, Pogačar will head into Stage 2 with an advantage over many of his top GC rivals. Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers) was 10 seconds behind Pogačar on the stage and, after factoring in time bonuses, 14 seconds behind Pogačar in the GC standings.

Watch Stage 1 Highlights on the Giro d’Italia’s YouTube Channel

“It was a great feeling. We knew it was going to be a stage for me, and I worked a lot on it,” Narváez said in the post-race interview. “Following the best guy in the world on the climb was really hard, so it’s a special victory today. It’s still hurting me now. It was really hard—really, really hard. But in the end, I made it.”

“I think [Pogačar] went too long in the sprint, 200 meters after a really hard stage, and I did a short sprint, and in the end, I took the victory. For me, it’s amazing. There aren’t many opportunities in a Grand Tour to get the maglia rosa on the first day because you have a bunch sprint, a TT, or a different stage. Today was a good opportunity. I worked really, really hard for it,” added Narváez.

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