Pogacar Wins Stage 2 of Giro d’Italia 2024

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05/5/2024| 0 comments
by Roadcycling.com
Tadej Pogacar wins stage 2 of Giro d'Italia 2024
Tadej Pogacar has won stage 2 of Giro d'Italia for UAE Team Emirates RCS Sport - LaPresse

Pogacar Wins Stage 2 of Giro d’Italia 2024

Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) climbs to stage victory at Santuario di Oropa in stage 2 of Giro d’Italia 2024 and takes general classification lead

Following yesterday’s surprising result in stage 1 of Giro d’Italia 2024, today’s stage 2 was eagerly awaited by race participants and followers around the world. 

The stage was set in the Piedmont region in Northern Italy, known for its wine production, rice production, hazelnut production, automotive industry, and not least military industry leaders Leonardo and Lockheed Martin. Jewelry from Bulgari and Cartier is also manufactured in the Piedmont region. In historic times the region was controlled by the House of Savoy.

Race organizer RCS Sport had chosen a 161-kilometer demanding route from San Francesco al Campo to Santuario di Oropa (Biella). The route featured the category 3 climbs of Oasi Zegna and Nelva and culminated with the category 1 climb to the finish line near Santuario di Oropa.

Cycling legend Marco Pantani won a Giro stage at Santuario di Oropa in 1999. “The Pirate” had suffered mechanical problems, but managed to fight his way back to the leaders on the climb and went on to take a beautiful stage victory.

After a strong performance on the finishing climb, UAE Team Emirates’ pre-race favorite Tadej Pogacar failed to beat Jhonatan Narvaez (Ineos-Grenadiers) and Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) in yesterday’s sprint across the finish line. Would the Slovenian star rider be looking for revenge in today’s stage, were other favorites planning attacks – or would a breakaway rider succeed today?

While Ineos-Grenadiers and UAE Team Emirates were playing poker, each hoping the other team would commence the hard work to set a controlling pace at the front of the peloton, a five-man group managed to escape. The group featured Andrea Piccolo (EF Education-EasyPost), Christian Scaroni (Astana Team), Davide Bais (Team Polti Kometa), and the VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizane riders Filippo Fiorelli and Martin Marcellusi.

The breakaway hopefuls set out on their quest to gain sufficient time on the peloton to be able to take a historic stage win in the first Grand Tour of the 2024 season. The front men built a lead of almost five minutes, while the Ineos-Grenadiers team controlled the pace at the front of the main peloton.

A crash occurred in the main peloton with 64 kilometers left of racing. The crash involved Nicola Conci (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Olav Kooij (Team Visma-Lease a Bike), Filippo Zana (Team Jayco-Alula), and Eddie Dunbar (Team Jayco-Alula).

Andrea Piccolo (EF Education-EasyPost) attacked solo as the front quintet approached the Oasi Zegna climb (Category 3; 5.5 km; 5.2%). He wanted to take a beautiful stage victory today. Piccolo quickly formed a lead of forty seconds on the chasers that included Scaroni, Bais, and Marcellusi. Fiorelli had dropped off. 

Piccolo proudly carried on up the Oasi Zegna climb showing off the new EF Education-EasyPost jersey and bibs that have been created especially for the 2024 Giro d’Italia. Meanwhile, the gap to the three chasers had increased to more than one minute and Piccolo was first to reach the top of the climb.

Piccolo caried on solo up the Nelva climb at the front of the race, while the Ineos-Grenadiers team was setting a fast pace at the front of the main peloton. At this point Piccolo had 25 kilometers to the finish line and a lead of two minutes over the main peloton.

Italian Piccolo was also first to reach the peak of the Nelva climb. He quickly refueled and set out on a fast and dangerous descent that would take him to the final climb to the finish line at Santuario di Oropa. Had Piccolo pre-chilled a nice bottle of champagne as he did before the 2022 Japan Cup Cycle Road Race in which he finished second?

15 kilometers remained and Piccolo’s advantage had dropped to 01:40 minutes. 

Following a flat, Tadej Pogacar crashed with 11 kilometers left. He lifted his arms in frustration and was handed a new bike. He remained with the caravan but had to initiate a chase to reach the front of the main peloton before the start of the final climb to the finish.

Pogacar fought his way back to the front of the peloton while being supported by teammate Felix Grossschartner. UAE Team Emirates continued their work at the front to reel in sole front man Piccolo.

Piccolo was disappointingly caught by a UAE Team Emirates-led peloton with six kilometers remaining. The pre-chilled champagne could now be removed from his hotel fridge.

Pogacar attacked with 4.4 kilometers left. Ben O’Connor (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale) attempted to hang on but had to reduce his pace.

Pogacar remained solo in front with three kilometers remaining. He had a twenty second lead over O’Connor and Geraint Thomas (Ineos-Grenadiers) who had formed a chase duo. Cian Uijtdebroeks joined them for Team Visma – Lease a Bike.

Giro general classification leader Jhonatan Narvaez failed to keep up with the leaders and looked set to hand over his leader jersey to another rider after today’s stage 2.

O’Connor was dropped.

Pogacar crossed the finish line in solo fashion and thereby took the victory in stage 2 and the general classification lead in Giro d’Italia 2024.

Daniel Felipe Martinez (Bora-Hansgrohe) finished second, while Geraint Thomas completed the stage podium.

“I was quite calm in the city when I had a flat tire after hitting a hole. My sports director said to stop after the corner, but I wanted to stop before, so I was a bit confused,” stage winner Pogacar told Roadcycling.com after the finish. 

“My team was perfect today and set a fine pace for me. I didn’t know the climb well, so it was hard for us to guess where we could make a real difference. A super nice final pull from Rafal Majka before my attack. Now I can relax a few days with the team and try to stay safe in the sprints.”

Stay tuned to Roadcycling.com for complete coverage from Giro d’Italia 2024.

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