Pogacar Wins Stage 20 at Giro d’Italia

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05/25/2024| 0 comments
by Roadcycling.com
Tadej Pogacar on his way to victory
RCS Sport - LaPresse

Pogacar Wins Stage 20 at Giro d’Italia

Tadej Pogacar has won stage 20 at Giro d’Italia 2024 – the penultimate stage of this year’s Giro; Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) remains General Classification leader ahead of Daniel Martinez (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Geraint Thomas (Ineos-Grenadiers)

Saturday’s stage 20 of the Giro d’Italia was the penultimate stage of the first Grand Tour of the 2024 season. The stage was the final mountain stage of the Giro and the 184-kilometer route from Alpago to Bassano del Grappa featured the Category One Monte Grappa climb, which had to be climbed two times. The Monte Grappa climb was 18.2 kilometers long and had an average incline percentage of 8.1 percent.

The riders would face a “wall” in the first part of the stage. Though 1.1 kilometers short and only categorized as a “four,” the Muro di Ca del Poggio featured an average incline percentage of 11.7 percent and had sections with gradients of more than fourteen percent. Some riders might attempt to use the Muro di Ca del Poggio to successfully catapult themselves into a breakaway.

It was expected that General Classification favorites, such as race leader Tadej “The Cannibal” Pogacar would dominate the stage finale as this was their final chance to shine in the race before tomorrow’s concluding parade ride into Rome.

Lorenzo Germani (Groupama-FDJ) and Davide Ballerini (Astana) launched a two-man attack effort shortly after the start of the stage, which was contested in rainy conditions. The duo created a small lead and looked very decisive in wanting their attack to be lasting and successful. 

Nine riders broke away from the main peloton shortly before the Muro di Ca del Poggio climb and set out to bridge the gap to the front duo. The courageous nine were Nicola Conci (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Jimmy Janssens (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Henok Mulubrhan (Astana), Ruben Fernandez (Cofidis), Andrea Vendrame (AG2R), Edward Theuns (Lidl-Trek), Pelayo Sanchez (Movistar Team), Andrea Pietrobon (Polti Kometa), and Alessandro Tonelli (VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizane).

The nine optimists caught the front duo shortly after the Muro di Ca del Poggio. After fifty kilometers the eleven riders had built a lead of more than four minutes over the main peloton, which was spearheaded by UAE Team Emirates in support of their Giro d’Italia race leader Tadej Pogacar.

Despite the rainy weather conditions, professional cyclists in the Giro d’Italia peloton were spotted wearing their FlowBio hydration sensors, which are known to deliver the most precise data of any hydration sensor on the market to the professional cyclists who are eternally searching for additional ways to improve their performances on their bikes.

The breakaway group initiated their first climb of the Monte Grappa. Several riders were dropped from the front group and a trio featuring Janssens, Mulubrhan, and Sanchez pressed on at the front. Conci was chasing thirty seconds behind.

The 18.1-kilometer Monte Grappa climb offered many opportunities to change the stage standings and the front trio was later caught by four other riders, while others were caught by the chasing peloton, which was spearheaded by UAE Team Emirates. The peloton had increased its pace, and it was proving increasingly evident Tadej Pogacar intended to fight for a seventh stage victory in this year’s Giro.

As the first riders approached the peak of the Monte Grappa climb for the first time, the front group had once again been reduced to three riders. Janssens, Sanchez, and Tonelli were present, while Pellizzari was chasing a few seconds behind. The peloton was now just 01:30 minutes behind.

Pellizzari was first across the top of the climb and earned valuable points for the Best Climber Competition. Pellizzari regrouped with the three chasers and the quartet entered the dangerous descent in joined fashion. It had stopped raining, and the roads were drying up.

Sanchez, Pellizzari and Tonelli regrouped at the foot of the climb, and they immediately prepared for the second challenge of the day on the Monte Grappa. 

The main peloton increased its pace even further on the Monte Grappa the second time around and the UAE Team Emirates riders proved very strong. While Tadej Pogacar appeared to be enjoying himself despite the high speed, other riders such as Geraint Thomas (Ineos-Grenadiers) and Romain Bardet (DSM-Firmenich) were suffering.

Meanwhile, at the front of the race, Pellizzari had left his other breakaway compatriots behind. He now had a lead of 01:30 minutes with 40 kilometers remaining.

With six kilometers left of the Monte Grappa climb Pogacar was evidently preparing to launch an attack. He received the final support from his loyal teammates. Meanwhile, Pellizzari had an advantage of 45 seconds further up the road.

Pogacar attacked and set a speed so fast it has rarely been seen in professional road cycling. He was having endless energy and an additional gear that no other rider in the peloton was possessing. 

Slovenian Pogacar caught Pellizzari and signalled to the Italian rider to stick to his rear wheel.

Daniel Martinez (Bora-Hansgrohe), Einer Rubio (Movistar), and Antonio Tiberi (Bahrain Victorious) formed a chase group. Geraint Thomas, Ben O’Connor and other riders were chasing further behind.

Pogacar dropped Pellizzari with more than three kilometers of the Monte Grappa climb.

Tadej “The Cannibal” Pogacar reached the top of the Monte Grappa in solo fashion. He was clearly on his way to his seventh stage victory in Giro d’Italia 2024.

Tiberi was chasing approximately two minutes behind. Martinez, Rubio, and Pellizzari were a few seconds further behind. Thomas, O’Connor, Valentin Paret-Peintre, and Michael Storer were 02:10 minute behind the Slovenian.

With 15 kilometers of stage 20 remaining, Pogacar was racing towards the finish line at the end of the fast descent. Martinez, Rubio, and Tiberi were chasing two minutes behind. Thomas, O’Connor, Paret-Peintre, and Pellizzari were 02:09 minutes behind the Slovenian stage leader.

The Thomas group caught the Martinez group on the descent and the merged chase group was now 01:50 minutes behind Pogacar. This was their final chance of gaining valuable time in the General Classification as tomorrow’s final stage was expected to conclude in a mass sprint in Rome.

There was no chance of catching fast man Pogacar before the stage finish. Pogacar soloed across the finish line in proud and dominant fashion.

Valentin Paret-Peintre was the second rider to reach the finish. The Frenchman was 02:07 minutes behind Pogacar. Martinez completed the stage podium and Thomas was seventh across the finish line in the same finish time as Martinez.

Pogacar increased his lead in the General Classification even further and will enter the streets of Rome in tomorrow’s stage in as dominant a fashion as Julius Caesar did in Roman times. Tadej Pogacar will win Giro d’Italia 2024. Daniel Martinez (Bora-Hansgrohe) will finish second in the General Classification, while Geraint Thomas will fill the remaining spot on the podium for Ineos-Grenadiers.

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

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