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Tadej Pogačar wins first Giro d’Italia stage and seizes pink on summit finish

Tadej Pogačar wins first Giro d'Italia stage and seizes pink on summit finish

At the foot of Sunday’s first summit finish climb of the 2024 Giro d’Italia, pre-race favourite Tadej Pogačar flatted and crashed. He got up, dusted himself off, chased back up to the peloton and then dispatched his rivals to win the day and take pink. He leads second-place Geraint Thomas and third-place Dani Martinez by 45 seconds.

The Course

Sunday’s second stage had a sting in its tail. After two warm-up Cat. 3 climbs in Italy’s extreme northwest, the first summit finish of the 107th edition rose with 12 km to go. Santuario di Oropa was the race’s first Cat. 1 as well at 6.1 percent.

With no climb–classified or not–until the 95-km mark, it would take a brave soul to head out on a breakaway. However, an all-Italian quintet stepped up and flared away. Filippo Fiorelli was a repeat offender from Saturday and clad in the purple ciclamino jersey because the top two fellows in the category, Narváez and Lilian Calmejane, were in the pink and blue polka dot jerseys respectively.

By the time the first uncategorized hill hove into view, the fugitives’ gap was 3:15. UAE-Emirates had been churning away at the front of the field, but Lidl-Trek, Bora-Hansgrohe and Alpecin-Deceuninck pitched in. By being first in the first two of three intermediate sprints in the final 68 km, Fiorelli took the jersey for real on the road.

Filippo Fiorelli didn’t want to just keep the purple jersey warm for someone else on Sunday.

Andrea Piccolo bolted on his breakmates and loped over the two Cat. 3 climbs alone, drawing within 2 points of Calmejane’s dots. Ineos bossed the pace in the peloton. Piccolo started the final climb with 1:40 on the peloton.

Pogačar flatted and then crashed right at the foot. Most of his team dropped back to pace him forward.

Pogacar flatted and then crashed at the foot of the final climb.

When Pogačar returned, UAE-Emirates mobbed the front. Piccolo was caught with 6.5 km remaining. Twenty-two riders remained in the group with 5 km to climb.

Pogačar attacked with 4.4 km to go. Narváez dropped, then Geraint Thomas and then Ben O’Connor. The Slovenian was solo.

“And here I go again on my own.”

The tifosi cheered Tadej Pogačar up the climb. O’Connor, Thomas and Cian Uijtdebroeks were his closest chasers….

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Canadian Cycling Magazine…