Pogacar crowned as Giro d’Italia winner; Merlier takes final stage in Rome

Tadej Pogacar has clinched victory in the 107th Giro d’Italia, securing the prestigious Maglia Rosa. The Slovenian star topped the General Classification, followed by Daniel Felipe Martinez in second place, and Geraint Thomas in third.

The final stage from Rome to Ostia and back featured eight laps around the ancient city, including a challenging finish over the cobbles near the Colosseum. Despite the scenic backdrop, the race was anything but a parade.

Four riders – Alex Baudin, Mikkel Honoré, Ewen Costiou, and Martin Marcellusi – launched a breakaway early on. They maintained a slim lead, peaking at a 21-second advantage with less than 50km to go.

A crash involving Michael Storer and Dries De Pooter disrupted the peloton briefly, but Storer managed to rejoin the main group, ensuring his top-10 GC position remained intact. As the race progressed, the sprinters’ teams, including Lidl-Trek, Soudal-QuickStep, Alpecin-Deceuninck, and Tudor Pro Cycling, worked to reel in the breakaway.

With under 15km remaining, the breakaway was caught, and the teams began jostling for position. A late mechanical for maglia ciclamino Jonathan Milan didn’t prevent him from rejoining the peloton, setting the stage for a dramatic finish.

Merlier Triumphs in Rome

Tim Merlier surged ahead in the final metres to claim the stage victory, his third sprint win in this Giro. Jonathan Milan and Kaden Groves followed closely, taking second and third respectively.

“It wasn’t a perfect win. I have to say sorry to the guys. I had the best legs but we played ‘casino’ at the end,” Merlier said after the race. “For the people, this is a very big win. For myself, it feels strange because everyone was already partying on the plane yesterday. But for a sprinter, it’s very nice to win here.”

Despite breaking his chain within the last 10km, Milan managed to finish the stage and retain the points classification for the second consecutive year. Merlier’s victory marked his first win in the final stage of a Grand Tour and brought his tally to ten victories this year, second only to Pogacar’s fourteen.

Pogacar’s Dominance

Pogacar, reflecting on his Giro victory, said, “I’m speechless about this moment in Rome. It’s crazy. We wanted to be in front in the finale of today’s stage. It was quite technical and bumpy. We did super well with the boys. It’s unlucky Molano didn’t have very good legs but we did the rest of the job so well. So we’re happy. I have a lot of fond memories of this Giro. In a while, I’ll realise which one was the best moment. In general, it was a beautiful Giro. The Maglia Rosa is really special. It’s been a crazy experience to have it for twenty days. All the fans have been incredibly good.”

Pogacar’s achievement is particularly notable as he is the first rider since Eddy Merckx in 1973 to win six stages and the overall classification. He also wore the Maglia Rosa from stage 2 until the end, a feat not seen since Tony Rominger in 1995.

2024 Giro d’Italia Stage 21 result

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2024 Giro d’Italia GC result

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All photo credits: LaPresse