Tadej Pogačar secures another commanding victory at Prati di Tivo

In what was marked as the sternest test yet at this year’s Giro d’Italia, Tadej Pogačar not only defended the Maglia Rosa but also clinched his third stage victory, conquering the summit finish at Prati di Tivo with apparent ease. The UAE Team Emirates leader managed to nullify every attack on the final climb, demonstrating his supremacy in a pulsating finish.

The 152-kilometre stage began in Spoleto and was a true climber’s ordeal with a total ascent of over 3500 metres. Attacks began from the outset, with the peloton highly active and breakaway attempts featuring riders such as Julian Alaphilippe and Georg Steinhauser. However, none of these early moves gained significant traction as the teams vied fiercely for control.

A key breakaway of 14 riders eventually formed and included notable climbers like Romain Bardet and Nairo Quintana. Despite their efforts, the break never gained more than a two-minute lead, largely due to the relentless pace set by Pogačar’s UAE Team Emirates.

As the race hit the final climb of 14.7 kilometres at Prati di Tivo, the breakaway’s lead dwindled rapidly. Pogačar, looking comfortable and riding with the support of his key lieutenants Rafal Majka and Domen Novak, was well-positioned as the peloton caught the breakaway in the last kilometres of the ascent.

The closing stages saw a flurry of attacks, with Antonio Tiberi and others attempting to shake the Slovenian. However, Pogačar responded to each with ease, before launching his own devastating sprint in the final metres to secure the stage win. Dani Martínez of Bora-Hansgrohe followed in second, while Ben O’Connor of Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale completed the podium.

After the race, Pogačar expressed his satisfaction with his team’s performance and the outcome, saying, “I was not expecting it at all today but as a team, we rode super well from the beginning. We came with a good time gap to the last climb and the team did a super good job to the finish. Rafa [Majka] did an amazing leadout and it was amazing to win here again in Prati di Tivo.”

This victory at Prati di Tivo not only consolidates Pogačar’s lead in the general classification but also sends a resounding message to his rivals about his form and intent at this Giro. With Martínez trailing him by 2:40 in the overall standings and other contenders like Geraint Thomas even further back, the Slovenian’s grip on the pink jersey appears increasingly secure as the race progresses.

Tomorrow’s stage, while expected to be less demanding, will still require careful navigation, according to Pogačar, who is already looking forward to the rest day that follows. The Slovenian’s dominance at this Giro continues to be a compelling narrative, overshadowing the fierce battles and strategic plays unfolding behind him.

2024 Giro d’Italia Stage 8 result

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Main photo credit: Getty