Tadej Pogacar claimed an emphatic victory in the second stage of the 107th Giro d’Italia, a 161km race from San Francesco al Campo to the Santuario di Oropa in Biella. The Slovenian, riding for UAE Team Emirates, executed a flawless solo finish to clinch the stage, also securing the prestigious Maglia Rosa as the race leader. Daniel Felipe Martinez of Bora-Hansgrohe and Geraint Thomas of Ineos Grenadiers followed in second and third place respectively. After missing out on Stage 1, Pogacar got off the mark today.

Stage 2 of the Giro d’Italia, covering 161 km from San Francesco al Campo to the Santuario di Oropa, provided a thrilling narrative set against the scenic backdrop of northern Italy. Starting in the Canavese area, the race journeyed through Vercelli’s rice fields before ascending into the hills, culminating in a summit finish at Oropa. This climb, significant for awarding the Montagna Pantani prize, echoed the historical 1999 victory of Italian climber Marco Pantani.

The stage began under sunny skies with Jhonatan Narváez proudly donning the maglia rosa. Early on, a breakaway formed but was closely monitored by major teams like Ineos Grenadiers and UAE Team Emirates, while Cofidis, having missed the break, tried unsuccessfully to bridge the gap with Polti-Kometa and EF Education-EasyPost controlling the chase.

As the race progressed, a group led by Christian Scaroni gained a substantial lead. However, as the peloton approached the decisive climb to Oropa, the race dynamics shifted dramatically. The peloton, driven by UAE Team Emirates, increased the pace significantly, setting the stage for Tadej Pogacar to make a decisive move in the final kilometres.

With about 4.5 km remaining, Pogacar launched a powerful attack, overcoming an earlier setback involving a crash due to a puncture. Demonstrating resilience, he managed to rejoin and then break away from the peloton, reminiscent of Pantani’s legendary ascent. Pogacar’s effort not only earned him the stage victory but also the coveted maglia rosa, marking a significant moment in his cycling career.

Behind him, the battle for the remaining podium spots was fierce, with Daniel Felipe Martinez and Geraint Thomas finishing strongly to round out the top three. The stage was a testament to strategic racing and the dramatic shifts that can occur within the span of just a few kilometres, particularly on such a challenging ascent.

Speaking just moments after the stage, Pogacar reflected on the significance of the victory. “It’s a dream coming true, an amazing victory. After having won at the Vuelta and the Tour, to win a stage in all the Grand Tours is something big in cycling,” he said. Despite an earlier incident in the race where he suffered a flat tyre, Pogacar remained undeterred, attributing his quick recovery to his team’s efforts. “I didn’t really get scared by the incident. It happened after a flat tyre because I wanted to stop before the corner. It wasn’t serious, and the team brought me back quickly,” he explained.

The climb to Oropa proved decisive as Pogacar distanced himself from his rivals in the final kilometres, his victory further underlined by the enthusiastic support from the fans lining the route. “The atmosphere was incredible on the climb, and it was a real pleasure to ride solo in the last couple of kilometres,” Pogacar added.

Tadej Pogacar Giro d'Italia Stage 2

Cian Uijtdebroeks, another notable performer, finished strongly to place seventh and capture the Maglia Bianca for best young rider. “It’s my first distinctive jersey in a Grand Tour… It’s amazing for me. There’s still a really long three weeks of racing ahead of us. But once you have this jersey, you want to fight for it. I will do until we get to Rome,” Uijtdebroeks commented, expressing his determination to defend the jersey.

As the Giro d’Italia continues, the stakes remain high with Pogacar now leading the general classification, closely followed by Geraint Thomas and Daniel Felipe Martinez. The Slovenian’s victory not only marks a significant moment in his career but also sets the stage for a compelling battle for the pink jersey in the days to come.

2024 Giro d’Italia Stage 2 result

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Main photo credit: Zac Williams