Giro d'Italia: ‘Tadej Pogačar is just a little kid having fun on the bike, it’s incredible’ says Mikkel Honoré

EF Education-EasyPost rider went for broke in the final kilometres of stage 3 at the Giro d’Italia and although he came up short, it was an experience worth having

Clock01:42, Tuesday 7th May 2024
Mikkel Honoré went on the attack on stage 3 of the Giro d'Italia but was followed by Tadej Pogačar

© Getty Images

Mikkel Honoré went on the attack on stage 3 of the Giro d'Italia but was followed by Tadej Pogačar

At the Giro d’Italia without a GC candidate or a top-tier sprinter, American WorldTeam EF Education-EasyPost are having to get creative in their pursuit of stage wins and UCI points. Andrea Piccolo was the most combative rider on the second stage to Santuario di Oropa and a day later, Mikkel Honoré picked up where his teammate left off on the road to Fossano.

With stage 3 of the Giro heading to an expected sprint finish, the Dane shot out of the peloton with a little under 3km to ride. Using the testing slopes of a final, uncategorised climb on the edge of the town, Honoré attacked in a three-up break alongside race leader Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers).

“It obviously went very quick for me,” Honoré told GCN and Eurosport after the finish, trying to find the words to explain what had just happened in an unexpected finale to stage 3.

“For me it was a good opportunity to try something today. I started the climb a little too far back so I had to [make] too much of an effort to do my attack but in the end, it was all about closing guys and going all out.”

With no hesitation, Honoré, Thomas and Pogačar clicked into gear over the top of the climb and quickly formed a chain gang, sensing a real opportunity to not only take time on their GC rivals - for the latter duo’s part, anyhow - but contest the stage honours among themselves.

Read more: Giro d'Italia stage 3: Tim Merlier takes chaotic win after Pogačar and Thomas go on the attack

At the beginning of the stage and even three and a half hours later, all had seemed to be going to plan for the sprint teams. But Honoré was the first to put the cat amongst the pigeons and with the support of the two leading riders in the overall standings, it looked for a short while as though the sprinters would be denied their first chance of the Giro.

Honoré’s own ambitions, though, began to come undone after a kilometre of through and off.

“I did a long attack and was on the limit obviously, G passed first and then Tadej and you hear ‘klack klack’ - two gears up - then it was just a super hard acceleration and hard to follow.”

The EF Education-EasyPost man desperately tried to cling onto the coattails of Pogačar and Thomas on the flat roads into the centre of town, but with 1.7km to go, he was cut loose for good and swallowed by the storming peloton behind. Their pursuit of the opportunists paid dividends inside the final kilometre, with Pogačar and Thomas caught some 300m from the line, allowing Tim Merlier (Soudal Quick-Step) to win the first bunch sprint of the race.

Read more: ‘Respect to Honoré and Thomas’ says Tadej Pogačar after unexpected Giro d’Italia attack

It was a case of what might have been for Honoré as he dropped back - “if we went three guys and rode around, you never know what could have happened in the end” - but the 27-year-old was filled with admiration for his breakaway companions as the rain began to pour in Fossano after the stage.

“It’s incredible, I just spoke with G about it,” he said, heaping particular praise on the maglia rosa, Pogačar.

“It’s an honour, it’s incredible to race against a guy like that because I think first of all, he is a super nice guy and he’s just a little kid having fun on the bike and it’s nice to be racing with someone like that.”

Another day and another inspired performance without reward for EF Education-EasyPost, but the American team will likely take only positives from the first few stages of the Giro d’Italia. In Piccolo, Honoré and co, they have riders who are not only willing to put in the hard yards but are also more than capable of stage success should things fall into place over the coming 18 days.

For everything you need to know about the 2024 Giro d'Italia, from the history of the race to this year's route and start list, be sure to check out our dedicated race hub.

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