'Night and day' as Geraint Thomas bounces back at Giro d'Italia

Ineos Grenadiers leader concedes some seconds at Prati di Tivo but, after his struggles in Friday's time trial, was relieved to have steadied the ship

Clock16:10, Saturday 11th May 2024
Geraint Thomas (centre) climbs on stage 8 of the Giro d'Italia

© Getty Images

Geraint Thomas (centre) climbs on stage 8 of the Giro d'Italia

Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) cut a relieved figure at the summit of Prati di Tivo after stage 8 of the Giro d’Italia, steadying the ship and noting his performance was “night and day” compared to his suffering in the time trial the previous afternoon.

The Welshman had placed 10th on Friday, struggling up the late climb and conceding two minutes to race leader Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), as well as conceding second place overall to Dani Martínez (Bora-Hansgrohe).

As such, there were some nerves on Sunday morning ahead of the race’s second mountain stage, with its finish atop the 14.6km climb to Prati di Tivo.

“I wouldn’t say [I was] scared, but a bit sort of apprehensive - like phwoar, I’m not too sure how this could go,” Thomas said at the finish. “At the start, I was bit bit like ugh, but by the end I felt pretty good.”

Thomas conceded a few more seconds to Pogačar and Martínez as the group of GC favourites sprinted to the line, finishing out of the bonus seconds in fifth place and also with a two-second time gap to that duo, who were the top two finishers on the stage.

Thomas said he got “bogged down”in the sprint, but took heart from essentially steadying the ship that had listed 24 hours previously.

“A lot better than yesterday - night and day,” Thomas said when asked about how he felt on the climb.

“Confidence-wise I just wanted to sit in here, do today and then move on. In the end I felt really comfy, I was quite surprised people were getting dropped which is always a good sign. In the sprint I got a bit bogged down, I didn’t have the legs to sprint with those guys.

“I’d have liked to have done better yesterday but at least I bounced back today,” he added.

Thomas’ Ineos Grenadiers squad placed two riders - Jhonatan Narváez and Magnus Sheffield - in the day’s breakaway, but it was was neutralised by Pogačar’s UAE teammates, who closely controlled the race all day.

Pogačar did not attack from range, instead choosing to follow Rafal Majka and mark moves for the brief period the Pole wasn’t there, during which Thomas’ teammate Thymen Arensman issued a couple of speculative accelerations.

“I said to Thymen [Arensman], they’re just going to ride at a solid tempo, Majka’s going to pull as long as he can until they start attacking. From my point of view, just try not to jump too hard and let everyone else chase each other. We knew Thymen would come back, or Majka would come back, and it was just a case of staying with the boys.

“Hats off to [UAE] today, they pulled hard and really set it up for Tadej, and he does what he does.”

In total, Thomas conceded 12 seconds to Pogačar on the day and now lies in third place, 2:58 behind the Slovenian, while his deficit to Martínez in second grew by eight seconds to 18 seconds.

“It’s going to be strange, like the last few days of a Grand Tour, but from now on,” Thomas said of the general classification battle. “The other guys on GC [will be] watching each other, and [Pogačar] can just sit there now, he’s got no pressure to do anything.

“He’s just insane, isn’t he? We’ve just got to do what we’re doing, try and keep improving, and you never know.”

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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