Puncture and crash no problem as Tadej Pogačar redefines Giro d'Italia GC at Oropa

Slovenian attacks with 4.5km to go and moves into maglia rosa as Geraint Thomas moves into second overall and Ben O'Connor cracks

Clock15:32, Sunday 5th May 2024
Can anyone follow Tadej Pogačar in this year's Giro d'Italia?

© Getty Images

Can anyone follow Tadej Pogačar in this year's Giro d'Italia?

For the briefest of moments, the Giro d’Italia provided a timely reminder that power and precision were no match for bad luck and poor timing when Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) suffered a front flat tyre and a resulting crash at the foot of the Oropa climb on stage 2 of the Giro d’Italia.

But at the finish of the legendary climb there was little doubt as to who was the strongest rider in this year’s race after a telling attack from the Slovenian with 4.5km to go distanced all of his rivals and moved the race favourite into the maglia rosa. It will take more than a sprinkling of bad luck to affect the inevitable trajectory of this year’s race.

On the line Pogačar had put 27 seconds into Dani Martínez and Geraint Thomas with a small group of stragglers finishing on their coattails.

There were much more significant gaps further down the climb with Ben O’Connor cracking in the final 1.7km after initially following Pogačar, and the likes of Nairo Quintana, Romain Bardet and Thymen Arensman all losing time.

After two stages of this year’s race Pogačar has a 45-second lead over the consistent Thomas with Martínez third and on the same time.

Read more: Giro d'Italia stage 2: Tadej Pogačar takes first summit finish and maglia rosa

Those time gaps might seem small in the grand scheme of a three-week Giro d'Italia but they are also an ominous sign of what might come next time the race hits the high mountains.

By the time Rafał Majka pulled over to the side of the road less than 20 riders were left in contention with Julian Alaphilippe, Max Schachmann, and Quintana all dispatched with relative ease. Martínez was also suffering but recovered before Arensmen slipped back for the second day running. When Pogačar kicked clear only O’Connor was able to follow with Thomas a few meters back initially. Still, the Australian was quickly set backwards before linking up with the Welshman in a powerful-looking tandem.

Worse was to follow, however, with O’Connor unable to match the pace of the chase group that soon included Lorenzo Fortunato (Astana Qazaqstan Team), Michael Storer (Tudor Pro Cycling), Florian Lipowitz (BORA-hansgrohe), Cian Uijtdebroeks (Visma-Lease a Bike), Einer Rubio (Movistar), Thomas and Martinez.

O’Connor would eventually finish a full minute off Pogačar’s pace with Romain Bardet at 1:20, Damiano Caruso at 1:29, and Antonio Tiberi at 2:24. Tiberi reportedly suffered a puncture at the foot of the final climb.

Eddie Dunbar, who crashed mid-stage, would lose over five minutes and with it any real hope of a top-five finish in Rome as the Irish rider's poor luck continued. Luke Plapp, who limited his losses to 1:20, might now be Jayco-AlUla’s best hope for a GC finish. 

Uijtdebroeks, who paced his effort on the climb perfectly, has moved up to fourth overall at 54 seconds, with Rubio on the same time. O’Connor now sits 10th at 1:24, while Bahrain’s pairing of Caruso and Tiberi have serious ground to make up at 1:50 and 2:48, respectively.

Stage 1 winner and maglia rosa at the start line in San Francesco al Campo, Thomas' Ineos Grenadiers teammate Jhonatan Narváez, cracked as soon as Pogačar accelerated and finished 2:03 down on the Slovenian in 30th place.

Keep up to date with the latest tech news on the GCN website. 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.

Related Content

Link to Controversy erupts in Ecuador as Carapaz and Narváez argue over Olympics spot
Richard Carapaz (left) and Jhonatan Narváez (right) rode alongside each other for Ineos Grenadiers between 2020-2022

Controversy erupts in Ecuador as Carapaz and Narváez argue over Olympics spot

Reigning Olympic champion Carapaz accuses the cycling federation of bias as selection criteria looks set to favour Narváez, who urges a decision 'free from pressure'. Meanwhile, the country's Ministry for Sport launches an investigation

Clock
Link to Giro d'Italia stage 17 preview: Dolomite destruction awaits
The peloton climb on stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia

Giro d'Italia stage 17 preview: Dolomite destruction awaits

The battle lines for the last two spots on the podium have been drawn ahead of the Giro's next summit finish

Clock
Link to Giro d’Italia’s youngest rider Giulio Pellizzari emotional after Pogačar pink jersey gift
Giulio Pellizzari battled to second on the stage

Giro d’Italia’s youngest rider Giulio Pellizzari emotional after Pogačar pink jersey gift

20-year-old Italian second on the stage after being caught late by race leader

Clock
Link to Alberto Contador: If Tadej Pogačar wins the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France he should target the Vuelta a España
Former Tour de France winner Alberto Contador has some advice for Tadej Pogačar

Alberto Contador: If Tadej Pogačar wins the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France he should target the Vuelta a España

Multiple Grand Tour winner urges dominant Giro d'Italia leader Tadej Pogačar to go for the elusive triple crown

Clock
Subscribe to the GCN Newsletter

Get the latest, most entertaining and best informed news, reviews, challenges, insights, analysis, competitions and offers - straight to your inbox