Tadej Pogačar in control at the Giro d’Italia – GCN Racing News Show

Conor Dunne recaps the first Grand Tour racing of the season with the Giro and the Vuelta Femenina

Clock05:44, Wednesday 8th May 2024

With Dan Lloyd busy commentating on the Giro d’Italia, it’s Conor Dunne who is in the studio this week for the Racing News Show, recapping what has been a busy week in the world of cycling.

Of course, the big news is that the 107th Giro d’Italia kicked off this past weekend with a challenging Grande Partenza around Turin and Piemonte. As was expected before even a kilometre was raced, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) has been the protagonist of the race so far, seemingly trying to win the three opening stages.

He wasn’t successful on stage 1, finishing third behind Jhonatan Narváez (Ineos Grenadiers), but he did take time on most of his GC rivals. He only had to wait until stage 2 for the win, though, taking control of the first summit finish of the race and overcoming a mechanical at the bottom of the climb to win in Oropa, and take the first pink jersey of his career.

Stage 3 should have been a day for the sprinters, but of course when an opportunistic attack went in the final, Pogačar couldn’t help but follow, this time joined by Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers). They were caught before the line, but Pogačar’s level of motivation and ambition in this race was made clear.

Read more: Giro d’Italia: Tadej Pogačar ‘is kicking my head in’ says Geraint Thomas

The pink jersey finally calmed down on stage 4, staying out of the action and letting the sprinters have their way, with Jonathan Milan (Lidl-Trek) taking the win.

If you missed any of the Giro action over the last few days, Conor is on hand to recap all the key events, or you can also catch up with our full race reports here on the website.

As well as his attacking exploits, Pogačar also made headlines with the unusual colour of his shorts on stage 3. Rather than matching the pink of the maglia rosa, his bibs were a darker, purplish hue, looking oddly similar the purple of the sprinters’ ciclamino jersey.

An explanation for this – other than a mix-up in the laundry room – was not immediately forthcoming, but fortunately we have the story behind the shorts, and you can read that here on the GCN website.

Read more: Giro d'Italia's purple polemica: UCI involved amid question marks over Tadej Pogačar’s shorts

Thankfully, he was back in suave black shorts on stage 4, but surely a head-to-toe pink skinsuit is coming soon.

Elsewhere, the women’s peloton raced their first Grand Tour of the season at the Vuelta Femenina last week. After eight days of exciting racing, it was Demi Vollering (SD Worx-Protime) who emerged victorious overall, after finally taking her first victory of 2024 on the summit finish of stage 5.

She was tested on stage 6, with Évita Muzic (FDJ-SUEZ) outclimbing her on the ascent to La Laguna Negra, but Vollering was back on top on stage 8 to round out her week with a victory. Riejanne Markus (Visma-Lease a Bike) and Elisa Longo Borghini (Lidl-Trek) finished second and third overall, after Gaia Realini (Lidl-Trek) and Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) both left the race early.

Read more: Vollering and Muzic: ‘That would be a dream for any manager to have two riders like this’ says FDJ-SUEZ boss

On the other stages, Lidl-Trek won the opening time trial, EF Education-Cannondale duo Alison Jackson and Kristen Faulkner took a stage each, and Marianne Vos (Visma-Lease a Bike) won twice to claim the green jersey.

Again, you can catch up with the full reports and results from each stage here on the site.

Back in men’s racing, Arnaud De Lie (Lotto Dstny) returned from illness to win the gravel-strewn Tro Bro Léon, and claim a piglet as a prize. At the Elfstedenronde Brugge, it was Alexander Kristoff (Uno-X Mobility) who sprinted to victory, proving that age is but a number, even in sprinting.

In other news, two riders announced their retirements this week, with Rik Zabel (Israel-Premier Tech) stepping away from racing this May, whilst Luke Rowe (Ineos Grenadiers) revealed that he will hang up his wheels at the end of this year, a season earlier than previously planned. We also heard that the women’s Tour of Scandinavia is cancelled for 2024, but hoping to return in 2025.

The racing continues with the Giro d’Italia, Tour de Hongrie and Itzulia Women this week. Stay up to date with all the news, results, interviews and analysis here on the GCN website.

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