‘We need to share a piece of pie’ – Tadej Pogačar takes back seat on Giro d’Italia summit finish

Slovenian focuses on neutralising attacks and showing control rather than gains on stage 10

Clock17:27, Tuesday 14th May 2024
Tadej Pogačar during stage 10 of the Giro d'Italia

© Getty Images

Tadej Pogačar during stage 10 of the Giro d'Italia

To see race leader Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) not on the attack on an uphill finish has already become an anomaly in this year’s Giro d’Italia, but on stage 10, the pink jersey sat back in the peloton as the breakaway won the stage, and didn’t attack the final climb.

Of course, Pogačar was ever present on the front of the GC group in the key moments of the 17.9km climb to Bocca della Selva, but he just covered moves rather than launched them.

This, he said after the stage, was in part to keep the harmony in the bunch.

“If I’m honest, I would say in a nice way that everybody is happy,” the Slovenian said, before being pushed to expand on what he meant.

“Actually, it’s not about if I can win or not,” he explained. “In the end we rode easier and then Bahrain had to pull, they set a harder pace on the climb. We were not in control of the climb anymore.”

Read more: Is Tadej Pogačar getting greedy at the Giro d'Italia? GCN Racing News Show

The yielding of control, Pogačar said, was not necessarily by choice, but helped to keep everybody happy in a race where UAE Team Emirates and their star have been taking home most of the spoils.

“In my opinion, it would have been better just to go how we wanted to the finish, but sometimes there’s too many people in the peloton saying we need to share a piece of pie,” he said.

“It’s just that sometimes you can grab the option and sometimes you cannot. Today was a fifty-fifty. I would say at Prati di Tivo it was more easy to take it. Sometimes you don’t need to force your team and yourself for the stage win, because we need to think about the next days, not just about the others being happy, to be clear. We need to think about the next three days, the time trial and then the queen stage at the end of the week.”

As the race leader with a solid margin of almost three minutes over his closest rivals – and even more to the rest of the top 10 – Pogačar didn’t necessarily have to shut down moves from the likes of Antonio Tiberi (Bahrain Victorious) but did so nonetheless, as he continues to assert his dominance on the race.

“Tiberi really did good in the attack, but I knew that I needed to follow and neutralise attacks and show that I’m the strongest,” he said.

Read more: Giro d'Italia stage 10: Valentin Paret-Peintre triumphs atop Bocca della Selva

Tadej Pogačar ‘felt the legs’ after rest day

Though Pogačar was keen to point to strategy and tactics as the reason for his approach to stage 10, he also mentioned the task of returning to race intensity after the race’s first rest day, and the challenge of the summit finish.

“It was a super hard and uncomfortable climb,” he said of the last ascent. “It was an uneven climb with crosswinds, also headwinds, it was a hard climb.”

The middle part of the relatively short 142km stage was fairly hectic, with a breakaway battle going on for quite some time before the elite group that would contest the win finally went, allowing UAE Team Emirates to return to their plan.

“It was super super fast. Everybody wanted to go in the breakaway and everybody neutralised each other from going in the break. The peloton did try to let the breakaway go, and once the breakaway formed we set our own pace and we went how we wanted.”

It wasn’t for the win on stage 10, but Pogačar remains in the driving seat of this race overall, and will almost certainly be back on the attack path as the second week rolls on.

“I felt the legs but it was still a good day,” was his summary. “It was controllable and a good day that is behind us now and [we are] looking forward to the next days.”

Read more: The GC standings at the Giro d'Italia

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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