Giro d'Italia stage 1: Jhonatan Narváez wins as Tadej Pogačar drops all his GC rivals

Gripping stage at the Giro sees the race favourite drop Thomas, Bardet and O'Connor as Narváez takes the maglia rosa

Clock15:22, Saturday 4th May 2024
Jhonatan Narváez wins stage 1 of the Giro d'Italia as Tadej Pogačar drops all his GC rivals

© Getty Images

Jhonatan Narváez wins stage 1 of the Giro d'Italia as Tadej Pogačar drops all his GC rivals

Jhonatan Narváez (Ineos Grenadiers) won the opening stage of the 2024 Giro d'Italia, taking a close sprint finish against Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) and race favourite Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates).

The win put Narváez into the first maglia rosa of the race and saw Pogačar drop and put time into all of his GC rivals.

The top three escaped over the top of the final climb of the day after Pogačar's UAE Team Emirates squad set a relentless pace through the last 50km of stage and dropped several key GC riders, including Romain Bardet and Thymen Arensman on the penultimate ascent.

Read more: Giro d'Italia stage 1: Arensman and Bardet feel the force of Tadej Pogačar's shock and awe

On the final 4km climb to the finish Pogačar accelerated, cutting through and early break and cresting the top of the ascent with just Narváez for company as the likes of Geraint Thomas and Dani Martinez struggled to respond.

Schachmann made contact with the front two riders in the descent and in the sprint Pogačar hit the front but was quickly edged out by Narváez, who took the second Giro d'Italia stage of his career, and his first maglia rosa.

“It was a great feeling, we know with the team it’s going to be a good stage for me, I worked a lot on it. Also following the best guy in the world in the climb was really hard so it’s a special victory today," Narváez said at the finish.

“It still hurts me now," he said when asked what it was like to follow Pogačar.

"It was really, really hard. In the end I made it. I think he [Pogačar] went too long, 200m after a really hard stage. I did a shorter sprint, in the end I took the victory.”

Pogačar may have missed out on the stage and the maglia rosa on his debut in the Giro d'Italia but the ease with which he dropped all of his rivals in the short climb before the finish was a major warning to the rest of the race. The Slovenian only put seconds into Thomas, Martinez and Damiano Caruso but several other rivals shipped major time.

2024 Giro d’Italia starts under blue skies

The 2024 Giro d’Italia kicked off under sunny conditions on Saturday with a 140km stage between Venaria Reale and Torino. The early attacks, as expected, took time to settle before a six-rider move went clear that included Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Lidl-Trek), Lilian Calmejane (Intermarché-Wanty), Louis Barré (Arkéa B&B Hotels), Nicolas Debeaumarché (Cofidis), Filippo Fiorelli (VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè) and Andrea Pietrobon (Polti Kometa).

Read more: Stat Attack: The Giro d'Italia in numbers

On the first categorised climb to Berzano di San Pietro the leaders held a two-minute gap as Pogačar’s squad set the pace for the peloton. Granted, the team from UAE only posted one man on the front of the bunch but it was a telling moment for what could lie ahead for the next three weeks as they settled into life controlling the race.

On the next ascent of the Superga the six riders maintained a 2:28 gap on the bunch as the rest of Pogačar’s squad moved up and Ghebreigzabhier picked up the KOM points at the summit. The experienced Calmejane, who had eased off during the first two climbs of the day, made it two leaders out front when he joined Ghebreigzabhier as the rest of the break began to falter and with 45km to go the pair had three minutes on the field.

Colle Maddalena kicks off GC fight

The Colle Maddalena was always going to be testing ground on the stage, especially given the fact that it was the longest climb of the day, but few could have envisaged Pogačar’s team doing as much damage as they did.

First the sprinters began to slip back and then the likes of Christophe Laporte began to struggle. But when Pogačar ushered Mikkel Bjerg to the front the entire complexion of the race changed. Thymen Arensman, a contender for the podium to some, was the first casualty, before Michael Woods and Romain Bardet joined the Dutch rider out the back of the bunch.

Up front, Calmejane attacked and picked up the points to ensure he would wear the KOM jersey on stage 2, but with less than 30 riders in the GC group by the summit, the damage inflicted on the race by UAE was telling.
Over the top, a group of seven formed, among them Caruso and Schachmann, and with Calmejane reeled in with 10km to go the stage was still wide open.

With 4km to go and the break still clear by 19 seconds, Pogačar attacked. He quickly strung out the peloton, or what was left of it, but was unable to shake off a determined Narváez, who hung on through several vicious accelerations.

When Schachmann made it three leaders on the descent it was clear that the winner would come from the front trio, and Narváez took the expected win.

For Pogačar it was a victory of sorts. He put time into his rivals but seconds will count for little in three weeks, and the manner in which is used up his team will raise questions. They’re strong but can they truly keep up with his insatiable desire to win everything?

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.

Race Results

1

ec flag

NARVAEZ Jhonnatan

INEOS Grenadiers

3H 14' 23"

2

de flag

SCHACHMANN Max

BORA-hansgrohe

"

3

si flag

POGACAR Tadej

UAE Team Emirates

"

4

fr flag

BAUDIN Alex

Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale Team

+ 6"

5

it flag

CONCI Nicola

Alpecin-Deceuninck

+ 10"

6

be flag

HERMANS Quinten

Alpecin-Deceuninck

"

7

be flag

VANSEVENANT Mauri

Soudal Quick-Step

"

8

it flag

TIBERI Antonio

Bahrain Victorious

"

9

hu flag

VALTER Attila

Team Visma | Lease a Bike

"

10

gb flag

THOMAS Geraint

INEOS Grenadiers

"

Provided by FirstCycling

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28 Apr - 5 May

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