Giro d'Italia stage 7: Tadej Pogačar powers to TT victory taking time on Thomas and rivals

Slovenian betters Filippo Ganna on final climb to extend lead, as Geraint Thomas slips to third overall

Clock15:18, Friday 10th May 2024
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© Getty Images

Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) blasted to victory on stage 7 of the Giro d’Italia, decimating the entire field in the 40.6km individual time trial between Foligno and Perugia to extend his lead in the maglia rosa and move another step closer to overall victory.

Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) had set the fastest times at each of the two intermediate checkpoints and looked on course for his first victory of the season, but as Pogačar hit the final climb to the line, the tension began to rise as an advantage of over a minute in Ganna’s favour began to slip away.

At the finish Pogačar raised one arm in celebration as a forlorn Ganna could only shrug as he exited the hot seat.

The day went from bad to worse for Ineos Grenadiers with the British team going from a provisionally taking the top three placings in the stage standings, to Ganna’s ultimate defeat and Geraint Thomas losing two full minutes to Pogačar and slipping from second overall to third as Dani Martínez (Bora-Hansgrohe) became Pogačar's closest rival.

This was a day in which Pogačar dominance was in full flight and the gaps could have been even larger had it not been for the blustery conditions that hampered the GC contenders in the second half of the race.

Ganna’s 17-second deficit to Pogačar on the line was just one storyline for the day, with Magnus Sheffield taking third and Thymen Arensman fourth. Ineos Grenadiers have the strongest team in the race, there is little doubt of that at this point, but they have no rider capable of landing a glove to Pogačar in this form.

After seven stages of the Giro d’Italia, the maglia rosa is now clear of Martinez by 2:36, with Thomas a further ten seconds in arrears. This was, as Sean Kelly noted on Eurosport commentary, a "monster performance".

As well as the gains on GC, the maglia rosa seemed happy to have won a non-national championships time trial for the first time since the Tour de France in 2021.

"After the World Championships last year, today was my first race on the TT bike again," he explained at the finish.

"It was a lot of preparation for this, a lot of ups and downs since last year in the time trial, so I’m super happy that today I felt good. I started with a bit of an easier pace, I had to get used to the TT bike, then I paced myself to the climb and did the climb full gas, so I’m super happy with today on the bike.

"I heard only two times the time gap, and I was not so sure what they said in the radio, so I was just focusing on myself. I knew that the climb suits me better than Pippo [Ganna] for sure, so that was my advantage there, especially because it was quite steep. But I think the next time trial will be a little bit different probably."

Fist bumps the only blows Thomas lands on Pogačar

The conditions were set, the landscape picture picture-perfect as the top two in this year’s race, Tadej Pogacar and Geraint Thomas, met in the start house just before their individual efforts. Experience versus youthful brilliance, a defining moment of this year’s race and possibly the outcome of the Giro, but their friendly fist bump at the start was the only moment in which Thomas got close to the race leader.

The Welshman managed to hold his own at the first time check, keeping the gap on the road to eight seconds between himself and Pogačar but by the second time check at 34km that deficit had ballooned out to 40 seconds as the Slovenian made light of the windy conditions.

The final climb, however, saw Pogačar turn the screw as he danced up the steep ascent as if he’d just left the start, while Thomas struggled for cadence and speed. This was the Thomas of twelve months ago, who cracked to ship the race lead to Primož Roglič in the final time trial of the 2023 Giro, not the rider who has delivered world class TT efforts in the past. The Ineos rider's time wasn’t even that bad, crossing the line in 10th place, but when put against Pogačar, just like the rest of the GC field, he had no answer.

Thomas remains in sight of a podium spot, with a healthy gap on Ben O’Connor (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale) in fourth, but winning this year’s Giro d’Italia almost looks impossible for the veteran at this point in the race. He will no doubt battle on, and the Giro certainly has more twists and turns to come in the mountains, but this time trial demonstrated how far Pogačar is ahead of even a competitive Tour winner like Thomas.

The GC landscape takes shape

Of course, Thomas wasn’t the only GC candidate to suffer at the hands of Pogačar, but some riders finished with their standings improved.

Antonio Tiberi (Bahrain-Victorious) secured sixth on the line and moved himself into eighth overall as a result. Luke Plapp (Jayco AlUla) secured a valiant seventh despite his exploits in the stage 6 break, and Martínez’s podium credentials remain steadfast after another solid display in this year’s race. He could be a real dark horse and a thorn in Pogačar's side if any mistakes are made in the mountains.

Ben O’Connor battled back from a slow start to hold the gap to 2:07, while the pure climbers in Juan Pedro López (Lidl-Trek) and Einer Rubio (Movistar) both lost over four minutes. ​​Cian Uijtdebroeks (Visma-Lease a Bike) lost almost three minutes and never looked comfortable on the bike as he conceded the white jersey to Plapp.

There are now just two riders within three minutes of Pogačar but close to a dozen within striking distance of the podium.

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.

Race Results

1

si flag

POGACAR Tadej

UAE Team Emirates

51' 44"

2

it flag

GANNA Filippo

INEOS Grenadiers

+ 17"

3

us flag

SHEFFIELD Magnus

INEOS Grenadiers

+ 49"

4

nl flag

ARENSMAN Thymen

INEOS Grenadiers

+ 1' 00"

5

de flag

SCHACHMANN Max

BORA-hansgrohe

+ 1' 05"

6

it flag

TIBERI Antonio

Bahrain Victorious

+ 1' 21"

7

au flag

PLAPP Lucas

Team Jayco-AlUla

+ 1' 45"

8

co flag

MARTINEZ Daniel

BORA-hansgrohe

+ 1' 49"

9

dk flag

BJERG Mikkel

UAE Team Emirates

+ 1' 56"

10

gb flag

THOMAS Geraint

INEOS Grenadiers

+ 2' 00"

Provided by FirstCycling

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