Giro d'Italia stage 8: Tadej Pogačar triumphs again at Prati di Tivo summit finish

Pink jersey extends his overall lead with a sprint from the GC group at the top of the final climb, collecting his third stage win of this Giro

Clock14:54, Saturday 11th May 2024
Tadej Pogačar celebrates his victory on stage 8 of the Giro d'Italia

© Getty Images

Tadej Pogačar celebrates his victory on stage 8 of the Giro d'Italia

Maglia rosa Tadej Pogačar made it two stage wins in two days at the Giro d’Italia as he stormed to victory at the summit of Prati di Tivo, underlining his incredible dominance at this year’s race.

His UAE Team Emirates teammates controlled the day – the toughest mountain stage so far – from the drop, and despite several late attacks from a whittled-down group of favourites in the final 1.5km, nobody could hold his wheel as he sprinted to a third victory in just eight days’ racing.

Pogačar added four bonus seconds to his dominant race lead over Dani Martínez (Bora-Hansgrohe), moving 2:40 ahead of the Colombian, who was also the second-placed finisher on the day, out-sprinting Ben O’Connor (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale) to the line.

That trio were awarded the same time at the finish but there was a two-second gap to Antonio Tiberi (Bahrain Victorious), who finished just ahead of Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers), Einer Rubio (Movistar), and Cian Uijtdebroeks (Visma-Lease a Bike), who reclaimed the white jersey.

Thomas had a better day than his disappointing stage 7 time trial and remains third overall but conceded eight seconds in total to Martínez and 12 to Pogačar.

The glory once again belonged to the Slovenian, who backed up his imperious victory in the time trial with another seemingly effortless win – with enough time to glance over his shoulders, see daylight between himself and Martínez, and celebrate crossing the line.

“I was not expecting it at all today, but as a team we rode super well from the beginning. We came with a good advantage, a good time gap to the last climb, the team did a super good job to the finish. Rafał [Majka] did an amazing lead-out and it’s amazing to win again here in Prati di Tivo," Pogačar said.

“I think the teammates wanted to go for the stage win as soon as we survived the first long categorised climb. With Mikkel [Bjerg], he came back to the bunch and was all-in for chasing the group in front. Mikkel and [Vegard Stake] Laengen did a super good job until the final climb and at the bottom when I saw our guys were still good, Domen [Novak], Felix [Grossschartner] and Rafał, I was confident we could win today."

A frantic start

Following stage 7’s time trial, stage 8 was a day out for the general classification contenders, packing 3,850m of elevation on six climbs – three classified – into a short, explosive 152km run from Spoleto to Prati di Tivo.

On a beautiful sunny day in the Apennines it was full gas from the drop. Several riders tried to get up the road, but UAE Team Emirates were determined to control proceedings. Georg Steinhauser (EF Education-EasyPost) and Ewen Costiou (Arkéa-B&B Hotels) were the first to make a move stick as they launched on the unclassified kicker to Forca di Cerro.

On the descent the moves kept coming but, with UAE reluctant to let too big a group go, it was cat-and-mouse for a while. Martin Marcellusi (VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizané) successfully bridged across before a large bunch formed with around 1.5km until the start of the day’s first real climb, the category 2 Forca Capistrello, starting after 20km of racing. Averaging 5.6% for 16.3km but with gradients as steep as 12% towards the summit, the leg-sapping climb forced a gruppetto of sprinters out the back early on, with ciclamino jersey Jonathan Milan (Lidl-Trek) and Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) among those distanced, the latter unsurprisingly after his huge effort in the time trial.

Around 25 riders established a slim lead up the road, including several general classification threats, the most dangerous being Romain Bardet (dsm-firmenich PostNL). He was accompanied by teammate Chris Hamilton, Steinhauser, Jhonatan Narváez and Magnus Sheffield (Ineos Grenadiers), Simon Geschke (Cofidis), Valentin Paret-Peintre (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale), Nairo Quintana and Pelayo Sánchez (Movistar), Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-QuickStep), Alessandro De Marchi (Jayco-AlUla), Michael Storer (Tudor Pro Cycling), Alessandro Verre (Arkéa-B&B Hotels), Marco Frigo (Israel-Premier Tech), and African champion Henok Mulubrhan (Astan-Qazaqstan).

Alaphilippe was the most lively in the break, constantly firing off the front, but eventually it was his compatriot Bardet who made the decisive move. He launched an attack on the climb’s steeper slopes along with Steinhauser and Geschke, and the trio quickly distanced the remainder of the break, who couldn’t cooperate to bring them back. Another Frenchman in Paret-Peintre bridged across to form a leading quartet, with Geschke taking the KOM honours at the summit and the gap to the strung-out peloton holding steady at around a minute.

UAE drove the pace on the bunch but already looked a little depleted on the day’s first climb, burning a lot of firepower to keep the gap under control. Their usual mountain machine, Mikkel Bjerg, suffered early on having been stung by bees in the time trial and with his left leg taped up to control the swelling. By the end of the descent, Bardet’s leading group had swelled to include Verre, Sheffield, Narváez, and Alaphilippe, and had just over two minutes advantage over the peloton, which began to slow its chase.

Mulubrhan, Quintana, Sánchez, de Marchi, Storer and Marcellusi rejoined the group with 4km before the day’s first intermediate sprint as the day’s frantic pace levelled off – at least for a moment.

Hunting down the breakaway

The gap fell to around 1:30 with 80km to go but Alaphilippe – frustrated by the break’s failure to work together – took to the front on the descent from another uncategorised bump and pushed their lead out to 2:32. His turn put several other riders in trouble, particularly Geschke, who suffered a poorly-timed rear puncture and put in a huge effort to claw his way back to the group.

But on the long approach to the day’s second classified climb, UAE – setting a steady tempo behind – chipped away at their advantage. And the breakaway seemed to know their days were numbered, glancing around at each other and looking demoralised as the long day on the slopes started to take its toll.

Bardet took the full 12 Intergiro points and three bonus seconds on offer at Capitignano, edging out Steinhauser in second and Sheffield in third in a three-up sprint.

With 6km until the start of the category 3 Croce Abbio, Steinhauser stamped on the pedals, conscious of the breakaway’s fragile lead – by now only 1:10 – but his attempt to whittle down the group didn’t stick. Geschke again took the KOM points atop the 8.4km Croce Abbio, narrowly beating his compatriot Steinhauser and moving up to second in the blue jersey standings. With a slender lead of 1:30 the break headed onto the winding 30km descent leading to the foot of the day’s final ascent.

The final climb

After what appeared to be a difficult start for UAE they were firmly entrenched at the front of the peloton all day, with the squad of Vegard Stake Laengen, Felix Großschartner, Domen Novak and Bjerg shepherding Pogačar and shredding the breakaway’s lead to 37 seconds as the final climb approached.

At 14.5km, Prati di Tivo was the toughest ascent of the day, averaging 7% but with ramps up to 12%. De Marchi and Alaphilippe were the earliest casualties of the punishing slopes, with white jersey Luke Plapp (Jayco-AlUla) and Juanpe Lopez (Lidl-Trek) among those struggling further back in the peloton. With 11.5km left to climb Verre launched an attack but was quickly reeled in, while the Ineos duo of Sheffield and Narváez were hauled back by the UAE train.

Paret-Peintre was the next to go in a final bid to stay ahead of the bunch. For the first time in the day Bora-Hansgrohe – led by Max Schachmann – took to the front and upped the pace, hoovering up the remaining escapees. Their push pared down the chasing group to a select few, including Thomas, Arensman, Uijtdebroeks, and O’Connor, with sixth-placed Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Qazaqstan) among those forced out the back.

Paret-Peintre continued as lone leader, claiming the intermediate sprint points at the spitefully-positioned checkpoint halfway up the climb at Pietracamela, along with three bonus seconds. His advantage was down to nine seconds before Schachmann dropped away, but with UAE restoring order on the front it swung out to 21. Bardet and Steinhauser were made to pay for their efforts on the front as the gradients pitched up, both slipping away from the front group and losing time.

Paret-Peintre was caught with 4.2km to go and immediately dropped as Majka guided Pogačar and co up the Prati di Tivo’s toughest slopes. Storer was the last man standing from the breakaway and the only one to cling on to the maglia rosa group.

With just 1.6km until the summit the GC race – and fight for the stage win – was lit up by Tiberi, who made the first attack. Pogačar was immediately on his wheel, shutting down multiple moves by Tiberi and Arensman, before Martínez made the crucial jump in the last 250m.

While the Colombian looked strong he was no match for the maglia rosa, who swung past him with ease to claim his 10th victory of the season.

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

4H 02' 16"

2

co flag

MARTINEZ Daniel

BORA-hansgrohe

"

3

au flag

O'CONNOR Ben

Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale Team

"

4

it flag

TIBERI Antonio

Bahrain Victorious

+ 2"

5

gb flag

THOMAS Geraint

INEOS Grenadiers

"

6

co flag

RUBIO Einer

Movistar Team

"

7

be flag

UIJTDEBROEKS Cian

Team Visma | Lease a Bike

"

8

nl flag

ARENSMAN Thymen

INEOS Grenadiers

+ 11"

9

au flag

STORER Michael

Tudor Pro Cycling Team

+ 13"

10

fr flag

BAUDIN Alex

Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale Team

+ 21"

Provided by FirstCycling

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Tour de France

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28 Apr - 5 May

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