Pogačar powers to time trial victory on stage 7 strengthening grip on pink – Giro d’Italia

Giro d’Italia 2024

Stage 7

Giro d’Italia leader Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) put in a stunning ride in the first individual time trial of the 2024 edition, rocketing up the category 4 climb at the end of the 40.6km course from Foligno to Perugia to snatch the stage victory.

Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers), who spent the better part of the day in the hot seat, shook his head as the maglia rosa turned around a 44-second deficit at the bottom of the climb into a defeat by 17 seconds.

Magnus Sheffield made it two Ineos riders on the stage podium, taking third at 49 seconds.

“Finally after World Championships last year, today was my first race on the TT bike again,” Pogačar said.

“It was a lot of preparation for this and a lot of ups and downs since last year in the time trial, so I’m super happy that today I felt good.”

Pacing was crucial for the stage, which started mostly flat but ended with a 6.6km ascent, and Pogačar metered his effort perfectly.

“I started with an easier pace, I had to get used to the TT bike,” he said. “I paced myself until the climb. I’m super happy with the day on the bike.”

Filippo Ganna set the time to beat in Perugia.

It goes without saying that Pogačar put the boots to his general classification rivals, finishing two full minutes faster than Ineos’ Geraint Thomas.

Dani Martínez (Bora-Hansgrohe) went 11 seconds quicker than Thomas to move into second place in the overall standings, 2:36 behind Pogačar, with Thomas third at 2:46.

Ben O’Connor (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale) rocketed up the overall standings despite dropping his chain on course and giving up around 30 seconds, moving up seven spots into fourth at 3:33.

Luke Plapp (Jayco-AlUla) also climbed up the rankings, moving into fifth at 3:42 and pushing Cian Uijtdebroeks (Visma-Lease a Bike) out of the white jersey.

If the first weekend of the Giro d’Italia was the aperitivo and antipasto, the first individual time trial provided the overall contenders a hearty primo to sink their teeth into before Saturday’s secondo.

A stiff climb at the end of the 40.6-kilometre route from Foligno to Perugia wasn’t exactly in the favour of pure time trialists but the strong men still stacked the early standings.

Josef Cerny (Soudal-Quickstep) set the quickest early time before Max Walscheid (Jayco AlUla) went one second quicker. The German hardly had time to get to the hot seat before his time was eclipsed by Daan Hoole (Lidl-Trek) by nearly a minute.

Filippo Ganna and Lucas Plapp watch as Pogačar races towards victory.

Lorenzo Milesi (Movistar), the under-23 world time trial champion, put 20 seconds into Hoole’s time but not long after, Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates) – a three-time under-23 world champion – knocked 16 seconds off the Italian’s time.

Bjerg’s time lasted until Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) rocketed through the course, passing rider after rider who started before him and knocking 1:39 off Bjerg’s time.

Few riders could come close to Ganna’s time – his teammates Magnus Sheffield and Thymen Arensman came through 32 and 43 seconds slower, respectively, while Bora-Hansgrohe’s Max Schachmann finished 48 seconds slower.

Then, it was time to find out how the overall contenders would fare.

Antonio Tiberi (Bahrain Victorious), who started the stage 2:50 down on Pogačar, slotted in ahead of Bjerg, 1:04 down on Ganna but noticeably up on many of the GC contenders. The Italian moved up to eight in the overall standings at the day’s end.

Double Australian champion Luke Plapp (Jayco-AlUla) seemed to shrug off his big breakaway from the previous stage, coming through 1:28 behind Ganna. He climbed into fifth in the GC standings.

Cian Uijtdebroeks (Visma-Lease a Bike) looked to be struggling in the flat opening section, coming through the check at the base of the climb 2:43 down on Ganna and, importantly, 8 seconds behind Plapp in the white jersey competition and dropping to seventh place overall.

An emotional Pogačar after a stunning individual display.

Thomas came through 1:27 behind his teammate at the second check but Pogačar was on a strong ride, going 40 seconds quicker at the same point. While the race leader and Dani Martínez (Bora-Hansgrohe) made up ground on the final climb, Thomas faded but still held onto third place in the overall standings.

Tomorrow’s stage 8 brings the second mountain top finish of the 2024 Giro. The race between Spoleto and the top of the Prati di Tivo is 152 kilometres long and takes in an elevation gain of 3,820 metres. The finish climb adds 14.8 kilometres at 7% to the mix.

The Giro is in Central Italy. The riders set off from Spoleto, an ancient town in the foothills of the Apennines. It’s the fifth time that it hosts a stage start in the Italian Grand Tour, while two stages finished here. Robbie McEwen sprinted to triumph in 2004 before Luis Felipe Laverde won from the breakaway in 2007.

The 2007 race came down the Forca di Cerro and the 8th stage starts in the opposite direction – so, uphill. The Forca di Cerro is 8.8 kilometres and rises at 4.3%. No KOM points are available at the summit, riders with blue dreams have to wait for the second ascent to gain points. The Forca Capistrello adds up to 16 kilometres, while the average gradient sits at 5.6%.

The succeeding 70 kilometres are played out on undulating terrain and then the Croce Abbio appears. The 7.5 kilometres climb at 4.9% precedes a long descent to the base of the Prati di Tivo. The 14.6 kilometres climb at 7% kicks in immediately.

The current peloton is familiar with the Prati di Tivo. Ominously for the GC contenders Tadej Pogacar soloed to victory on the mountain in the 2021 Tirreno-Adriatico, finishing 6 seconds ahead of Simon Yates.

The second and third intermediate sprint come with 3, 2 and 1 seconds, while the first three riders on the line gain 10, 6 and 4 seconds.

Stage 7 result:

1. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, in 51:44
2. Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers, +17s
3. Magnus Sheffield (USA) Ineos Grenadiers, +49s
4. Thymen Arensman (Ned) Ineos Grenadiers, +1:00
5. Max Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, +1:05
6. Antonio Tiberi (Ita) Bahrain Victorious, +1:21
7. Luke Plapp (Aus) Jayco AlUla, +1:45
8. Dani Martínez (Col) Bora-Hansgrohe, +1:49
9. Mikkel Bjerg (Den) UAE Team Emirates, +1:56
10. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, +2:00

General Classification:

1. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, in 24:12:36
2. Daniel Felipe Martínez (Col) Bora-Hansgrohe, +2:36
3. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, +2:46
4. Ben O’Connor (Aus) Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale, +3:33
5. Luke Plapp (Aus) Jayco AlUla, +3:42
6. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Qazaqstan, +3:49
7. Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bel) Visma-Lease a Bike, +3:50
8. Antonio Tiberi (Ita) Bahrain Victorious, +4:11
9. Filippo Zana (Ita) Jayco AlUla, +4:41
10. Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan, +4:44

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