The Giro d'Italia 2024 could be historic

Road 13/05/24 16:27 Migue A.

As expected, Tadej Pogacar has started the 2024 Giro d'Italia by dominating wherever he goes. All with the aim of securing the general classification of this edition of the Corsa Rosa as soon as possible and with an eye on saving maximum strength for the Tour de France in his tough challenge to conquer both the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France in the same year, a feat that no cyclist has been able to achieve since Marco Pantani did it in 1998.

Tadej Pogacar seeks to make history. The 2024 Giro d'Italia is the first step to achieve it

We arrive at the first rest day of the 2024 Giro d'Italia and it is time to reflect on what has happened during these first 9 stages of the race, after which the headline can only be that Tadej Pocagar confirms all the predictions. In fact, what is surprising are the voices criticizing the Slovenian for his "excessive competitiveness" by seeing him fight in practically every stage we have raced so far.

We cannot forget that, with just over a third of the race completed, Tadej Pogacar already has 3 stage wins to his name, being able to have achieved a fourth win in 9 out of 10 times we witnessed a finish like the one in the stage that opened the 2024 Giro d'Italia in the streets of Turin.

Tadej Pogacar did not wait a minute to start marking his territory and only needed a tough climb near the finish to break the race. An offensive that only Jonathan Narváez, the eventual winner of that first stage, and Max Schachmann could respond to. He left no loose ends the next day on the climb to Oropa and, emulating Marco Pantani, Pogacar won convincingly, making those who tried to respond to his attack, such as Ben O'Connor, pay dearly.

Not even in the third stage did the Slovenian stay still, and taking advantage of an attack on a climb in the last kilometers, Pogacar once again showed his strength and came very close to winning the stage. In this case, Geraint Thomas was the only one able to respond, albeit with some difficulties.

A couple of calm stages followed in the race, now, as a prelude to Thursday's stage with its three sections of Sterrato. However, there was not much battle among the favorites, who had their minds set on the decisive time trial the next day.

It was no wonder, as the organization of the 2024 Giro d'Italia had planned a tremendously tough time trial. A whopping 40 kilometers, a figure that seems from another era and forced the cyclists to almost an hour of maximum effort with the incentive of having a configuration very similar to the one that Jonas Vingegaard used last year to seal the Tour de France: a completely flat first part and the final 6 kilometers uphill.

Pogacar showed all his power not only by gaining time on his rivals in the general classification but also by winning the stage against Filippo Ganna, the top favorite for victory in what was almost his main goal in this 2024 Giro d'Italia.

The next day, on the way to Prati di Tivo, the second mountain finish and the first true mountain stage, we saw a much more conservative Tadej Pogacar. In fact, the trend was the almost total lack of movements from the favorites, probably in recovery mode after the tough time trial the previous day. In that scenario, Pogacar just had to put his team in control of the race and show his explosiveness in the finishes to claim another stage win.

It could be thought, given the tremendous superiority shown by Tadej Pogacar, that he has already won the 2024 Giro d'Italia and that simply defending himself will be enough to arrive in Rome in pink. But the Giro is a deceptive race, and it would not be the first time that a cyclist seems unbeatable and, on a bad day, loses all chances of victory. Just think of Simon Yates in 2018 when a spectacular Chris Froome stole the pink jersey from him in the final stages of the race.

The difference is that, if we look at the Top10 after this first week of the Giro, there does not seem to be a cyclist with enough level to challenge the Slovenian in a face-to-face battle, especially with the differences already established in the general classification, with the second-placed rider more than two and a half minutes behind. Tomorrow, we will have another mountain finish that should favor Tadej Pogacar, and the week will end with a new time trial and the peloton heading into the Alps towards Livigno.

It seems clear that Tadej Pogacar wants to secure the Giro d'Italia as soon as possible and, as seen in Saturday's stage, focus on saving energy already thinking about the Tour de France. Let's not forget that while the Giro d'Italia is a goal in itself, the great challenge is to achieve the Giro-Tour double, something that very few cyclists can boast of having, even less so in the current times where it seems like a dream given the demands and level of modern cycling.

Some voices have even mentioned that, if he achieves the double, he could consider competing in La Vuelta as well, although it seems more like a bar talk statement than a real possibility, precisely because of the demands of modern cycling and the apparent impossibility of a cyclist facing a yearly preparation with three peak performances.




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