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Pogačar, ordinary supremacy


He had won with a solo action atop Oropa, he had won with elegance and power in the Perugia time trial, he lacked a sprint success. Thus, Tadej Pogačar, in order to prove that he can win in just about any situation, decided to wait until the last 200 metres of the Prati di Tivo climb before storming to victory ahead of Dani Martinez and Ben O’Connor, displaying his superiority once again.

The Slovenian alsos proved to be utterly unpredictable. Firstly, because he and his team decided to control the day from the drop, when he could have let the 14-man breakaway go and focused exclusively on the final climb, and secondly because, once he had caught all the attackers, he did not pull off one of the usual one-man shows but waited for the uphill sprint.

Admiring the Maglia Rosa – today in total pink (tomorrow who knows…) – raising his arms to the sky is always a fascinating sight. A non-sprinter had not won three stages after the first eight days of racing since Moreno Argentin back in 1987, confirming that what we are witnessing is not entirely normal.

Behind, however, the fight for a podium finish is way more tight: on the virtual Top 3 are Daniel Martinez (Bora-hansgrohe) and Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers), but both Ben O’Connor (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale) and Antonio Tiberi (Bahrain Victorious), the only one to have tried anything today on the climb up to Prati di Tivo, appear to be on the rise. With Luke Plapp (Jayco AlUla) sinking to over 20 minutes, the fight for the Maglia Bianca seems to be down to Tiberi himself and the so far very solid Cian Uijtdebroeks (Team Visma | Lease a Bike), without underestimating the revitalised Thymen Arensman (Ineos Grenadiers).

Speaking of Tiberi, Italy seems to have found an excellent passer- climber capable of fighting for high positions in stage races. This is good news, which sweetens up a rather bitter pill for the Italian movement: today has equaled the record of abstinence from the Maglia Rosa for an Italian rider, which is destined to get even worse in the coming days. 66 stages, the previous record dates back to Blockhaus 1972 – Ancona 1975.

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