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Tadej, the power of the supernatural

10/05/2024

We admit it, we had our videos and graphics ready to celebrate Filippo Ganna‘s victory. Instead, with yet another coup de théâtre, Tadej Pogačar once again disguised himself as an alien, devoured the climb to Perugia, and won the first time trial of the Giro d’Italia 2024.

Naive were we, who – after Ganna had set the fastest times at each of the two intermediate checkpoints and held a 47-second lead over the Slovenian before the final climb – thought the game was over. True, the 6.45 kilometres between Ponte Valleceppi and Perugia, all uphill, were certainly more favourable to Tadej, but up to that point Ganna had only lost a maximum of 32 seconds in that section. Unfortunately for the mighty Italian, Pogačar had studied the racecourse well and managed his energies even better, and his legs, which are indeed different from everyone else’s, took care of the rest.

In the end, the timer reads 1’04” recovered on the final climb. Such a resounding blow to the king of time trials could not have been expected even from someone with dynamite in his legs. Yet Pogačar managed it, leaving us all speechless once again. And to think that this was his first time trial of the year. At the finish Pogačar raised one arm in celebration as a a visibly disappointed Ganna could only shrug as he exited the hot seat.

And the gap widens even more if we scroll down rest of the ranking: Daniel Martinez finished at 1’50”, Geraint Thomas took two minutes and slipped third overall, Cian Uijtdebroeks almost three. All the rivals are now within striking distance, but there is still a long way to go. Right now, it’s hard to imagine any opponent putting Pogačar in any sort of trouble, but the Giro is the Giro and the variables are endless.

On the other hand, the fight for podium is getting more and more interesting, as the rest of the Top 10 is packed within two minutes. Five riders are within 1’27’ of each other for the Maglia Bianca: Luke Plapp, the new leader, Cian Uijtdebroeks, Antonio Tiberi, Filippo Zana and Thymen Arensman. There are still many knots to untie and many days to enjoy. Tomorrow, in Prati di Tivo, we will have new answers.

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