Cycling-Pogacar poised to win Giro after solo stage 20 victory

  • Cycling
  • Saturday, 25 May 2024

Cycling - Giro d'Italia - Stage 20 - Alpago to Bassano del Grappa - Italy - May 25, 2024 UAE Team Emirates' Tadej Pogacar celebrates winning stage 20 REUTERS/Ciro De Luca

(Reuters) -Tadej Pogacar of UAE Team Emirates continued his complete domination of this year's Giro d'Italia on Saturday, riding away solo to win stage 20 for a sixth stage victory to extend his overall lead going into the final day.

Pogacar could afford to wave to the crowd in the final stages of the 184km route from Alpago to Bassano del Grappa as he powered home to put nearly a 10-minute gap between himself and his closest rivals in the general classification.

The Slovenian already had an overall lead of seven minutes and 42 seconds over Daniel Felipe Martinez, and when he made his move on the day's second climb of Monte Grappa, nobody could keep pace as Pogacar again showed his rivals no mercy.

Valentin Paret-Peintre (Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale), winner of stage 10, came in second, outsprinting Martinez who finished third, more than two minutes behind Pogacar, and the leader now has an unassailable lead of nine minutes and 56 seconds.

At the beginning of the first ascent to Monte Grappa, a leading group of 11 riders began to split, and Pelayo Sanchez, Jimmy Janssens and Alessandro Tonelli took to the front.

UAE Emirates had controlled the peloton, happy to allow the group to stay away before the climbs, but never allowing the gap to exceed four minutes as Pogacar steadied himself for another stage win.

"Rui (Oliveira) and (Sebastian) Molano did a great job until the first climb then Vegard (Stake Laengen) and Mikkel (Bjerg) set a really good pace on the first part of the climb, which I was really happy with," Pogacar said.

At the top of the first climb, the leading trio were overtaken by Giulio Pellizzari (VF Group–Bardiani–CSF–Faizane) after he escaped from the peloton and on the second climb the young Italian left the others behind.

On stage 16, Pellizzari was denied the win when Pogacar caught him in the final kilometre and this time the leader made his move with 36 kilometres to go, easily reeling in the Italian before taking off alone.

"The uphill we set as we said it in the meeting. It was perfect and I was so happy that I had a good gap on the top and I didn't need to go full gas on the downhill," Pogacar said.

Sunday's final stage will be a 125km procession into Rome, where Pogacar will surely be crowned Giro winner after leading since winning stage two.

"We wanted the pink jersey from stage two, a lot of obligations every day, a lot of things to do all day... I wanted to finish the Giro with good mentality and good shape and I think I achieved that," the Slovenian said.

"I've never been in Rome before, but I'm going to enjoy it for sure."

(Reporting by Trevor Stynes; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Ed Osmond)

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