The Slovenia Times

Pogačar celebrates Giro victory in Rome

Tadej Pogačar rides in pink in the last stage of the Giro d'Italia 2024 in Rome. Photo: ANSA/STA

Slovenian cycling superstar Tadej Pogačar won his debut Giro d'Italia on 26 May to lift the trophy in Rome after wearing the leader's pink jersey since stage 2 of the three-week race and showing his dominance by winning six out of 21 stages.

Securing the overall victory well before the final procession into the Eternal City, the 25-year-old UAE Team Emirates rider won by a huge margin of 9:56, the largest since Italian Vittorio Adorni's in 1965.

Having bagged another amazing solo victory in the final mountain stage on 25 May, Pogačar also won the climber's blue jersey, while his six stage wins are the most scored by any single rider in one edition of the race since Alessandro Petacchi's nine victories 20 years ago.

Columbian rider Daniel Martinez (Bora-hansgrohe) came in second and Welshman Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) third, 10:24 adrift.

Having won Tour de France two times (2020, 2021) and coming as the runner-up twice (2022, 2023) and also placing third in the 2019 Vuelta a España, Pogačar has now won podiums at all three Grand Tours, the world's most prestigious road cycling races.

"I'm speechless, it's hard to describe this with words ... There will be a lot of nice memories, but I think that with time I will see which one is my favourite. In general, it was a really beautiful Giro. ... The pink jersey is really special. And all the fans, it was an unbelievable experience," Pogačar said after arriving in Rome.

While he has already won the Tour of Catalonia, Liège-Bastogne-Liege, and Strade Bianche in the weeks leading up to the Giro, Pogačar is attempting the Giro-Tour double this year. His total victories count in the biggest international races has increased to 77, 14 of which he chalked up this year alone.

Among Pogačar's rivals at the three-week race in France, which starts in less than five weeks, is the other Slovenian start Primož Roglič (Bora-hansgrohe), who won the Giro last year and Vuelta a Espana three times.

Given how dominant Pogačar has been this year, many believe he has it in him to win the Giro-Tour double. He has been praised as one of the most talented and versatile riders in the history of the sport.

This is no wonder perhaps, considering he comes from a place in northern Slovenia called Klanec, which would translate as a climb or a slope. It is part of the Komenda municipality where the locals painted the town signs and the main roudabout pink in tribute of his Giro victory.

The sign for Tadej Pogačar's home town coloured in pink to celebrate his victory at the Giro d'Italia. Photo: Katja Dovžan/STA

Of the other three Slovenians in the Giro, Jan Tratnik (Visma-Lease a Bike) and Domen Novak (UAE Team Emirates) made it to the finish line. Tratnik made a couple of attempts at the breakaway, but his highest finish was a third place on stage 10. He finished 34th overall, while Novak, who kept watch over Pogačar throughout, was 66th overall.


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