Giro d'Italia: Pogacar “alla Pantani”, first mortgage on the Giro. He's already wearing the pink jersey


By John

Second day of the Giro, first challenging climbs and Tadej Pogacar has already got his hands on the pink jersey, triumphing on the hairpin bends that lead to the sanctuary of Oropa, in the mountains of Biella. An impressive show of strength by the Slovenian in a fairly tough stage which exuded memories of one of the most beautiful feats achieved by Marco Pantani, on 30 May 1999. Twenty-five years ago the “Pirate” separated everyone after a crazy comeback: for the jump of the Chain on these same roads was forced to recover more than half a minute and overtake 49 riders. In Oropa he won without rejoicing because he was convinced that someone had already crossed the finish line in front of him.

Pogacar, on the contrary, knew very well that no one had managed to resist him, but he played a part similar to that of Pantani, almost as a tribute to him: in the center of Biella, just over 10 kilometers from the finish line, the front wheel collapsed due to a puncture, the Slovenian slipped on a bend and fell off his bike. He lost over 20″ from the group and recovered them, helped by two teammates, in the blink of an eye. Then, 4 and a half kilometers from the summit, Pogacar launched the attack that everyone feared and that no one was able to counter among the admiration of the many fans of the Pantani clubs who arrived from Romagna, the Australian Ben O'Connor tried, only the irreducible Geraint Thomas and a handful of other 'courageous' players paid the price, with Daniel Martinez first of the beaten ones. , they managed to limit the damage to 27''. With the almost 37 year old Welshman, second last year in the final ranking behind Roglic, and the Colombian, Lorenzo Fortunato and the German Florian Lipowits also arrived, with the Australian Michael at 30″. Staer, the Belgian Cian Uijtdebrokes and the Colombian Einer Rubio Romain Bardet is much further behind: after the abundant minute lost yesterday, the Frenchman had to add another 1' 20''. The pink jersey of the first stage, the Ecuadorian Narvaez, lost 2'03″.

Before Pogacar's “roar”, the stage that started from the San Francesco al Campo velodrome, about thirty kilometers from Turin, had recorded the escape of an all-Italian quintet made up of Christian Scaroni, Mattia Bais, Filippo Fiorelli, Martin Marcellusi and Andrea Piccolo, with an advantage of up to 2 and a half minutes, then the solitary attempt by Piccolo himself, a 23-year-old from Magenta from Ef Edcucation, who started after the finish line of the Intergiro won by Fiorelli. The fugitive cherished the dream of the great feat, accumulating a 1'45″ advantage and resisted in the first kilometers of the climb to Oropa. But when Pogacar's UAE Emirates changed pace Piccolo had to give up, caught again 6 and a half kilometers from the summit. Shortly afterwards the Slovenian's show began and he created a void by flying to take the pink jersey. After two stages Pogacar leads the general classification with a 45″ advantage over Thomas and Martinez; O'Connor is tenth at 1'24'', Bardet only twenty-second, with an already heavy delay, 2'31”. Tomorrow the third stage, the last all in Piedmont, from Novara to Fossano (Cuneo), on paper the ideal first day for sprinters.