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Tadej Pogacar completes emphatic debut victory at the Giro d’Italia
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Tadej Pogacar completes emphatic debut victory at the Giro d’Italia

Slovenia’s Tadej Pogacar emphatically won the Giro d’Italia on his debut when he retained his unassailable overall lead after the 21st and final stage in Rome on Sunday, winning by the biggest overall margin since 1965.

The 25-year-old UAE Team Emirates rider had been in the leader’s pink jersey since winning stage two, the first of his six stage successes, and finished the ceremonial 125km flat run on Sunday safely in the bunch as Tim Merlier won the stage.

Merlier (Soudal-Quick-Step) outsprinted Italy’s Jonathan Milan (Lidl-Trek) as the Belgian won his third stage. Milan had made his way back to the front for the bunch sprint after crashing on the last lap around the Eternal City.

Milan, winner of three stages, wins the points classification, ahead of the Australian Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) who finished third in the final stage.

Pogacar finished 9min 56sec ahead of Colombia’s Daniel Martínez (Bora-Hansgrohe), with last year’s runner-up, Geraint Thomas of Wales (Ineos Grenadiers), a further 28sec behind in third.

He adds the Giro title to his two Tour de France triumphs in 2020 and 2021, and did it in style, proving exactly why he had been the pre-race favourite as nobody came even close to challenging once Pogacar laid down an early marker on day two.

Primoz Roglic, his Slovenian compatriot and last year’s winner, was absent from the race along with Remco Evenepoel and Jonas Vingegaard, but nothing can take away from Pogacar’s domination in Italy, and he will now aim for the Tour de France.

Pogacar really took control on stage seven by winning the individual time trial ahead of Filippo Ganna, stretching his lead to more than two and a half minutes, and followed that by winning the next stage.

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Ganna gained revenge in the next time trial but Pogacar still extended the gap to his rivals when finishing second, and by stage 15 it was all but over when the Slovenian won his fourth stage and put an extra three minutes between himself and Thomas.

Pogacar won the weather-hit next stage and showed no mercy on the penultimate day when going solo to take his sixth stage to cement his grip on the maglia rosa, with an overall lead not seen in almost 60 years at the Giro.

The Slovenian also won the mountains classification and Pogacar could relax on the final day and enjoy his first ride around the streets of the Italian capital safe in the knowledge he was the Giro winner without a shadow of a doubt.

Source: theguardian.com