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Tadej Pogacar goes solo to win Giro d’Italia stage two and take pink jersey
Cycling Sport

Tadej Pogacar goes solo to win Giro d’Italia stage two and take pink jersey

Tadej Pogacar, the race favourite, made light of a mechanical ­problem to blast into the lead of the Giro d’Italia with victory on the summit finish to the 161km second stage on Sunday.

The Slovenian suffered a ­puncture at the foot of the steep 11km climb to Santuario di Oropa but he was helped back into the group by his teammates before launching a ­devastating solo attack.

No one could stay with the UAE Team Emirates rider who poured on the power to win by 27 seconds and take possession of the Maglia Rosa two days into his maiden Giro. Dani Martínez (Bora-Hansgrohe) was ­second just ahead of the Ineos ­Grenadiers leader, Geraint Thomas.

Pogacar had already gained time on his GC rivals in Saturday’s opening stage when he was outsprinted to the line by Jhonatan Narváez who wore the pink jersey on Sunday.

But by the end of stage two he already has a 45-second ­advantage over Britain’s Thomas, who is regarded as his most likely challenger over the next three weeks. Thomas and Martínez are second and third in the standings with only two other riders within a minute of Pogacar.

“I was only missing a Giro stage and this was one of my dreams,” Pogacar, who now has stage wins in all three Grand Tours, told Eurosport. “It’s a big thing in cycling so I’m super happy.”

Pogacar had stayed out of ­trouble during the stage which was led by the young Italian rider Andrea ­Piccolo (EF Education-EasyPost) until six ­kilometres from the finish. But there was a moment of alarm at the foot of the final climb as his front tyre deflated and he then slid to the floor and was narrowly avoided by a ­following car.

There was no damage, ­however, and he was quickly back into his rhythm and when he hit the ­accelerator on a 9% gradient there was only going to be one outcome.

“Nothing new that, is it?” Thomas said. “We expected it. I was ­hoping to follow but I knew if I tried to keep going like that I would ­completely blow up. It’s OK for the second day … obviously Tadej is, well, he’s Tadej.”

Source: theguardian.com