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Tadej Pogačar celebrates stage 8 victory in the pink jersey of Giro d'Italia leader.

Giro stage 8 report: It’s the Pogačar show

UAE Team Emirates have their cake and eat it too by stomping on the breakaway stage hunters' hopes and dreams.

Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) wins stage 8 of the 2024 Giro d’Italia. Photo: © Cor Vos

Kit Nicholson
by Kit Nicholson 11.05.2024 Photography by
Cor Vos
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On paper it looked like a good day for the breakaway, perhaps even an opportunity for Tadej Pogačar to relinquish the pink jersey to an unthreatening stage hunter for a few days, but though the fight for the breakaway was aggressive from the start, UAE Team Emirates kept them on a short leash. And lo, the pink jersey took his third stage win of the Giro d’Italia – three out of eight! – atop Prati di Tivo, ever so slightly tightening his already vice-like grip on the race.

The GC standings weren’t too dramatically affected after stage 8 as most of the favourites crossed the line in Pogačar’s shadow, but Luke Plapp (Jayco-AlUla), Romain Bardet (DSM-Firmenich PostNL), Alexey Lutsenko (Astana-Qazaqstan) and Juan Pedro López (Lidl-Trek) saw their overall aspirations sink further – or disintegrate entirely – after losing contact on the final climb.

Valentin Paret-Peintre at the front of the breakaway during stage 8 of the Giro d'Italia.
Valentin Paret-Peintre was out looking for a stage victory to match his older brother’s win at last year’s Giro.

Quotes of the day:

“I was not expecting it at all today but as a team, we rode super well from the beginning. We came with a good time gap to the last climb and the team did a super good job to the finish. Rafa [Majka] did an amazing leadout and it was amazing to win here again in Prati di Tivo [where he won a stage at the 2021 Tirreno-Adriatico].”

Pogačar went on to explain that it had not in fact been the plan to go for the stage from the start (apparently), and that it’s perhaps thanks to one Danish powerhouse – who was reportedly stung twice by bees during Friday’s ITT – that the decision was made on the road.

“I think my teammates wanted to go for the stage win as soon as we survived the first long categorised climb with Mikkel [Bjerg]. He came back to the bunch and he was all in for chasing the group in front. Mikkel and Laengen did a super good job until the final climb and then at the bottom when I saw our guys are still good: Domen [Novak], Felix [Großschartner] and Rafa [Majka], I was confident that we could win today.”

Climbing domestique Felix Großschartner paid tribute to the team’s workhorses Mikkel Bjerg and Vegard Stake Laengen, who’d clocked in at the front on the climbs when so many similarly equipped riders were stamping tickets in the grupetto: “they did a really amazing job today, they deserve a big plate of pasta for dinner, and a cake!”

Brief analysis

What’s next?

Stage 9 takes the peloton back to Naples, home of two vintage stages in recent editions with a memorable breakaway display from Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Dstny) in 2022 and Mads Pedersen’s (Lidl-Trek) trilogy-completing victory last year, snatching the stage from Simon Clarke (Israel-Premier Tech) and Alessandro De Marchi (Jayco-AlUla) in the finishing straight. The breakaway will once again be a hot ticket so the first hour or so will be taken at blistering speed, not least for being mostly downhill, and with any luck the attackers may stay clear until the punchy finale, or else the sprinters’ teams will hunt down their own opportunity before the first rest day.

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