Tadej the Giro, tomorrow the Tour | a recap of Stages 16-21 of the 2024 Giro d’Italia

And surprises came there none – not unless you count Tadej Pogacar working his way up to the biggest winning margin in a Grand Tour this century as a surprise (which I’m sensing by this point you probably don’t).


Tuesday’s Stage 16 was positively awash with tension, excitement and intrigue, with more plot twists than the last half-hour of Wild Things. Where exactly would the stage that Tadej Pogacar was going to win actually start and end?

First they lopped the biggest climb – the Stelvio – off because they were worried about avalanches. Then the riders’ union suggested that commencing a half-hour descent after summiting in one degree rain maybe wasn’t the best, what with the wind chill and the not pedalling and whatnot, so they also lopped off the Umbrail pass.

That resulted in a plan where the riders would for some reason do a 20km parade ride kind of thing and only then start racing on the revised route. The riders basically went on strike about that initial spinning in the rain and so in the end the stage began from a petrol station forecourt.

The stage finish was uphill, so Pogacar was able to take a bit more time on everyone. It doesn’t really matter how much by this point, so I’m not going to tell you.


On Stage 17, Pogacar again gained a few seconds on his rivals, but… he didn’t win the stage.

He was denied by a commentary nightmare: Georg Steinhauser commencing the final climb in partnership with Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier a couple of minutes before the pink jersey group.

Ghebreigzabhier didn’t last as long as his name, but Steinhauser stayed away to the finish.

Pogacar finished second and gained 20s on the men closest to him, all while giving off an air of abject failure.

This might actually have been his silliest moment. He wasn’t even attacking Geraint Thomas, Daniel Martinez et al by this point in the race, he was literally just riding away from them.

Not a shock

Stage 18 was a sprint day and then one of the riders in the break (Andrea Vendrame, specifically) was permitted a win on Stage 19 with minimal meaningful racing behind from Pogacar or the people who’d gone into this race naively imagining they would be racing against him for the overall.

Stage 20 therefore represented the last chance to do something – anything – to steer the story of the 2024 Giro d’Italia away from the relentlessly unspooling predictability of waiting for the maglia rosa to attack and being completely unable to follow him when he eventually did.

5km from the top of the Monte Grappa, 36km from the finish, Pogacar attacked and everyone was completely unable to follow him.

He took his sixth stage win. No-one finished within two minutes of him.

The final standings

Being as Fresh Air wasn’t assigned an official finishing position, Geraint Thomas technically managed third.

What’s next?

The Tour de France starts on June 29. I’ll try and do a quick preview before it starts and then the usual sometimes-slightly-late weekly recaps during and after the race.

Pogacar will be racing again, but could be a little blunted by his efforts here (I said could, not will).

Jonas Vingegaard, the one man who has demonstrated he can beat Pogacar, will probably be there too, but he’s had a punctured lung and a bunch of fractures, which doesn’t really equate to perfect preparation. Primoz Roglic and Remco Evenepoel therefore also lurk optimistically.

You can sign up to receive all of that by email here. You’ll most likely forget about this website and miss it otherwise.

Finally, please feel free to thank me for my Giro efforts by buying me a coffee/Belgian beer (or contributing towards one).

I like being thanked and I also like both coffee and Belgian beer.


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