Tadej Pogacar on verge of maiden Giro d’Italia title after penultimate stage win

Slovenian star set for procession into Rome on Sunday as he remains on target for Giro-Tour de France double

Tadej Pogacar claimed his sixth stage win and all but rubber-stamped his maiden Giro d’Italia title on the penultimate day of the race.

Welsh rider Geraint Thomas, who celebrated his 38th birthday on Saturday’s 20th stage, is poised to extend the record he set in last year’s edition as the oldest man to finish on a Giro podium with third place in the general classification behind Pogacar and Colombian Daniel Martinez (Bora-Hansgrohe).

There is still the matter of a processional stage through Rome on Sunday, but barring disaster in the Italian capital Slovenian Pogacar – who extended his maglia rosa advantage to just under 10 minutes – will set himself up for the possibility of becoming the first man since Marco Pantani in 1998 to complete the Giro-Tour de France double.

UAE Team Emirates rider Pogacar told Eurosport: “We did a perfect job today as a team. I was really happy with the race and I cannot describe how it was feeling with all the fans on the climb.


“We had the pink jersey from stage two, a lot of obligations every day, a lot of things to do, and it just shows that today was just another test.

“I wanted to finish the Giro with a good mentality, good shape, and I think I achieved that.”

The final mountain stage was a gritty 184km, with nearly 4,200m of climbing including two ascents of Monte Grappa.

There was no change in the general classification standings from Friday, when Ineos Grenadier Thomas survived a late-stage crash but declared himself fine for Saturday’s penultimate leg of what has been the fastest-ever edition of the Italian classic.

He needed to cut down a 22-second deficit on Martinez, who sits 9 minutes and 56 seconds behind Pogacar ahead of day 21 and extended his advantage to 28 seconds over Thomas.

Valentin Paret-Peintre (Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale) took second place on the stage while third place went to Martinez.

The afternoon was not without controversy, however, as over-eager fans frequently stepped forward to touch the eventual winner, who despite his overall delight with the gathered support was seen telling one man off for giving him a push.

Pogacar also looks set to claim the blue jersey, awarded to the race’s best climber, while Jonathan Milan (Lidl-Trek) leads the points classification.