Giro d’Italia 2024: Will Geraint Thomas be able to stop the powerful Tadej Pogacar?

Last achieved by Italian Marco Pantani in 1998, the ultimate Grand Tour double has since eluded a few generations of greats.

It seemed an unlikely dream this year thanks to the presence of Pogacar’s only rival for supremacy, Dane Jonas Vingegaard – last year’s Tour winner by more than seven minutes after Pogacar capitulated after a season-ending start successful and a subsequent injury during the spring classics.

However, in April Vingegaard was injured in a freak accident during a race in northern Spain, which left him with a broken collarbone, a punctured lung and great uncertainty over his ability to compete at the Tour at the end of June.

“I watched (the accident) live. It was horrible, really terrible to see,” says Pogacar, 25.

With Vingegaard’s terrible luck, Pogacar from UAE-Team Emirates becomes favorite for the Tour. As for the Giro? He should win it at a gallop.

Of the 10 races or stages he has contested this year, Pogacar has won six, and the way he has done it has stunned the sport.

In March, before the tough one-day classic Strade Bianche – a 215km race on the loose, limestone roads of Tuscany – he was asked about his plans to win.

At a time when the runners are naturally suspicious of their intentions, he simply declares: “With 80km to go, I attack.”

That’s exactly what he did, and none of the 200 or so riders could get near him.

He has done much the same in every race in 2024, most recently in the brutal one-day “monument” classic Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

All assume he will dominate this race, on form alone, but that has irritated Pogacar before this race.

“I think it’s disrespectful to other riders. We’re not that different on the climbs,” he said.

But he eventually admitted that his dominance in so many races raised some expectations, adding: “I don’t know, maybe it’s a bit of my fault.”

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