Results and Highlights from the 2024 Giro d’Italia (stages 6 – 9)

Check out stage-by-stage recaps and overall standings of the Italian Grand Tour. 


BY THE BICYCLING STAFF AND MICHAEL VENUTOLO-MANTOVANI |

The 2024 Giro d’Italia runs from May 4 to May 26 through the mountains of Italy. The first of three men’s grand tours, the Giro is arguably the most difficult. Two-time Tour de France champion Tadej Pogačar is making his Tour of Italy debut, and he will be looking to claim the pink jersey over the likes of Geraint Thomas, Cian Uijtdebroeks, Ben O’Connor, and Romain Bardet will look to fend off the Slovenian.

Check out stage-by-stage recaps of the action below.

Stage 9: Avezzano to Naples, 214 km

Stage Winner: Olav Kooij (Visma-Lease a Bike)

Race Leader: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

The longest stage so far is arguably one of the easier stages despite covering 214 km. Compared to the gravel stage, a short, hard time trial, and the brutal summit finish in yesterday’s stage, Avezzano to Naples may have a lot of distance, but it was relatively flat and fast. While a valiant effort from Polti Kometa’s Andrea Pietrobon and Mirco Maestri kept the two riders away for most of the race, Julian Alaphilippe and Jhonathan Narváez both made impressive attacks in the final kilometres. But it came down to a sprint finish that was played perfectly by Visma-Lease a Bike’s Olav Kooij.

The long, flat start meant plenty of attacks from early on, with Soudal-QuickStep, EF Pro Cycling and Bahrain Victorious as some of the early teams to head to the front. But the first early attack that stuck came from Polti Kometa’s Andrea Pietrobon and Mirco Maestri—they grew a gap of over two minutes, but the peloton behind seemed unbothered. As always, kudos to the Giro Twitter feed for gems like this:

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The two led for much of the race, maintaining a nearly-two minute gap at 65 km to go—a no man’s land with the intact peloton behind and charging hard. The Alpecin-Deceuninck team led the peloton behind Pietrobon and Maestri as the two teammates continued to sweep up sprint points.

A crash at 57 km to go saw three Ineos Grenadiers including Geraint Thomas—currently third in the general classification—go down. But with his teammates, Thomas was unconcerned and was back on and riding back to the peloton quickly.

Meanwhile, the peloton began to pull the Polti Kometa riders back, dropping the gap to 1:20 with 53 km to go. UAE Team Emirates and EF Education-EasyPost took control of the front of the peloton as the three Ineos Grenadiers including Thomas made their way back into the peloton.

At 27 km to go, Julian Alaphillipe launched an attack with the two leaders just 10 seconds ahead. He swiftly chased them down with teammate Nicola Conci as they closed on the top of the punchy climb. Alaphilippe raced past the Polti Kometa riders, continuing his attack up the road. Kevin Vermaerke (dsm-firmenich PostNL) and Lewis Askey (Groupma FDJ) were able to launch themselves from the peloton and attached to the now-six man strong lead group.

Behind them, attacks came fast and furious from the peloton as the clock ticked down on Stage 9 and riders tried to bridge up to the lead group. Arkea-B&B Hotels’ Ewen Costiou made his way across the now-lowered gap, and the peloton struggled to get organized to chase with Lidl-Trek on the front.

Costiou and Alaphillipe made an attack, spearating themselves from the lead group, opening a gap of 15 seconds to the five riders behind them. The peloton continued to reel in the leaders, tightening gap between them and the now-chase group of only four to 10 seconds.

While Costiou and Alaphillipe made a valiant effort, on the final climb with 10 km to go, Costiou couldn’t hold the pace and Alaphillipe was forced to continue his attack solo, reestablishing a 10 second lead on the peloton as he raced out of the saddle and towards the finish.

But he couldn’t quite make it. He was absorbed by the peloton at just over 7 kilometers to go, as Ineos Grenadiers’ Jhonatan Narváez made an attack, opening a five second gap as the peloton splintered on the climb.

Stage 1 winner Narváez hit the final descent at 3 km to go, enjoying the use of the entire road on the downhill. He was holding a 8-second gap as the peloton started to organize for the final sprint.

With 1400 metres to go, Narváez had a 12 second gap as the small peloton including Pogačar tried to prepare for the sprint. But Narváez was unable to hold on to his gap as the teams massed behind him, swallowing him up with under a hundred meters to go.

Visma-Lease a Bike’s Olav Kooij ultimately took the sprint win ahead of Lidl-Trek’s Jonathan Milan and Juan Sebastián Molano (UAE Team Emirates), who was led out by race leader Pogačar. (“If I can help… it’s better for me to be in front and help my friend,” he said in the post-race interview, adding, “I’m really looking forward to the rest day tomorrow.”)

Stage 8: Spoleto to Prati de Tivo, 152 km

Stage Winner: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

Race Leader: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

We know he can win races with dramatic breakaways, but it turns out Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) also can perfectly play out a sprint. In today’s race, he just narrowly outsprinted Daniel Martínez (Bora-hansgrohe) and Ben O’Connor (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale) for the win at the top of the steep final ascent to the finish.

In case you were wondering, Pogačar has continued to opt for the full pink kit after the sartorial debacle earlier this week.

Today marked the first major mountain stage of the Giro with some of the classic climbs we love to see. Right from the start, it was clear that riders were going to be attempting breakaways before, during and after every climb—mountain stages at the Giro are often where we see unlikely stage winners thanks to a breakaway that comes as a surprise and actually sticks.

By 20 km into the race, a large group had formed at the front, but only 20 seconds separated them from the full might of the peloton. The group ebbed and flowed, and was cut down to 14 riders by just under 100 km to go. Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Romain Bardet (dsm–firmenich PostNL) and Magnus Sheffield (INEOS Grenadiers) were a few of the riders making moves in the lead group, and their lead stretched to over 2 minutes ahead of the peloton at 61 km to go.

But when a team like UAE Team Emirates is chasing the breakaway to preserve Pogačar’s overall lead, does it stand much of a chance?

“We thought the breakaway had a good chance, to be honest,” said Thomas in a post-race interview. “Obviously, UAE set a good tempo on the climb, and I guess because it was still quite close, I don’t know if they decided to go for the stage in the beginning, but they certainly decided to go for it in the end.”

As the group hit 15 km to go, heading towards the final climb into Prati di Tivo, the gap had dropped to just over 30 seconds. While several riders made valiant efforts to hold off the peloton, Pogačar sped into the finish with a group of seven riders and ultimately took the sprint.

However, the GC remained relatively unchanged, since seven of the top finishers on the stage were in the top eight in the GC, which is now led by Pogačar by 2:40 over Martinez and Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers).

“I wasn’t expecting this today,” Pogačar said in the post-race press conference, making him pretty much the only person in the world who wasn’t expecting it.

Stage 7: Foligno – Perugia (Individual Time Trial), 40.6 km

Stage Winner: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

Race Leader: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

165 riders rolled down the little pink ramp this morning, each one minute apart, for first time trial of this year’s Giro.

Vicious crosswinds pushed riders across the road at points, their giant disc wheels acting as windsails, slowing down even some of the most skilled time triallists around.

And there is arguably no rider more skilled on a TT bike than INEOS Grenadiers’ Filippo Ganna, one of the world’s fastest men in the race against the clock.

“Top Ganna” is what the commentators called him, saying that everyone else looked like a passenger plane next to the fighter jet that is Ganna.

However, the 40.6-kilometre stage included a mighty pitch in the final stretch, gaining over two hundred meters over the last four kilometres, whose multi-digit grades benefitted some of the punchier riders in the bunch. After all, today’s time trail ran from Foligno to Perugia, across the undulating hills of Umbria.

By the time Geraint Thomas—who started the day in second place in the GC standings—rolled down the ramp, his INEOS Grenadiers teammates held all three positions on the podium (Ganna, Thymen Arensmen, Magnus Sheffield). By the time he crossed the line, those results held.

But there was only one rider left in the starting tent behind Thomas: current pink jersey, race favourite, and generational talent across a variety of disciplines, Tadej Pogačar.

Going back to his stunning time trial on the penultimate stage of the 2020 Tour de France, where he snatched the yellow jersey from Primož Roglič, Pogačar has displayed that he too is one of the world’s great time triallists.

And today, that skill on a TT bike threw a wrench directly into the works of INEOS’s 1-2-3 day, as Pogačar made up over a minute on the stage’s final six kilometres. Pogačar finished seventeen seconds ahead of Ganna, giving the UAE Team Emirates superstar the stage win.

A bunch of INEOS riders who couldn’t quite nip Pogačar. Seems to be one of the themes emerging from this year’s Giro.

Pogačar’s ride put nearly two additional minutes into his nearest rivals in the GC standings, increasing his overall lead from 46 seconds to 2:36.

Meanwhile, BORA-hansgrohe’s Dani Martinez, who entered the day in third place overall, bested Geraint Thomas by thirteen seconds on the stage, putting him ten seconds ahead of Thomas in the GC standings.

“There was a lot of preparations for this, a lot of ups and downs,” Pogačar said. “I’m super happy that today I felt good. I paced myself until the climb and then the climb, full gas.”

Geraint Thomas, meanwhile, wore a subtle look of disappointment after the race.

“I tried to ride within myself and when it was time to go, I just lacked it a little bit. It is what it is. It’s just one of those days.”

Thomas ended his post-race interview abruptly when the interview reminded him that his teammates did an excellent job on the day, without actually asking a question

“Thanks,” he said sternly, taking a sip of his drink.

Stage 6: Torre del Lago Puccini – Rapolano Terme, 180 km

Stage Winner: Pelayo Sánchez (Movistar)

Race Leader: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

May 9, 2024—Looking at the profile of Stage 6, you might think that the day would have been relatively mellow. One-hundred-eighty kilometres, minimal elevation, a pair of category-four climbs. However, thanks to a trio of gravel sectors—the strade bianche of Tuscany—today’s stage was anything but.

What many thought might be a launching pad for Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), who won March’s Strade Bianche with a stunning eighty-kilometre solo break, ended up seeing a series of breakaways, none of which stuck.

Until one did. And, for the second day in a row, the break stayed away.

The trio of Movistar’s Pelayo Sánchez, Soudal Quick-Step’s Julian Alaphilippe, and Jayco AlUla’s Luke Plapp had a lead that stretched out to as much as two and a half minutes as the race entered its third and final gravel sector. But INEOS Grenadiers set a blistering pace behind, quickly whittling the three-man breakaway’s lead to less than thirty seconds with just a few kilometres to go.

But the gap stayed at around twenty seconds as the Plapp, Alaphilippe, and Sánchez passed under the 1 km to go banner. Alaphilippe launched early, and Sanchez responded. Though Plapp was hanging on their wheels, it was clear that this was a two-man race to the finish.

In his post-race interview, Sánchez was asked if he knew what he had just accomplished. “No,” Sánchez replied. “This is amazing. I don’t have words. Crazy, crazy day for me. I thought today that I could be in the breakaway, but I could never imagine winning here.”

Sánchez also admitted that, even though he spent the last several dozen kilometers working with Plapp and Alaphilippe, he tried several times to put time into his mates in the breakaway. “I tried to drop [Plapp and Alaphilippe], but it was impossible for me,” he said. “So, I tried at the end with the sprint. Luckily, I was the fastest.”

Plapp, who spent much of the day in the virtual pink jersey, said after the race, “That was an insane day. The race was out of control, the whole race. It was ridiculous for the first eighty kilometres.”

“The three of us worked reasonably well to the finish,” Plapp added. “We played games a bit. I was half-eyes looking for time and half-eyes looking for the stage, so I ended up riding a bit harder.”

Asked if he was thinking about the pink jersey during his breakaway, Plapp said, “No, no, no. I know (UAE Team Emirates) were never going to let it go. You could see from the gaps they were keeping, they weren’t willing to let the jersey go.”

STAGE 5: How the Breakaway Robbed the Sprinters on Stage 5 of the Giro d’Italia

RECAP: Results and Highlights STAGES 1 – 4

RELATED: A Comprehensive Guide to the 2024 Giro d’ Italia

READ MORE ON: 2024 Giro d'Italia pro racing

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