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Geraint Thomas on Tadej Pogačar: ‘He’s riding in a different world’

By Monica Buck

Despite being aware of Tadej Pogačar’s likely tactics, his rivals found his attack during Sunday’s queen stage of the Giro d’Italia challenging to counter, admitted Geraint Thomas in a post-race interview.

Pogačar, sporting the pink jersey, showcased his dominant form on stage 15, decisively breaking away with 14 kilometers remaining to clinch the stage by a three-minute margin over his closest General Classification (GC) competitors.

After navigating more than 200 kilometers of challenging mountain terrain, culminating in a summit finish above 2,300 meters, Thomas conceded at the line, “knew the attack was coming”, but was powerless to answer it.

“UAE rode hard all day, they wanted to go for the stage, and fair play to them, chapeau to them, they all just buried themselves,” he recounted to Eurosport cameras in Livigno.

“To be honest, I wasn’t feeling 100%. I wasn’t confident anyway. I didn’t feel super all day. So when it came, I just thought I’d try and use the other guys, follow them.”

Tadej Pogačar
Pogačar, sporting the pink jersey, showcased his dominant form on stage 15 of the Giro. © Profimedia

Dani Martínez from Bora-Hansgrohe was the sole challenger who briefly pursued Pogačar’s vigorous attack, only to fall back to the main group shortly after.

“Obviously we just slowed right up and it became a cat and mouse, a race amongst us really,” Thomas described the dynamic within the group. “Everyone just sort of let Pog go and do his thing.

“He’s riding in a different world,” Thomas admitted.“ He could win by five minutes or a minute, our group didn’t seem to be bothered. It was about racing each other.”

As Pogačar disappeared up the road, the remaining team leaders settled into their own rhythms for the ascent to the stage’s mountain top conclusion, jockeying for every second available.

Thomas managed a sixth-place finish on the stage, matching Martínez’s time, which was enough to maintain his second-place standing overall. Together, they eked out some precious seconds on other rivals, particularly Ben O’Connor of Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale, who finished eight seconds behind them.

“I felt better, the legs sort of came round, and I felt alright by the end. It was nice to gain a bit of time on everyone and finish with Dani,” Thomas reflected.

Nonetheless, Thomas’s deficit to Pogačar widened significantly by the stage’s end. Having started the day three minutes and 41 seconds behind, he found himself nearly seven minutes adrift in the general classification, facing the final week of the competition.