Five things we learned from the 2024 Giro d'Italia

The opening Grand Tour of the season has now been completed and although Tadej Pogacar was utterly dominant in the Maglia Rosa fight at the 2024 Giro d'Italia, there were plenty of other interesting stories that developed throughout.

Here are five things we learned from the 2024 Giro d'Italia.

1. Tadej Pogacar is the most complete rider of this generation

Although the UAE Team Emirates leader was a heavy pre-race favourite, the complete and utter dominance in his performance during the last three weeks has been nothing short of spectacular. Holding the Maglia Rosa ever since his first of six stage wins on stage 2, the Slovenian has been a visible cut above the rest of the general classification challengers. In the end, his winning margin over Daniel Martinez fell just short of the ten-minute mark at 9:56.

Whilst Jonas Vingegaard may have been better at the Tour de France in recent seasons and some, such as Mathieu van der Poel have seen off Pogacar in the Classics, no one is as good at everything as the Slovenian. With it now looking likely he will become the first man since Marco Pantani in 1998 to complete a Giro d’Italia/Tour de France double and talk of him targeting Paris-Roubaix in the coming years, Tadej Pogacar is quite simply the most complete rider of his generation.

Tadej Pogacar took his sixth stage win after laying waste to his rivals on the Monte Grappa

2. The future of Italian cycling is in good hands

Ever since the heyday of Vincenzo Nibali and Fabio Aru in the 2010s, Italian cycling has yearned for a new Grand Tour contender. The likes of Damiano Caruso and Giulio Ciccone have shown glimpses, but the days of Italians starting three-week stage races as one of the favourites for overall victory have seemed some way off. At the 2024 Giro d’Italia however, there were two riders in particular who proved the future of Italian cycling is in good hands.

Firstly, Antonio Tiberi secured himself a top-5 finish in the general classification and the White Jersey for Best Young Rider on his Giro d’Italia debut. Proving one of the more consistent of the GC candidates, Tiberi was always there or thereabouts on every important stage. As he detailed in his post-stage 20 interview also, the 22-year-old is keen to return at take the Maglia Rosa in future.

Another young Italian making a positive impression was the youngest rider in the race, Giulio Pellizzari. The 20-year-old had a quiet first couple of weeks on his Grand Tour debut, but in the third week Pellizzari came into his own. Sadly, Tadej Pogacar proved the bane of Pellizzari’s Giro as the UAE Team Emirates leader denied the young prospect two stages and the King of the Mountains jersey. Nevertheless, it was a very promising showing from the Italian, plus he got to leave the race with Pogacar’s sunglasses and Maglia Rosa!

Antonio Tiberi took victory in the Best Young Rider classification on his Giro d'Italia debut

3. Jonathan Milan could dominate the Maglia Ciclamino over the coming years

Just two Grand Tours into his career, Jonathan Milan has a 100% success rate at winning the points classification. Given the relative dominance in which he’s taken his two Maglia Ciclaminos it’s possible that if the 23-year-old Italian keeps returning to the Giro in coming years, we could see a stranglehold on the points jersey akin to Peter Sagan at the Tour de France throughout the 2010s.

Having only managed a sole stage win in 2023, Milan has also improved his finishing touch in the year since, taking three bunch sprint victories this time around.

Jonathan Milan has two Maglia Ciclaminos in two Giro d'Italia appearances

4. Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale Team’s strong early season form is here to stay

Starting the 2024 season incredibly well, the Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale Team have already bagged themselves 21 victories in the early months of 2024. Having had just 20 total wins in the last two seasons combined, it’s easy to think there will soon be a drop off in the French-based outfit’s level. Going by their performances at the 2024 Giro d’Italia however, that does not seem to be the case.

Taking two stage victories through Valentin Paret-Peintre and Andrea Vendrame on stage 10 and stage 19 respectively, a top-4 finish for Ben O’Connor in the general classification was another positive but winning the team classification is probably the surest sign of the growing strength of the Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale Team, thanks in part to strong performances by the aforementioned trio, but also solid rides by Aurelien Paret-Peintre and Alex Baudin in support of O'Connor.

Andrea Vendrame took the second Giro d'Italia stage win of his career on stage 19

5. Team Visma | Lease a Bike can’t buy luck

Having completely dominated the Grand Tours of 2023, becoming the first team in history to win all three in the same season, Team Visma | Lease a Bike’s 2024 has got off to a little rockier start. After initial plans for Wout van Aert to make his Giro debut were curtailed by a nasty, spring-ending crash at Dwars Door Vlaanderen, Team Visma | Lease a Bike instead shifted attention.

Although riders such as Koen Bouwman and Wilco Kelderman were also forced to pull out due to injury, Visma eventually took to the startline with a dual-pronged leadership of Olav Kooij for the sprints and Cian Uijtdebroeks for the GC. Things started well too with Kooij taking his first Grand Tour stage win at the end of the opening week and Uijtdebroeks holding the White Jersey for much of the opening half of the race. Sadly though, bad luck struck again as illness and crashes ravaged the team once again. Both Robert Gesink and Christophe Laporte were forced to withdraw after struggling to recover from a crash before both Kooij and Uijtdebroeks abandoned through illness.

With both Wout van Aert and Jonas Vingegaard facing a race against time to be fit for the Tour de France after their crashes in the spring, if Visma didn’t have bad luck in 2024, they would have had no luck at all!

olavkooij 2
Olav Kooij took a stage win on his Grand Tour debut before leaving the race through illness

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