"He doesn't need a push! He's going more than fast enough" - Nathan van Hooydonck understands Tadej Pogacar's frustration at fans on Monte Grappa at Giro d'Italia

Whilst Tadej Pogacar was again the star of the show on stage 20 of the 2024 Giro d'Italia as he raced to his sixth stage win of the race in the now typically dominant fashion, there were some unsavoury scenes on the Monte Grappa climb as fans repeatedly got a little too close for comfort to the Maglia Rosa.

After the UAE Team Emirates leader attacked clear of his rivals on the second ascent of the monstrous climb, Pogacar was left visibly frustrated after a fan grabbed the Maglia Rosa and attempted to push him up towards the summit. Pogacar, clearly unhappy by this action, let the culprit know exactly what he thought but sadly, this wasn't the only incident on the climb either as the UAE Team Emirates leader implored supporters to move a pink smoke flare out his way and a little closer to the top, another overzealous fan made contact.

"Cycling is nothing without its fans. They make it a special experience, also for the riders. But you need to respect the riders and you need to respect their efforts," reflected former Team Visma | Lease a Bike star Nathan van Hooydonck post-stage on Eurosport's The Breakaway. "He doesn't need a push! He's going more than fast enough."

More than anything though, van Hooydonck doesn't think the fans realise just how dangerous running alongside the riders can actually be. "I can understand these people getting very excited. But they also need to understand that this rider is suffering - Tadej won by a big margin, but he is suffering," the Belgian explains. "If you get hampered by somebody running alongside you, which I find very annoying when that happens, he might stumble and make you crash. This is something you are desperately trying to avoid as a rider."

"It's so hard when you've got that many thousands of people on the side of the road. It's fantastic for the atmosphere," adds van Hooydonck's Eurosport colleague, Daniel Lloyd. "But there's always going to be one, or two, or 10, who are just a bit silly and ruin it for everyone else."

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