"He had the legs to take a bunch of time but he decided to win the stage in a very economical fashion" - Experts surprised by Tadej Pogacar's conservatism

Tadej Pogacar triumphed in dominant fashion on the stage 8 summit finish at the 2024 Giro d'Italia. Rather than putting the hammer down with a big attack though, this time the Maglia Rosa saved himself for the sprint.

"It's not surprising (that Pogacar won), but it's quite surprising the way they did it... it was fairly dominant," Adam Blythe analysed afterwards for Eurosport on 'The Breakaway'. Pogacar seemed to be riding well within his limits on the final climb, marking moves without getting out of the saddle and destroying the spirit of his rivals despite barely putting a pedal down in anger.

EF Education-EasyPost boss Jonathan Vaughters impressed by Pogacar's new, more conservative attitude. "I don't really know what to make of it. Clearly he was fresh enough, clearly he had the legs to take a bunch of time out of everyone else and clearly he wanted to win the stage. But he decided to win the stage in a very economical fashion," points out the American. "It might mean he's already thinking ahead to the third week and saying 'I can win the stage without expending any extra energy and I don't need the extra time.'"

Many had thought this stage would be one for the breakaway but UAE Team Emirates kept things on a tight leash throughout the day. "They turned themselves inside out to keep that gap down and it's an interesting call," Vaughters assesses. "They're going to be tired in the third week."

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