Tadej Pogacar praised for reaction to Geraint Thomas' late crash on stage 19 of Giro d'Italia: "Just going to the front saying 'we're waiting for G to come back'"

Although stage 19 of the 2024 Giro d'Italia was a mostly calm and relaxed day for the general classification riders, coming home over ten minutes down on the stage winner, a late crash for INEOS Grenadiers leader Geraint Thomas saw a moment of stress in the final few kilometres.

"It was just a stupid little mistake," Thomas reflected ruefully in his post-stage interview. "I was just looking over my shoulder and they moved a bit, overlapped the wheel and touched down. Luckily got the spare bike straight away and the BORA - hansgrohe car was good, gave me a bit of draft to get back up to the group again."

Another thing that benefitted Thomas in his return to the Maglia Rosa group was the fact race leader himself, Tadej Pogacar moved to the front of the group and used his role as a respected figure in the peloton to instruct his rivals to wait up for the returning Welshman. "It was very nice to see," former Team Visma | Lease a Bike rider Nathan van Hooydonck said of Pogacar's reaction on Eurosport. "Pogacar played a big role I think, just going to the front saying 'we're waiting for G to come back.'"

"I think the situation there, if it were still a climb coming up, or if Romain Bardet would have attacked for example, the situation is completely different," continues the recently retired Belgian. "Everybody saw him crashing, there were no attacks going on, so it was normal that the favourites waited for him."

"It's nobody's fault, those things just happen on the way into the finish line when no one's really attacking any more," added van Hooydonck's Eurosport colleague, Daniel Lloyd. "It was quite a slow-speed crash, so in some ways he was even more lucky not to break a bone, because when you slap the floor like that at slow speed, you tend to have the most chance of doing serious damage."

Thankfully for Thomas, he was able get back to the group and the finish line without injury of any further incident. With one last GC day to come on stage 20, can the Welshman secure himself the perfect 38th birthday present and move up to second overall at the 2024 Giro d'Italia?

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