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It’s already Evenepoel versus Pogačar


Clear from the start: the Tirreno-Adriatico is a parade of stars. And the 13.9 km of the opening ITT in Lido di Camaiore were enough to confirm this. Ganna-Evenepoel-Pogačar. Could you think of a better podium? The Piedmontese rider had his rainbow jersey shine along the beautiful Versilia coast, which at this time of year is certainly less crowded than it will be in a few months, but still full enough to make Ganna and his fellow riders feel the heat

TopGanna had to cope with a strong headwind in the first part of the race towards Forte dei Marmi, but then, once he turned around and headed back to Lido di Camaiore, the wind suddenly became his best friend. The power of the Locomotive of Verbania proved to be unstoppable, the gap between himself and his rivals grew meter by meter and the most obvious outcome according to all bookmakers soon became reality. The result was the fourth fastest time trial ever at Tirreno-Adriatico, with Ganna averaging 54.569km/h. In 2020 he set an all-time record of 56.636km/h.

The Ineos Grenadiers rider also added a jersey to his collection, winning the first Maglia Azzurra of this Tirreno-Adriatico, which is no small feat for an Italian rider as the last to do so was Damiano Caruso back in 2018.

But if Ganna is laughing, Evenepoel and Pogačar are, at least, smiling, as they stand as the main candidates for a head-to-head that is destined to inflame the next 6 days as we move from the Tirrenian to the Adriatic Sea. The Belgian finished just 11 seconds behind the stage winner, while Pogačar was 18 seconds back and – from a GC perspective – they are already looking down on everyone. Ahead of the next stages, Miguel Angel Lopez (+42″), Tao Geoghegan Hart (+42″), Richard Carapaz (+47″) and Jonas Vingegaard (+53″) performed well, while the most struggling riders seemed to be Ciccone (+1’22”), Mikel Landa (+1’23”), Romain Bardet (+1’30”) and Emanuel Buchmann (+1’33”), who will be forced to ride offensively in the coming stages.

“How to beat Pogačar? Probably only if he has a bad day, but I don’t think that’s going to happen – Evenepoel tries to take it ironically, but his analysis is probably correct – “He’s an extraordinary rider, who can really put on a show. Honestly, I hope I can take him on at full strength, so I can see where I am in relation to him and try to push myself further”.

They’ve lit the fuse… let’s wait for the firecracker to go off.

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