The first of the three grand tours concluded this Sunday, May 26, with a monumental finish in Rome, a replica of last year’s edition of the Giro d’Italia, now with the first crown of the insatiable Tadej Pogacar, from Slovenia, who his directors had to tie him down so that he would not attack too much or too soon, thinking about the next Tour de France.

Stage 21 of the Giro d’Italia 2024 had a virtually identical route to last year’s, 125 kilometers with a first part out and back to Ostia, on the Tyrrhenian coast, ideal for the typical celebrations and tribute to the winner that occur in these last stages.

And back to the eternal city where a twisty circuit began around some of the most emblematic places of Rome such as the Baths of Caracalla, the banks of the Tiber, the imperial forums and, of course, the impressive Colosseum at the foot of which stood the finish line that crowned the emperor of cycling today: Tadej Pogacar.

Just a stage of formality in terms of the different classifications and in which only remained to elucidate who would take the cat out of the water in the more than foreseeable mass sprint in the streets of Rome.

Quiet pace until the first pass through the finish line, with the usual media bath of the various leaders of the rankings, in addition to a Domenico Pozzovivo who is allowed to pass first under the finish arch in his first step in what is the farewell of the great Italian cyclist of this race after announcing in February that, at 41 years old, this would be his last season as a professional.

A first attack by Ewen Costiou, Alex Baudin, Mikkel Honore and Martin Marcellusi took place after the pass, but they did not manage more than a few seconds on a route as fast as the one that marks the streets of Rome and with the interests of the sprinters’ teams in a stage that, for them, is just another day of competition and with a prestigious victory at stake.

An adventure that ended with just over 13 kilometers to go with a peloton captained by UAE Team Emirates that, until the last moment, kept its concentration on the race, not only to bring Tadej Pogacar safe from crashes to the finish, but also thinking about the chances of Juan Sebastián Molano in the final sprint.

Proof that victory cannot be claimed until the last minute was the mechanical breakdown suffered by Jonathan Milán on the last lap, with just over 8 kilometers to go, which forced him to change bikes and mortgaged his chances for the sprint, even though he managed to link up with 4 kilometers to go.

But thanks to a wonderful work of Lidl-Trek at 1.5 of the finish line, they reappeared at the head of the peloton with Jonathan Milan on the wheel still in a position to fight for the victory, although in the esses that preceded the finish line he was a little bit locked up, which Tim Merlier, who was the first to launch, saw from quite far away.

Milano was still able to react, welded to his wheel, opened up to the side and came close to his fourth victory. Instead, it was a tie in the battle between the sprinters as Tim Merlier equaled the Italian with 3 partial victories.

Classification Stage 21

1.- Tim Merlier (Soudal-QuickStep) 2h51’50”.

2.- Jonathan Milan (Lidl-Trek) m.t.

3.- Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) m.t.

4.- Fernando Gaviria (Movistar Team) m.t.

5.- Tim Van Dijke (Visma-Lease a Bike) m.t.

6.- Stanislaw Anolkowski (Cofidis) m.t.

7.- Alberto Dainese (Tudor) m.t.

8. Giovanni Lonardi (Polti-Kometa) m.t.

9.- Caleb Ewan (Jayco-AlUla) m.t.

10.- Donavan Grondin (Arkéa-B&B Hotels)

General Classification

1.- Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 79h14’03”

Daniel Felipe Martínez (Bora-Hansgrohe) +9’56”.

3.- Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers) +10’24”24”

4.- Ben O’Connor (Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale) +12’07”

Antonio Tiberi (Bahrain-Victorious) +12’49” 6.

Thymen Arensman (INEOS Grenadiers) +14’31”.

Einer Rubio (Movistar Team) +15’52” 8.

8.- Jan Hirt (Soudal-QuickStep) +18’05”’

9.- Romain Bardet (DSM-Firmenich-PostNL) +20’32”’

10.- Michael Storer (Tudor) +21’11’’

Points Ranking

1.- Jonathan Milan (Lidl-Trek) 327 points

2.- Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 200 points

3.- Tim Merlier (Soudal-QuickStep) 143 points

4.- Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-QuickStep) 132 points

5.- Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 126 points

6.- Andrea Pietrobon (Polti-Kometa) 117 points

Filippo Fiorelli (VF Group-Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) 116 points

8.- Davide Ballerini (Astana) 82 points

9.- Jhonatan Narváez (INEOS Grenadiers) 80 points

10.- Mirco Maestri (Polti-Kometa) 72 points

Mountain classification

1.- Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 270 points

2.- Giulio Pellizzari (VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizane) 206 points

3.- Georg Steinhauser (EF Education-EasyPost) 153 points

4.- Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) 114 points

5.- Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-QuickStep) 101 points

6.- Daniel Felipe Martínez (Bora-Hansgrohe) 81 points

7.-Simon Geschke (Cofidis) 78 points

8.-Valentin Paret-Paintre (Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale) 59 points

9.- Romain Bardet (DSM-Firmenich-PostNL) 47 points

10.- Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Lidl-Trek) 42 points

Youth Ranking

1.- Antonio Tiberi (Bahrain-Victorios) 79h26’52”.

Thymen Arensman (INEOS Grenadiers) +1’42”.

Filippo Zana (Jayco AlUla) +11’10” 4.

4.- Davide Piganzoli (Polti-Kometa) +19’34”

5.-Valentin Paret-Peintre (Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale) +30’37”

6.- Alex Baudin (Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale) +48’01”.

7.- Giovanni Aleotti (Bora-Hansgrohe) 1h00’14”.

8.- Edoardo Zambanini (Bahrain-Victorious) +1h13’07”.

9.- Kevin Vermaerke (DSM-Firmenich-PostNL) +1h20’52”.

10.- Mauri Vansevenant (Soudal-QuickStep) +1h28’39”

Team Classification

1.- Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale 220h54’37”

2.- INEOS Grenadiers +44’23”23”

3.- UAE Team Emirates +1h01’50”’ 4.

4.- Bahrain-Victorious +1h20’25”

Movistar Team +1h51’00” 6.

6.- Astana +1h58’31”31”

7.- VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizane +2h16’59”.

8.- DSM-Firmenich-PostNL +2h18’50”.

9.- Bora-Hansgrohe +2h45’37” +2h45’37”

10.- Soudal-QuickStep +2h59’42” +2h59’42”