Tadej Pogacar continues to dominate his first Giro d'Italia. GETTY IMAGES

Tadej Pogacar strengthened his grip on the Maglia Rosa in the second week of his debut Giro d'Italia, taking three minutes out of his rivals on Sunday's Queen stage finishing in Livigno. The Slovenian now has four stage wins and leads Geraint Thomas by well over six minutes.

It has been more of the same from UAE Team Emirates leader Pogacar in his debut Giro. On the eve of the second rest day, he is living up to expectations and maintaining his dominance of the race. He struck another blow in Saturday's time trial in Castiglione delle Stiviere with only TT specialist Filippo Ganna (INEOS) exacted revenge for Pogacar's win in the first individual time trial finishing in Perugia.

The Giro's Queen stage took place on Sunday, comprising 5,400m of climbing and finishing an at altitude of over 2,200m in Livigno. Attacking was not necessary, but this is Pogacar who plays by his own rules.

Despite being almost four minutes ahead of Thomas (INEOS) and Daniel Felipe Martínez (Bora-hansgrohe), Pogacar put on another show. After his teammates had laid the groundwork, he launched a devastating attack on the penultimate climb. Aiming to become the first man since Marco Pantani to win the Giro and the Tour de France in the same year, Pogacar shows little sign of conserving energy for the summer ahead as he attacks almost at will in Italy.

Pogacar attacked 4km kilometres before the penultimate summit when the initial breakaway of 12 riders was broken up. He caught the last survivor, former Giro and Vuelta a España winner Nairo Quintana - nine years Pogacar's senior - who could only watch the pink jersey disappear into the distance.

He crossed the line in Livigno in the snow with his arms raised, finishing three minutes and a second clear of his nearest rivals in the general classification - Thomas and Martínez - who crossed the line together. Pogacar can afford to take things relatively easy in the final week given his healthy overall lead, but that is not in his nature.

Tadej Pogacar was second to Filippo Ganna in the second time trial of the 2024 Giro d'Italia. GETTY IMAGES
Tadej Pogacar was second to Filippo Ganna in the second time trial of the 2024 Giro d'Italia. GETTY IMAGES

"It was one of the best days of my career," Pogacar told Eurosport in Livigno. "This place is one of my favourite places in Italy. When I was younger I used to watch the attacks of Quintana and (Chris) Froome.

"I would get angry with Quintana. He wouldn't attack to get an advantage. But he rode a great stage."

The second week of the Giro d'Italia merely demonstrates that Pogacar wins however and whenever he wants. The terrain does not matter. He has been flawless, at least so far, doubling his lead over all his rivals in the general classification. Convincing him not to waste energy is now the team's task.

Another conclusion is that Martínez and Thomas are two mortals fighting for the podium. They would have been fighting for the Maglia Rosa had Pogacar not chosen to race the Giro for the first time. Ben O'Connor, in fourth place, is watching from afar, with the rest even further behind.

For the first time since last year's Vuelta, Ganna finally won a time trial after four second place finishes. He is the king of the discipline, unless Pogacar decides otherwise. While the Giro leader is not a time trial specialist, his level is high enough to beat the Italian giant on occasion.

Veteran Julian Alaphilippe took victory in Stage 12 of the 2024 Giro d'Italia. GETTY IMAGES
Veteran Julian Alaphilippe took victory in Stage 12 of the 2024 Giro d'Italia. GETTY IMAGES

When it comes to the sprints, Jonathan Milan has proved that he is the fastest man in the field. With three stages wins so far, he will fancy his chances of adding to that tally at the finish in Rome next Sunday.

While 34-year-old Quintana tried in vain to win the Queen stage, three-time world road race champion Julian Alaphilippe did manage to secure a stage triumph. The Frenchman won the stage that ended in Cento after a 150-kilometre breakaway.

Valentin Paret-Peintre (Decathlon Ag2r) was the other man to register a victory in week two of the Giro, thanks to another breakaway.

Two-time Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaard and Primoz Roglic are watching from afar as they prepare to try and stop Pogacar at Le Tour. They are saving their strength, but also aware that Pogacar is in top form. The question is whether this effort will take its toll on the Slovenian.

Another contender is Remco Evenepoel. The Belgian made his Tour de France debut last year, but one bad day denied him the chance to win. However, he had a number of strong solo performances and stage wins.