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Jonny the rocket!


It had been rumoured on the eve of the race that Jonathan Milan had come to this Tirreno-Adriatico with a knot to untie: namely, understanding and testing his level. After his exploit at last year’s Giro d’Italia, which included a stage win and the Maglia Ciclamino, the Lidl-Trek rider was called upon to confirm his sprinting ambitions. His victory in Giulianova marks his second of the season, after he opened his tally at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana last month.

If competition in the latter was rather limited, in this Race of the Two Seas, he is confronting himself with the crème de la crème of fast wheels, the ideal context to put his growth to test. And what remarkable feedback he is giving himself and the team, not only because of today’s masterful stage win, pipping Jasper Philipsen on the finish line in Giulianova, but also for the way the Italian interpreted and tackled all the previous stages.

Just like we rightfully extolled Philipsen as the best sprinter in the world, we should just as vehemently celebrate Milan as probably the greatest sprinting talent out there. Jonny took the Belgian’s wheel and skipped him in the last 50 metres, beating him by half a bike length while still seated in the saddle. This tells us one thing: Jonathan Milan from Buja, in the province of Udine, is among the strongest sprinters in the world.

To call him a simple sprinter, however, would be somewhat reductive. The last two sprints, in fact, were anything but easy to interpret due to somewhat tricky finishes, with the road constantly rising. We saw the likes of Tim Merlier, Caleb Ewan and Mark Cavendish, among others, being dropped, while Milan was invariably there fighting for glory. Yesterday he failed to catch Phil Bauhaus, today he timed it to perfection and overtook none other than Philipsen himself. Tomorrow he will enjoy a day in the Maglia Azzurra (which he will probably lose at the end of the stage), but whatever the outcome of this Tirreno-Adriatico, he will return home with a new awareness, which we are sure he will bring to bear in the coming events, providing us with plenty of fun.

Today, however, Jonas Abrahamsen (Uno-X Mobility) – the only survivor of a six-man breakaway – also deserves a special mention. After being out for 205 km, the Norwegian had enough left in the tank to try one last burst inside the final kilometre. He was denied the joy of victory by 40 merciless metres, but for what it’s worth, let us thank him for making this finale all the more electrifying.

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