“Winning here in Rome is very sweet. I started long and it paid off”

“Winning here in Rome is very sweet. I started long and it paid off”
“Winning here in Rome is very sweet. I started long and it paid off”

Three draws and the ball in the center, but what did Jonathan Milan do? The sprint in Rome goes to Tim Merlier (Soudel Quick-Step), with the Belgian finding his third sprint success at the 2024 Giro d’Italia and equaling the Italian, who consoles himself with the cyclamen jersey. The two of them were the strongest sprinters everbut as on every day, the twenty-first stage of the 107th edition of the Corsa Rosa also kept everyone in suspense until the last metre.

At the sound of the bell which indicates a round at the end mechanical problem for Milan, which is forced to stop and wait for a flagship far behind. The Italian thus finds himself 9.5 kilometers from the end and one minute from the head of the groupand with a crazy beating falls back to -4. At that point Lidl-Trek is perfect in bringing him back to the top positions, but in the tortuous final and the energy wasted to get back take their toll and Merlier manages to find a more incisive starting point.

Tenth victory of the season for the Belgian, who rejoices in Via San Gregorio, with the Colosseum just ahead, showing all the fingers of his hands; while it is number 18 for the Belgian squadron, even if in today’s sprint not everything went according to plan. “It wasn’t the perfect sprint, I have to apologize to the guys because today I wasn’t able to follow them as plannedMerlier made his debut on the microphones after the stage. There was a lot of confusion at the end, I lost the wheels of my teammates a few hundred meters from the finish“.

Finding himself alone, the Soudal Quick-Step standard-bearer had to make do: “I saw that Bert (Van Lerberghe, ed.) was trying to put me back in position, but everything was so unclear. I have to apologize but luckily in the end I managed to repay my team anyway“. A long sprint, won with arrogance and clearly: “I decided to start quite far away on the cobblestones, it’s a similar arrival to that of Kuurne and in the end it worked as a move“.

It was a bit strange for me, yesterday everyone on the plane was already partying and drinking beers, while I had to stay focused“. Merlier jokes and then dedicates a closing thought to his Giro and to the people in the street, with the final circuit which today was overflowing with spectators: “For me to win three times in this race is special. Winning here in Rome in front of all these fans is very sweet“.

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