Milan beats Merlier on the line to win stage 11 of the Giro, Pogacar stays in lead


Milan beats Merlier on the line to win stage 11 of the Giro, Pogacar stays in lead

Milan outsprinted the field
Milan outsprinted the field Reuters
Jonathan Milan (23) of Lidl-Trek outsprinted Tim Merlier to win stage 11 of the Giro d'Italia on Wednesday, his second stage win of this year's race, with Tadej Pogacar maintaining his hold on the leader's jersey.

The 207 km ride from Foiano di Val Fortore to Francavilla al Mare had a flat final 100 km, meaning this was always likely to be a chance for the sprinters to claim a stage win, and Milan triumphed again, just as he did on stage four.

"Last year after I won I was always up there in the sprints but I couldn't win another one. It's important to learn from the mistakes I've made in the past," Milan said.

Belgium's Merlier of Soudal Quick-Step had won stage three, and as the peloton bore down on the finish line it was between himself and Milan, and the Italian who had been pipped by Olav Kooij on stage nine, proved the strongest.

Milan strengthened his grip on the points jersey, while Pogacar finished safely in the bunch, avoiding a crash near the end, and keeps the maglia rosa, two minutes and 40 seconds ahead of Colombian Daniel Felipe Martinez of Bora-Hansgrohe.

Thomas Champion (Cofidis) was the first to attack after the start and he was soon joined by Team Visma-Lease a Bike pair Edoardo Affini and Tim van Dijke.

The trio were never allowed to create too much of a gap by the peloton, controlled by Milan's Lidl-Trek team, and they were caught with 35 kilometres to race to set up the expected sprint finish.

"Winning is not just about the 20 seconds of the sprint that make the victory in the end. It was all the work the guys did today to support me and bring me to the crucial position for the sprint," Milan said.

Coming to the line, Merlier led the way, with Colombia's Juan Sebastian Molano forced out wide which hampered his chances in the dash for the finish, but Milan powered home and took the win.

"Merlier is always tricky to predict in the final and how to move," Milan said.

"In the end, I found myself on his wheel. I think it was the perfect wheel. He started his sprint really, really, really strong but then I tried to make mine and it went good."


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