13 oct. 2023

Stage win for Jonathan Milan in China

The road cycling season may be approaching its end, but in China, one last stage race on the World Tour level is being held with the Gree Tour of Guangxi. After a 2nd place in the opening stage, Jonathan Milan bolted to victory with a perfectly timed sprint in stage 2, adding another win in a stage race to the tally of Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS.

After a three year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Gree Tour of Guangxi held in Southern China is back on the race calendar. Since this stage race is ranked at the World Tour level, there are plenty of points on offer. For this reason, there is no lack of big names on the start list. With four mostly flat stages, one hilly stage and the Queen’s stage with a mountaintop finish, the race offers quite some variety. Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS has sent a young selection to China and lines up to the race with quite some ambitions. While Austrian Rainer Kepplinger is the GC captain, Jonathan Milan can rely on the support of Dusan Rajovic and Cameron Scott in the bunch sprints. Add Filip Maciejuk, Johan Price-Pejtersen and Ahmed Madan as riders who can set a fast pace in the flat to chase down breakaways.

After the day’s early attackers had been brought back with 15 kilometres to go, Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS went into the final three kilometres in a five-rider formation. But on the wide roads of Beihai, racing was aggressive, and their train got infiltrated by riders from other teams repeatedly. As soon as the race entered the final kilometre, Dusan Rajovic furiously upped the pace with Jonathan Milan in his wheel. The young Italian accelerated with 300 meters to go, but he had a very experienced rival sitting on his rear wheel with Elia Viviani. The latter kept a cool head and waited to the last moment before he left the slipstream of Milan and leapfrogged his young compatriot to take the stage win. Finishing in 2nd on the day, Jonathan Milan at least was called onto the podium to be dressed in the white jersey of the best young rider.

The final kilometere of the next day’s stage saw even more frantic action. On the left side of the finishing straight, Cameron Scott and Dusan Rajovic went deep to further up the pace. Jonathan Milan got bumped off their wheels and drifted to the right of the road instead. With 250 meters to go, the young Italian of Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS opened up his sprint and found a gap between the fences and Dutchman Arvid de Kleijn and put all of his enormous power into the pedals from there. No other sprinter could match this acceleration, and Jonathan Milan put multiple bike lengths between himself and all others. Upon crossing the line, he celebrated boisterously with his teammates, joining the party one after another. After all these celebrations, he has donned the race’s red jersey of the GC leader.

The third stage of the Gree Tour of Guangxi is another mostly flat affair, offering another opportunity for Jonathan Milan to shine. Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS is also going to compete at the Japan Cup Cycle Road Race next Sunday. At this one-day race in the land of the rising sun, Yukiya Arashiro will be joined by Nicolo Buratti, Hermann Pernsteiner, Sergio Tu and Edoardo Zambanini.

1. Jonathan Milan, ITA/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, in 3:15.53 hours
2. Arvid de Kleijn, NED, st
3. Juan Sebastian Molano, COL, st

1. Elia Viviani, ITA, in 3:01.56 hours
3. Sam Bennett, IRL, st

Photos: Sprint Cycling Agency