Plenty to celebrate at Giro d'Italia
The conclusive stage of the Giro d’Italia ended in a bunch sprint. Despite some proper support by Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS Jonathan Milan ran out of steam and missed out on another top result. By winning both the points and the team classification plus two stages and with Damiano Caruso in 4th on GC the first Grand Tour of the season can be considered a full success.
As one of the big revelations of this year’s Giro d’Italia, Jonathan Milan has been wearing the Maglia Ciclamino of the leader of the points classification for almost three weeks and ever since winning stage 2 of the race. Sprinting to three more 2nd place helped him solidify his lead. Adding to his motivation to shine in the conclusive stage around the capital of Rome was the fact that young Italian got a special MERIDA BIKES REACTO custom-painted to match his jersey. And while the win in the points classification had already been secured, Jonathan Milan naturally wanted to shine one more time to cap off the stage race on a high. Thus one last big effort was required from Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS.
And the team delivered as its two work-horses Yukiya Arashiro and Jasha Sütterlin set a fast pace and Andrea Pasqualon acted as lead-out man one more time in the roads of Rome. But this time Jonathan Milan timed his acceleration a bit too early and after three hard weeks he lacked some freshness. Crossing the finish line in 14th after narrowly avoiding a crash, the young Italian missed out on another top10 result but won the points classification by a solid margin. Add to that the victory of Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS in the team classification and the fact that Damiano Caruso made it to Rome in 4th place on GC after three hard weeks and plenty of cold and wet days in the saddle that were tough for all competitors.
One day after the Queen’s stage won by Santiago Buitrago, the Giro d’Italia served up a spectacular mountain time trial. It started with a flat approach from Tarvisio on a narrow and winding cycling path and then headed for the climb to Monte Lussari that featured an average gradient of 11.2 percent over a distance of 7.8 kilometers. Adding to the difficulty were plenty with gradients of 20 percent and more and the fact that much of the narrow road was built from concrete slabs that do not offer a whole lot of traction. This race against the clock promised plenty of action and drama and one last big fight for the overall standings and the team classification at this Giro d’Italia on what was its penultimate day.
Promoted to be the captain of Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS as the race developed, Damiano Caruso had little chanced to improve on his 4th place on GC, but there were serious contenders looking to push him further down in the final standings. But Caruso showed an inspired ride and silenced all doubters on the way to Monte Lussari. He posted a new best time when crossing the finish line and ended up in 4th both on the day and on GC. And since Santiago Buitrago and Jack Haig also rode decently against the clock, the lead in the team classification did not get under threat anymore. In the end the margin stood at more than 16 minutes, so just like last year the team won this prestigious classification at the Giro d’Italia.
106TH GIRO D’ITALIA: POINTS CLASSIFICATION, FINAL STANDINGS
1. Jonathan Milan, ITA/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, 217 points
2. Derek Gee, CAN, 164 points
3. Michael Matthews, AUS, 101 points
TEAM CLASSIFICATION, FINAL STANDINGS
1. TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, BHR, in 256:21.18 hours
2. Ineos Grenadiers, GBR, + 16.22
3. Team Jumbo Visma, NED, + 30.40
Photos: Sprint Cycling Agency