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Tim, timed to perfection


One wrong movement, one tiny miscalculation, and Tim Merlier will be right there to punish you. The Belgian from Soundal-Quick Step hardly ever finds a stronger sprinter than himself, but on this Giro d’Italia 2024 he has found Mr. Jonathan Milan. Maglia Ciclamino for 35 stages out of the last 39, the Italian is the undisputed price sprinter of this edition of the Corsa Rosa. In this head-to-head, the giant from Buja has proved to be in the shape of his life, but despite this, Merlier still found a way to beat him, not once, but twice.

Both in Fossano, on Stage 3, when Milan started his sprint too early, and today in Padua, as Lidl-Trek lead-out train was called off by Consonni as soon as he realised that Milan was not in tow, experienced Merlier was the quickest and smartest in taking advantage of the situation. Today, the Belgian has made it 2-3 in terms of stage wins, and the Grand Finale in Rome is yet to come.

With this success, Merlier rises to 9 seasonal victories. He would be the most successful rider of the year if Tadej Pogačar did not exist, as the Slovenian has already won 12 times, 5 of which here at the Giro. This goes to show once again the excellent level of sprinters competing here at the Giro.

As is often the case when arriving in these parts of Italy, the streets were filled with fans, completely uninterested in the fact that today’s stage was close to pan-flat. The people of Trento, Belluno, Treviso, Venice and Padua showed all their support throughout the 178 km of the stage. The packed Prato della Valle, with thousands of people crowded around the square and all through the last kilometre, is one of the most beautiful pictures of this Giro.


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