Jonathan Milan sprints to glory in Orihuela
The Italian Lidl Trek sprinter has asserted his status as favourite in the only stage of this 75th VCV destined to finish in a group.
Orihuela. 2 February 2024. The speed of Italian sprinter Jonathan Milan has been evident this Friday in Orihuela. The Lidl Trek rider confirmed his favouritism and took a spectacular victory in the fourth stage of the 75th VCV – Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana Gran Premi Banc Sabadell. A stage, the only one with a sprint finish, in which everyone knew that Milan was the man to beat, but in which no one was able to catch him. The young Italian came to the VCV with one goal in mind and he achieved it, proving to the whole world that he is no longer the sprinter of the future, but of the present.
The morning started in San Vicente del Raspeig, with a crowded signing control as in all the starts of this 75th VCV. Children, cycling fans and sports fans in general, nobody wanted to miss the chance to see the best riders of the international peloton up close. Matej Mohoric, after his exhibition in stage 2, was the most acclaimed this morning among the public.
Once the signature control was completed, the race got underway. The ribbon cutting ceremony for this third stage was attended by the mayor of San Vicente del Raspeig, José Rafael Pascual Llopis; the provincial deputy, José Antonio Bermejo Castellón; the general manager of Alicante Centro, Ana Posada; the sports councillor of San Vicente del Raspeig, Ricardo Bernabeu; the deputy general manager and eastern territorial director of Banco Sabadell, Fernando Canós; and the general manager of the 75 VCV, Ángel Casero.
This stage 3 of the 75th VCV was the only one with a route clearly prepared for a mass sprint finish. Therefore, the breakaway that was formed was going to have a hard time reaching the finish line as in stage 1. There were six escapees on Friday. Asier Etxeberria (EUS), Guillermo Silva (CJR), Ander Okamika (BBH), Nathan Smith (TNN), Unai Esparza (IBA) and Laurent Gervais (PEC). The breakaway had just over six minutes of advantage over the peloton, but with the feeling that when the peloton tightened the gap would be quickly reduced.
This tightening came before the climb of the first and only mountain pass of the day, the ‘Albaterolo’ of Albatera. At the top of the climb, the gap between the escapees and the peloton was already just over two minutes, so the development of the stage followed the expected course. Little or nothing could prevent a sprint finish. Even so, the breakaway held the lead until the last two kilometres. Proof of the millimetric precision with which the peloton controlled the stage today.
It was a pity that a massive crash in the last two kilometres cut off a large part of the peloton, including one of the great favourites for victory, the Australian Michael Mathews. Only a select few, those who were always in the lead, were able to fight for the victory. And there was, of course, Jonathan Milan. Lidl Trek knew that today was his day and he was not going to let anyone spoil it. Perfectly positioned in front, the Italian sprinter’s pacemakers did their job, leaving Milan free to achieve a spectacular victory. There was a reason why he arrived at the VCV as the most feared sprinter. As soon as he could, he imposed his law. Thanks to this victory, Milan is now leader of the regularity and Lidl Trek of the team classification. Alessandro Tonelli is still in yellow and Santiago Buitrago is the best young rider.
This Saturday, the main stage of the 75th VCV between Teulada Moraira and Vall d’Ebo, five mountain passes over 175 kilometres, with the Alto del Miserat, the last summit of the day, as the main attraction. A day to decide the winner of the 75th VCV.