The day after taking his first professional victory, Jonathan Milan did it again, winning stage 2 of CRO Race (Otočac – Zadar, 163 km).
The young Italian sprinter claimed his second straight victory with a photo finish, beating Barbier (B&B Hotel) and Viviani (Ineos) to the line.
Stage 2 was another opportunity for the fast men, and a bunch sprint was expected at the end of a technical loop in the town of Zadar. Milan started the day wearing the GC leader’s red jersey, which gave him extra motivation to look for another win. Like yesterday, the team worked excellently, with our men protecting the leader and pacing the peloton in the chase of the day’s attackers, with the last representatives caught inside the final 10km. Then it was all about positioning in the fast and demanding loop, where Mohorič perfectly led his teammate to exit the last bend in the first position. With 250m to go, Milan was head to head with Viviani, but Barbier accelerated from behind, and only the photo finish could establish the day’s winner.
“Immediately, I had this sensation to put my couple of centimetres from the other guy’s wheel. He was also super strong,” Milan explains. “I know he celebrated, but I didn’t not because I was thinking of not having won. It was just so close. Two wins in two days. Who could fancy that? Also, today the guys did an amazing job from km zero until the end. Matej explained how to take the last corner because he knew this course well. So I followed what I was told to do, following him and then opening the sprint early. I don’t know what to say, but I am super happy. Only next time will I remember to raise my arms to celebrate.”
Milan retained the overall leader jersey after stage 2, increasing the gap to 14″ ahead of the second Barbier: “We will try to retain the jersey for more time as possible with me, but we also have a super strong team for the climbing courses”.
“Tomorrow we will see a different race, where the CG contender will have more opportunities to shine”, Bahrain Victorious Sports Director Gorazd Stangelj comments. “We have Mohorič and Buitrago, but Milan can also have a good chance to retain the leader’s jersey. It will be a more demanding day and more difficult to control, as a breakaway can stay away, and a win from the breakaway it’s likely. About today, I can only be satisfied with the job done by the team. We spent lots of energy all day long, and we missed some men in the finale. We know the final was chaotic, but we were ready for it, with Matej, who was amazing in positioning Milan ahead of the final crucial bend. With his experience, Jonathan’s strong legs and a bit of luck, all our work has been rewarded”.