Cycling News

Tim Merlier triumphs in Giro d’Italia’s first bunch sprint

Tim Merlier triumphs in Giro d'Italia's first bunch sprint

The sprinters had their day in Monday’s third stage of the Giro d’Italia, and for a while it looked like a rare sprinters’ breakaway would prevail, and then seemed like pink jersey Tadej Pogačar would win, and in the end it was Soudal-Quick Step’s fastman Tim Merlier with the triumph. Tadej Pogačar kept safe in the race lead.

Pogacar resplendent in pink, but would he let the lead go to a breakaway rider this week? Photo: Sirotti

The Course

There are flatter stages set for the 107th Giro, but Monday’s fare, with one early categorized climb and undulations inside the final 20 km, offered the fastmen their first showcase in Fossano.

Before the Cat. 4 in Lu, Lilian Calmejane took off with another chap to pick up KOM points. Second place Dani Martinez was wearing the blue mountains jersey for Pogačar. After that moment of excitement, the day continued with its dozy pace. The peloton woke up for the first intermediate sprint (Jonathan Milan on top), which created a 24-strong, sprinter-heavy breakaway. This escape group carried on to the second intermediate sprint (Jonathan Milan again).

Movistar, Bahrain-Victorious and Polti-Kometa laboured to bring back the sprinter platoon. The pace split the peloton, and white jersey Cian Uijtdebroeks was caught in the second group.

However, by the 44-km-to-go mark, it was all back together. The final intermediate sprint saw Ben Swift take first, Pogačar snag two bonus seconds and Geraint Thomas grab one.

Rain complicated the final run-in. The lumps thinned out the numbers a little. Colour blocks formed.

With 3.1 km to go an EF Education-Easypost rider made a thrust that Pogačar and Thomas took up.

Pogacar and Thomas try their luck inside 3 km.

The high-powered duo was corralled only with 300 metres to go. Merlier powered towards the line on the right hand side, throwing his bike to stave off Milan’s challenge to his left.

Tuesday should be another feast for the fastmen.

2024 Giro d’Italia Stage 3

1) Tim Merlier (Belgium/Soudal-Quick Step) 3:54:35
2) Jonathan Milan (Italy/Lidl-Trek) s.t.
3) Biniam Girmay (Eritrea/Intermarché-Wanty) s.t.

2024 Giro d’Italia Stage GC

1) Tadej Pogačar (Slovenian/UAE-Emirates) 11:03:02
2) Geraint Thomas (Great Britain/Ineos) +0:47

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Canadian Cycling Magazine…