Jonathan Milan delivered Italy from the second stage of the Giro by winning the sprint on Sunday at San Salvo, where Remco Evenepoel kept the leader's pink jersey without worry.
In each of the three great Tours, be it the Tour de France, the Vuelta or the Giro, the first victory of a national representative is expected every year like rain in the desert.
And sometimes, it delays, tensing an entire country.
At only 22 years old, Jonathan Milan saved Italy from long days of anguish by raising his arms on the second day, in the face and under the beard of pure sprinters.
For Italy, it's a relief, especially since they haven't had a star sprinter or a serious overall contender since the retirement of Vincenzo Nibali, and have to make do for the most part with the power of Filippo Ganna in the lap times.
It's unbelievable, I can't believe it, it's my first Giro.
I needed a good prologue yesterday, but I could never have imagined winning today
,” exulted Milan, very moved after his fourth professional success, the first of this magnitude.
A track specialist, the rider from the Bahrain team won in force ahead of the Dutchman David Dekker and the Australian Kaden Groves.
Fall 3 km from the goal
Several candidates for victory were not present in the final sprint, after a violent collective fall which occurred just over three kilometers from the finish, which notably knocked out the Dane Mads Pedersen and the Briton Mark Cavendish.
Three members of the Top 10 overall, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Jay Vine and Brandon McNulty, lost a handful of seconds in the index and fell slightly in the standings.
Before this fall during a final which suddenly became very nervous, the day was particularly peaceful along the Adriatic coast, under a beautiful sun.
It was led by a long breakaway of five riders, including the French Thomas Champion (Cofidis) and Paul Lapeira (AG2R-Citroën), whose last survivors were caught 40 km from the goal.
As a reward for his efforts, Lapeira, 22, will wear the blue jersey of best climber on Monday, at the center of a confusion at the start after being wrongly awarded on Saturday to the American McNulty because of an error by the organizers.
Before clenching their butts in the last five kilometers, the main leaders spent the day with their feet fanned out.
Starting with Remco Evenepoel, who wore the pink jersey for the first time in his career and rode a colorful bike, with a frame in the colors of the rainbow to honor his status as world champion, and a pink handlebar tape.
The Belgian, who said that his phone had "
" after his triumph in the prologue, celebrated with a glass of prosecco, stayed warm, wedged in the wheel of his teammates.
Very relaxed, he took the time, in the middle of a stage, to move to the right of the road to come and clap his wife Oumaïma's hand, obviously dressed in a pink top.
Everything went well today.
We escaped trouble, but it was a bad fall
, ”commented the Belgian.
In order not to have to bear the weight of the race for too long, his Soudal-Quick Step formation has planned to give up - temporarily, according to his plans - the pink jersey during Tuesday's stage in favor of an escape.
On Monday, the third stage should once again be suitable for sprinters since the two successive climbs of Monticchio (6.3 km at 6.4% on average) and Valico La Croce (2.6 km at 7.6%) are located too far from the finish to make a real difference.