"It's my fault" - Jonathan Milan takes blame for his bad positioning after narrow miss in stage 18 sprint at Giro d'Italia

Being forced to settle for second in the bunch sprint finale to stage 18 at the 2024 Giro d'Italia, Maglia Ciclamino wasn't quite able to claim a fourth stage win at this Grand Tour, as victory went to Soudal - Quick-Step's Tim Merlier.

"In the finale we saw more things. We also saw a second place," the Lidl-Trek powerhouse reflected in his post-stage interview. The reason for his near miss was immediately noticed too, with the Italian entered the final few hundred metres somewhat blocked and ultimately only managing to rectify the situation a little too late, with the line coming just too soon for him.

"I'm sorry because the guys did their best to allow me to sprint. They were in the best position in the finale, but I didn't manage to follow them, so it's my fault," he admits honestly, putting the blame for his poor positioning on his own shoulders. "The finale was much more complicated than we had planned, it was very dangerous, but that's how it goes."

"The legs were there, the guys had done a great job as well," he continues. "I got a little wind and lost my wheels a bit, lost my position. I tried to come back and finish what the guys did for me. I tried to do my best, but it's a shame because after a great team effort you want to finish a good result. I tried to sprint as best I could, coming a bit from behind that's what happened. When you make mistakes with sprinters like Merlier you end up second."

Nevertheless, in the fight for overall victory in the points classification, Milan now holds a massive 127 point lead over his nearest Maglia Ciclamino rival, Kaden Groves. With just three stages to go, it's not yet officially confirmed, but if Milan stays upright and within the time cuts, he will secure the points jersey for the second year running.

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