“The haters will be disappointed" - Tim Merlier in fiery mood after taking second stage win of 2024 Giro d'Italia

For the second time in the 2024 Giro d'Italia, Tim Merlier was the man to secure himself the victory in a bunch sprint on stage 18. In a thrilling finale to the day, the Belgian narrowly edged out the Maglia Ciclamino of Jonathan Milan to take the win.

“The haters will be disappointed," laughed a fiery Merlier in his post-stage interview, having had to wait since stage 3 to take another win and being forced to watch as Milan added three wins to his palmares and Olav Kooij took a maiden Grand Tour stage win also. Biding his time however, Merlier never gave up hope of another win and on stage 18 he finally managed to succeed in his quest.

Notably, despite this being the 4th Grand Tour stage win of the Soudal - Quick-Step man's career, it is by far the latest in a three-week stage race that Merlier has managed to taste success, with all his previous three triumphs coming in the opening week of racing.

"We knew the points that were important today and we were always in good position - not in the perfect line but we managed to be in a good position," the sprinter reflected of a dramatic and frantic final sprint for the line. "I was in surprised. The last kilometre was really fast with two corner and I was surprised we were already in the last 500-600 metres. When I found my moment, I started my sprint. I needed to go a bit around but in the end I made it."

Having missed out on selection for Soudal - Quick-Step at all three of the Grand Tours in 2023, Merlier's second stage win at the 2024 Giro d'Italia is a great way to prove a point and brings the 31-year-old's tally of wins in 2024 to the impressive number of 9 already.

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