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Milan claims Giro stage double as Pogacar retains lead

Italian rider Jonathan Milan (C) raking a second stage win on this Giro (Luca Bettini)
Italian rider Jonathan Milan (C) raking a second stage win on this Giro (Luca Bettini)

Jonathan Milan claimed his second win at this year's Giro d'Italia after taking the honours at Wednesday's 11th stage in a messy bunch sprint.

Having already won stage four, Italian Milan pipped a clutch of top sprinters to the line at Francavilla al Mare, on the shores of the Adriatic Sea, after 207 kilometres from Foiano di Val Fortore.

After an easy day heading north along the Adriatic coast, all of the sprint and general classification contenders were involved in the long straight final sprint into a headwind.

A nasty crash left several riders on the ground in the final kilometre but in the sprint to the line Lidl-Trek rider Milan broke off Tim Merlier's wheel, bursting through to notch his fifth win of the season.

"It's not just this 20-second sprint or the victory in the end that made me happy. It was all the work the guys did today to support me and bring me to the crucial position for the sprint," said track specialist Milan.

"This is what has made me happy. A real team, as we are. I think today it's just unbelievable what the guys did for me today."

Milan's win was a reversal of the third stage when Soudal Quick-Step's Belgian rider Merlier took the victory ahead of the current points jersey holder.

The 23-year-old Milan leads Alpecin's Australian rider Kaden Groves, was third across the line, by 63 points.

Merlier is some way off the pace for the cyclamen jersey and was replaced on the podium by Giovanni Leonardi for dangerous riding.

Slovenian Tadej Pogacar retains the leader's pink jersey with an unchanged lead of 2min 40sec over Colombian Daniel Martinez, while Welshman Geraint Thomas is a further 16sec back in third overall.

Thursday's 12th stage takes the peloton from Martinsicuro to Fano, a 190km run which takes in a series of punchy small climbs.

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