Tim Merlier raises a hand as he crosses the line to win stage 18 of the 2024 Giro d'Italia. To his left, rival Jonathan Milan has his mouth open in a disappointed shout.

Giro stage 18 report: Merlier dethrones the duke of Milan

The Soudal speedster comes out on top in a chaotic duel of the two top sprinters at the race.

Joe Lindsey
by Joe Lindsey 23.05.2024 Photography by
Cor Vos
More from Joe +

The 2024 Giro d’Italia started with a packed field of sprinters but through six bunch finishes just two of them have dominated, with five wins between them. Stage 18 was a straight-up showdown between Maglia Ciclamino wearer Jonathan Milan of Lidl-Trek and Soudal-Quick Step’s Tim Merlier and in a chaotic sprint that featured no true leadout, it was Merlier who came out on top by just a few centimeters to end Milan’s two-stage streak. Overall leader Tadej Pogačar had a quiet and uneventful day to keep his commanding race lead.

A brief reprieve from climbing



Brief analysis

It was not a perfect line, but we managed to be in a good position. I was a bit surprised; the last kilometer was really fast with the two corners and I was surprised when we were already in the last 500 meters. I found my moment but I had to go a bit around, but in the end I made it.

Merlier, describing the hectic final kilometer

Up next

It’s back to the mountains with a 157 km ride from Mortegliano to Sappada that features three categorized climbs. It’s not technically a summit finish, but with the Cima Sappada coming 6 km from the finish and featuring ramps of 11% it’s the perfect launching pad for attacks from a break or a bridge attempt if any chasers are close behind.

What did you think of this story?