So close! Jonathan Milan second in Napoli

Stage 9 of the Giro d’Italia finished with a super-fast sprint on the promenade, where Kooij overtook Jonny by a few centimeters

The proverbial superstition of the Neapolitans might suggest that there is an ‘unlucky’ relationship between Milan and the city. A year ago (to our delight) the Italian sprinter had to surrender in a sprint to Mads Pedersen while, today (to our dismay) Jonny was narrowly overtaken by Kooij (Jumbo-Visma).

On the famous Caracciolo promenade, with views of the island of Capri and the Vesuvius volcano enchanting everyone’s eyes, the Giro delivered a thrilling finale after a hard-fought 214-kilometre stage.


From the climb of Monte di Procida onwards, more or less 40km from the finish, every kick became a springboard for attacks. Behind, leading the chase, Milan’s teammates spared no effort to keep the situation under control but, on the very last kick, Narvaez (Ineos) surprised everyone and made a gap.

His attempt would eventually be neutralized only 200 metres from the line, with the sprint already launched by the excellent work of Theuns, Stuyven and Consonni, and the decisive contribution of the Maglia Rosa Pogacar, working for his teammate Molano. In the frenzy of the moment, Milan was forced into a long sprint that favored the comeback of Kooij, who was able to beat him to the line.

For Jonny it was once again a podium finish, after the success in Andora and the second place in Fossano. Finishing second always leaves a hint of bitterness, but also the knowledge that Milan is there. Again.


Johnny’s reaction

We knew it would be a complicated stage and that the sprint was not a foregone conclusion. We had to earn it. It was no surprise when the attacks started, one after the other. I admit that I felt those brutal accelerations in the final sprint. In short, it’s the second stage that leaves me feeling disappointed, especially because my teammates put their heart and soul into creating the ideal conditions for a sprint today. I would have liked to put the icing on the cake that was their work with a victory, but I have to settle with the second place.  

Once again, I played for the victory until the line, and that’s a good takeaway also because the opportunities for sprinters are certainly not over. This will give me more motivation to try again on Wednesday in Francavilla, but first, I need to recover my energy, which I plan to do tomorrow on the first rest day.