After cycling for three years in the Bahrain Victorious jersey, Jonathan Milan will be moving to Lidl-Trek next season, the American WorldTour team that's making significant moves in terms of transfers. In an interview with IDLProCycling.com in early September, Milan expressed his satisfaction when looking back on 2023.
Milan, who is now 22 years old, raced at the Continental level for Cycling Team Friuli in 2019 and 2020. He made his way into races among the top professionals in 2021, although he didn't necessarily achieve top results at that time. However, things changed in 2022. The Italian rider secured several impressive placements in the first half of the year. But it was in the second half of the calendar year that he truly shined, including two third-place finishes in the Tour of Poland and a second-place finish in the first stage of the Deutschland Tour. In the CRO Race, a 2.1 race in Croatia, he even won the first two stages. In 2023, he continued his upward trajectory, sprinting to victory in the second stage of the Saudi Tour, where he outpaced riders like Dylan Groenewegen and Cees Bol.
Milan was overtired after Giro d'Italia
It was at the Giro d'Italia that Milan truly garnered significant (media) attention. He seized the first opportunity for sprinters in a highly convincing manner, outpacing top riders like Kaden Groves, Pascal Ackermann, and Fernando Gaviria. Throughout the rest of the Giro d'Italia, the tall youngster consistently performed well, securing several top-five finishes. Reflecting on last season, the Tolmezzo rider expressed his satisfaction just before the start of the Brittany Classic - Ouest-France. "Of course, I would have liked to turn some of my Giro performances into victories, but all in all, I can't complain, especially considering my strong start to the season," he remarked, referring to his victory in the Middle East.
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"In the Giro, I was actually surprised by my own level," he continued, reflecting on his debut in a major tour. "I initially went there with the primary goal of supporting the team, and I was fully motivated for that. Eventually, I had the chance to pursue my own success, and I seized it wholeheartedly. It turned out to be a fantastic experience," the cheerful rider stated. "Throughout the rest of the Giro, I took it one day at a time, and I quickly noticed that my teammates were willing to give their all for me. So, I'm very grateful to them for their efforts," he expressed his appreciation.
Admittedly, Milan, known for his passion for track cycling, felt extremely fatigued after the three-week stage race through Italy. "I decided to take a ten-day rest period, but even after that, I was still feeling tired!" he chuckled. "So, I opted for a bit more rest. Gradually, I began my preparations for the Track Cycling World Championships, which were another important goal for me. I went there with the ambition of winning the rainbow jersey. Unfortunately, things didn't go as planned," said the Giro's points classification winner, who had to settle for a bronze medal in the individual pursuit at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow.
According to Milan, "a cool plan" has been made for him at Lidl-Trek
At the beginning of this calendar year, shortly after the Saudi Tour, Milan headed to the European Championships in track cycling, which were hosted in Switzerland. There, he achieved success by securing a gold medal—unlike at the World Championships held in August. Milan reflected on his European Championship experience: "That European Championship went very well for me. With the Italian team, we clinched the gold medal in the team pursuit, and I also secured a gold medal in an individual event, namely the individual pursuit."
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Milan's season isn't quite over yet. On Thursday, September 21, he will participate in the Mixed Team Relay on behalf of the 'Azzuri' at the European Cycling Championships, which are being held this year in Drenthe. The gentle giant also has the CRO Race ahead, followed by the Gree-Tour of Guangxi, a Chinese stage race. Milan looks ahead to these races and says, "Hopefully, I can showcase some great performances in my last weeks with the team. Afterward, it will be time for a well-deserved vacation," he adds with a big smile.
Regarding his upcoming period at Lidl-Trek, Milan cannot reveal too much at this point. He does share, "I want to improve in different areas, that's for sure. It's an exciting step in my career. Lidl-Trek is an interesting team with a promising plan for me personally, so I'm looking forward to it."