Tour of Italy. Dainese wins, but in Caorle it ended with a Mexican-style stalemate
The DSM sprinter, Jonathan Milan and Michael Matthews appeared side by side under the finish banner. Only the Australian understood he wasn't the winner, but he was vague. For seconds and seconds no one knew how it had ended: the photo-finish arrived to ruin everything
Alberto Dainese, Michael Matthews and Jonathan Milan found themselves side by side, from right to left, in perfect alphabetical order, under the Caorle arrival banner, seventeenth stage of the Giro d'Italia 2023. They all looked at each other after the finish, Dainese was looking at Matthews and Milan, Matthwes was looking at Dainese and Milan, Milan was scrutinizing Dainese and Matthews. The only one who understood anything was the Australian, but he didn't want to show it, perhaps for superstition. Matthews is a runner who knows a lot, someone who always understands everything on the fly. And that he knows that the best thing to do in certain cases is to keep what you've learned to yourself.
For a few moments no one did what is right to do when you cross a finish line first: take your hands off the handlebars, lift them up, cheer. The sprint was a nice blow of lust. No one did it because no one knew how it turned out between the three of them. Who had won? Bah. Alberto Dainese asked for it. Jonathan Milan asked for it. Michael Matthews looked around, he didn't ask, he didn't believe it, but who knows, deep down he always harbors a little bit of hope, the one that the entire technological apparatus of the Giro had broken down.
Had they had a gun in hand it would have been a perfect Mexican standoff. Alberto Dainese, Michael Matthews and Jonathan Milan didn't have a gun in their hand, but a bicycle under them. And of the race judges already grappling with that totalitarian gimmick that is the photo finish. That he said one thing, only one thing, and not in a long time: Alberto Dainese won the stage, ahead of Jonathan Milan by a few centimetres, a few, but enough to leave no doubts; third Michael Matthews for almost half a wheel.
Alberto Dainese was happy, he rejoiced, but in front of the photographers. Better to enjoy cycling, but this was not the case. The other two are too close, the gap too little. And when that's the case, you prefer to wait because it's always better to avoid looking like any Zabel or Alaphilippe.
A double celebration would have been nice. It is never wrong to add joy to joy. That's not how it goes in sports. Cycling has this claim to reward only those who win. Not bad for Jonathan Milan though: he went on stage to uncork the bubbly anyway, sure by now that to take home that cyclamen shirt that he started wearing in San Salvo, at the end of the second stage, all he has to do is get to Rome . There are three very mangy stages, patience will be needed.