Milan San-Remo – Ben Swift Third


After a very wet and cold 300 kilometres in Milan San Remo, Ben Swift was third behind Alexander Kristoff and Fabian Cancellera

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Milan San-Remo – Ben Swift Third

After the selection was made on the final two climbs, a bunch kick between 20 or so riders saw Katusha’s Norwegian Alexander Kristoff surprise all the fastmen to win comprehensively the 2014 Milan San Temo.



It was quite some finish after a long race of attrition in the peloton due to the cold and wet and fast pace set by the teams eager to remove the sprinters from the peloton. As ever, a break escaped early on and members of that group were still bring mopped up on the Poggio only six or so kilometres from the finish.

While the break held sway at the front, it wasn’t until the Cipressa that the action really started to heat up. The cold and full gas speed of the peloton saw Mark Cavendish’s right hand men Mark Renshaw and Alessandro Petacchi drop away along with 180 or so other riders as the favourites came to the fore.


 The field leave Milan on a wet and cold 300 kilometre journey to San Remo. Photo:

The first of them to show his face was Vincenzo Nibal who attacked a long way out but with only a dozen or so seconds lead, he was soon brought back on the Poggio where the race just exploded. Rast from Trek was the rider who came flying past Nibali before Battaglin attacked and in his exuberanceto get up the road, almost over shot a corner.

With the race having taken its toll on the sprinter teams, unlike a stage race, they simply didn’t have the numbers. Lotto put a rider on the front followed by Griepel but they soon parked up and went backwards.

Sky had to then take it up before Philippe Gilbert let rip with an attack. The former world champion though hardly got a few seconds as the peloton pounced on the move with Bennati the first to him. Katusha had numbers at the front and Belkin sent a rider away before Greg van Avermaet of BMC tried his luck on the run in to San Remo.


 The break of the day –  seven riders: Matteo Bono, Nathan Haas, Nicola Boem, Antonio Parrinello , Tjallingii,  Jan Barta (NetApp-Endura) and Marc de Maar.Photo:

Colbrelli then launched a solo attack but even on wet roads which can some times favour a lone move, what was left of the peloton, not a lot, were soon on him and Kristoff was in a class of his own after 300k with Fabian Cancellera outsprinting the sprinters such as Ben Swift and Mark Cavendish to finish on the podium for the fourth time in a row!

Swift held on for a brilliant third place which when you consider the carnage on the final climbs, shows just what an impressive young rider he is and a victory is surely not far away for 2014.


“I feel great” said Kristoff afterwards. “It’s fantastic victory – I didn’t believe it until I crossed the line. I had wanted a top 10 finish. Yes, the sprinters are difficult to beat but a sprint after 300 kilometres is different than after 200k. I was trying for the win and so happy I could take it.”

“The team did incredible work. Katusha was absolutely amazing during the entire race – each of my teammates was great. Luca Paolini helped me a lot in the final to get a good position for the sprint.”

“It was a very difficult and unpredictable sprint. Normally I don’t lose much power even on a long stage. I saw Cavendish, who started his sprint, so I started mine, too. For the last 150 meters I had super power and was able to hold the others off”.



“I was super happy when I saw I’d taken the win. It was the best moment in my life. Right now I’m enjoying this moment and I’m super happy. It’s the highlight of my career, – explained Alexander Kristoff.

Second placed Fabian Cancellera said afterwards “I am really tired, it was a race of survival. Many times during the race I was cold. I have to say a big thanks to the team, it was a great team effort, and everyone did his maximum today. With, or without, the Pompeiana it was still hard. But in the end it was a sprinter’s race after all, so I guess in that way I made a good result.”

“It was hard because it was a race where you had to be patient – to wait and wait. Maybe it was a little bit boring because of that. Today was not Flanders or Roubaix. I thought maybe I should go on the top of Poggio but there were too many riders that looked fresh, so I did not make a move. Same after the descent, there was no moment to go, so the best plan was to wait for a sprint. The sprint was the only solution of today.”

“Of course I want to win, and not be second, or someplace on the podium like the last four years. But it was special circumstances again, lots of cold and rain and it was not difficult other than the weather to get to the end. But I am happy when I look at how I finished against the big sprinters. The sprint at the end, I played it the best I could: I used my ‘non-sprinter’ skills to finish well. Kristoff was just too far away at the end.”

“The condition I have to say is definitely here. Now I want to go and take a hot shower and wash my eyes really well because I cannot see out of one of them.”


Ben Swift (right) gets himself on the podium at Milan San Remo – like wow! Photo:

Third was Ben Swift. Its some what surreal to see a rider I have seen grow up in cycling and come of age with the worlds best in one of the sports biggest monuments. Quite simply, Ben Swift rode an awesome race. Talking to his team at after the race he said “It’s the race that I’ve looked at in the past and dreamed about over the years.”

“It’s the one big race where I could see myself getting a result because normally that sort of terrain is where I’d have pretty good legs. So to go there and do that today was a really great feeling.”

Anyone who saw the pictures and TV footage will have seen the awful conditions to the riders had to endure… “My hands were so cold. I was struggling to do anything with my fingers. I couldn’t do up my rain cape and things like that”.

“I never felt bad in the race, I was just cold. As it went on, I just felt better and better. Then once we took the rain capes off and the racing really started I felt a lot better. When we got onto the climbs, the rain did affect a lot of people. We were expecting a lot of attacks but they just never really materialized.”


Ben Swift saving his legs for the finale. Photo:

“The team rode together all day. The plan was to keep out of sight a little bit but to be at the front for the final climbs. I came around and got into a really good position at the bottom of the Cipressa and that helped a lot.”

“Heading into the finish, I was just looking to stay safe down the Poggio and stay in contact with the front guys. I knew that you needed good position down there to make it as easy as possible. I didn’t really know how many people were in the group or not but I just tried to stay as far forward as I could.”

“It turned into a bit of a track race once we got into that final 3km. There were always guys willing to put moves in and then once it came to the sprint it was just about trying to pick the right wheel. I got boxed in a little bit but luckily I managed to find a way out.”

Mark Cavendish  – “ my legs just stopped”

Former winner and race favourite Mark Cavendish who resisted all the attacks on the climbs, ‘failed’ in the one thing he excels in, the sprint. “It was really so cold today,” Cavendish said. “I felt incredible all day. I’d like to say I launched early in my sprint, but I don’t think I had any other option”.

“When Modolo (Lampre-Merida) went, my only other option was to go then. It was too early, but I don’t think I had much choice. I think maybe in other conditions, where I wasn’t so cold, I would maybe have a little bit left and could have stayed longer.”

“But I really decided to sprint and my legs just stopped. I sat down and my legs just didn’t go anymore. Kristoff came back so, so fast. I gave everything and I managed fifth. But, I am happy with the form. A few of the guys were really cold earlier in the race.”


“Iljo Keisse looked after me the whole day, riding in the wind for the first 150 kilometers. It was hard to even communicate, even looking around at any of the teams, it was so cold. Bakelants did an absolutely incredible job for me today.”

“He rode the majority of the last 70 kilometers in the wind for me. Styby was there on the last climbs always staying with me. I felt super on the last climbs, but not really in the sprint. So, I am disappointed, but I can take some positives from today and look forward to the rest of the season”.

“As for being there at the end of Milano-Sanremo, my team believes in me, I believe in myself, and that’s the most important thing to me. Given the circumstances, I gave everything and don’t think I could have done anything differently.”

Peter Sagan: not the result I expected 

One of the big race favourites was Peter Sagan who said afterwards “This is not the result I expected but I suffered a lot the cold and the bad weather. It was not easy to perform as I wanted after a so hard day.”

“In the finale, I suffered more than last year. Anyway, I have to accept this result– even if I’m disappointed. I did my best with this condition and, with my team, we managed the race we wanted.”

“We have nothing to regret. I want to thank my teammates because they supported me in a such great way.”

Great Result for Movistar and Endura

Juanjo Lobato (4th): “I  really wanted to know I could do this race” he said afterwards. This year I could finally debut and the truth is I’m very happy, although a little bittersweet because I had legs to stand on the podium”.

“With the cold rain, it changed the race a lot and today I have suffered for many hours, almost from mile 20. I had to stop once to get more clothing and change overshoe that was icy, but apart from that the feeling was very good.”

“I tried to take the wheel of Cavendish to lead me in the end.  I’ve was a bit misplaced and I could not get on the podium. Kristoff was second to none, but the rest did not have better legs than me. At least I have found this race and I saw that I can be disputing it for years to come . ”

1 KRISTOFF Alexander Team Katusha 06:55:56
2 CANCELLARA Fabian Trek Factory Racing
3 SWIFT Ben Team Sky
4 LOBATO Juan Jose Movistar Team
5 CAVENDISH Mark Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
6 COLBRELLI Sonny Bardiani – CSF
7 STYBAR Zdenek Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
8 MODOLO Sacha Lampre – Merida
9 CIOLEK Gerald MTN – Qhubeka
10 SAGAN Peter Cannondale
11 NAVARDAUSKAS Ramunas Garmin Sharp
12 PUCCIO Salvatore Team Sky
13 GILBERT Philippe BMC Racing Team
14 LANGEVELD Sebastian Garmin Sharp
15 NORDHAUG Lars Petter Belkin-Pro Cycling Team
16 OFFREDO Yoann
17 VENTOSO Fran Movistar Team
18 BENNATI Daniele Tinkoff-Saxo
19 RAST Gregory Trek Factory Racing
20 FELLINE Fabio Trek Factory Racing

21 CHAVANEL Sylvain IAM Cycling ,,
24 GREIPEL André Lotto Belisol ,,
25 VAN AVERMAET Greg BMC Racing Team ,,
29 BOASSON HAGEN Edvald Team Sky @0.34
39 DEGENKOLB John Team Giant-Shimano 01:54
44 NIBALI Vincenzo Astana Pro Team 03:15
55 BAUER Jack Garmin Sharp 05:23
56 HUSHOVD Thor BMC Racing Team 05:29
68 HAUSSLER Heinrich IAM Cycling @6.23
71 ROCHE Nicolas Tinkoff-Saxo ,,
100 CLARKE Simon Orica GreenEDGE 11.42
105 SLAGTER Tom-Jelte Garmin Sharp 17:59


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