Result: Milan – San Remo

Monument win for Wout Van Aert at longest ever Milan San Remo to go with Strade Bianche victory as he beats Julian Alaphilippe to the line in a two up sprint 

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Result: Milan – San Remo


Routine Start (race Mitchelton-Scott report)
It didn’t take long for a breakaway to form with seven riders going clear in the opening kilometres of the race. The peloton then knocked off the pace, allowing the escapees a maximum advantage of 6’45”.

The gap hovered around the six-minutes mark by the time the race reached the halfway point and the first climb of the day, the Niella Belbo. A touch of wheels then saw Dion Smith hit the ground, but the Kiwi was quickly back on his and on his bike. The gap to the break continued to fall as the peloton passed over the Colle di Nava and the advantage was down to two-minutes on the fast and flowing descent. The pace in the pack was then ramped up as the Cipressa loomed, and final escapee was mopped with 35km to go.

No attacks stuck up the climb, but Daniel Oss (Bora – hansgrohe) launched a counter attack down the descent. The Italian opened up a 15 second gap over the thinned out peloton, with Mitchelton-SCOTT amassing on the front of the bunch to assist in the chase and to setup Smith for the upcoming Poggio. 2019 winner Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick Step) was the first of the favourites to make a move on the slopes and he was soon followed by Van Aert. Meanwhile Smith held on in a select chase group behind as they raced down towards the finish line.

The gap to the leading duo was tumbling as they passed under the flamme rouge and as the line came into sight however, it was too little too late as Van Aert took the win.

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Van Aert: “I am super happy”, responded Van Aert. “I can’t believe I won Milan-Sanremo and Strade Bianche. I have no words for it. To restart the season like this feels crazy and very cool.” “I had a good feeling from the start. It is of course a very long course. At the beginning I focused on eating, drinking and staying cool. I am happy to be able to deliver this beauty to the team.”

Van Aert, who was one of the favorites, has had a successful Italian week. He won Strade Bianche and sprinted to third place in Milan-Turin. Van Aert was well supported by his teammates. “We were on a mission with the whole team. Bert-Jan Lindeman and Paul Martens kept me well in front. Then Timo Roosen stayed with me towards the Cipressa and Amund Jansen did a fantastic job on the Poggio. They were beyond themselves. That was very nice to see.”

Defending champion 2nd
At the end of 305 kilometers, the longest distance in the history of the race, the defending champion Julian Alaphilippe was defeated by a matter of centimeters. Julian Alaphilippe completed a set of podium finishes at Milano-Sanremo – one of the most prestigious races in the world – which this year had a new course right until the last 40 kilometres, when it hit the beautiful Ligurian coast.

Third in 2017 and winner last year, Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s rider narrowly missed out on becoming the first Frenchman since Laurent Fignon to take back-to-back victories at “La Primavera” after more than seven hours in the saddle, this year’s edition of Milano-Sanremo being the second-longest Monument in the history of the sport.

Deceuninck – Quick-Step were again prominent at the front of the race, lending a hand to the chasing behind the six escapees and controlling the race with the likes of Kasper Asgreen, Tim Declercq and Bob Jungels. “El Tractor” would go on to play a major role in the final outcome, after pacing Alaphilippe back in the peloton just before the Cipressa, after the defending champion had to change his bike due to a puncture at a moment when the bunch was traveling at a crazy speed.

Just like last year, Alaphilippe instigated the crucial move on the steepest section of Poggio, opening a gap on all the other riders, except Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), who linked up with him on the descent, four kilometers from the finish. A strong group pushed hard from behind to catch the duo, but the leaders worked well together and held off the chasers, before a nail-biting sprint that saw Julian Alaphilippe being edged out for just half of wheel.

“I knew it was going to be difficult and that Wout would be very strong, after all he was the main favourite, but I gave it my all and went full gas on the Poggio. On the downhill I couldn’t make the difference and that allowed him to join me, but we shared the workload and played it out in the sprint. I would have loved to win, but it is as it is. The guys did a fantastic job for me, I did the best sprint I was capable of after 300 kilometers and at the end of the day I am satisfied with this result, because a podium in a Monument is still important. This is just my second day of racing after five months, so I can be content with it and draw a lot of confidence from my showing today”, Julian Alaphilippe explained after racking up Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s 40th top 3 finish in a Monument.

Michael Matthews: Speaking after the stage Matthews (3rd) explained what happened in the finale: “Other guys were just in front of me attacking and I also wanted to go and follow them. The door then closed in front of me against the wall, and I scraped my shoulder and hand against the wall. From that point I couldn’t actually hold my handlebar properly with my hand, but I knew the team did such a great job today so I didn’t want to give up. Obviously I wanted to win and I think I had the legs to do it but this is racing; sometimes you win sometimes you lose. In the sprint at the end it was all or nothing to see what I could get out of the race after the crash – I think being on the podium is nice.”

Peter Sagan: “This year’s Milano-Sanremo was the longest one but I’d say it was less stressful than the previous editions. The climbs weren’t as difficult and the peloton started being nervous after topping the Colle di Nava. As for me, I don’t have yet the condition I had at this race in the past. My form is steadily getting better, after the Strade Bianche I have definitely improved but I’m not in a position yet where I could have responded to Van Aert and Alaphilippe on the Poggio. I think my season starts at the Tour de France this year and, in my view, I’m on the right track. Last but certainly not least, I’d like to thank all my teammates for their effort and dedication today.” – Peter Sagan

Dion Smith: “The boys did awesome all day, it was super-hot out there so to have them get bottles for me and ice socks all day, just even saving me having to go back to the car made the difference in the end. So that was super awesome by them.

“The sprint was strange, there were a few fast guys there, obviously faster than me so I had to play it a little bit smart. I actually ended up of Gilbert’s wheel and he hit out, and I just got on his wheel. I just thought ‘if in doubt, lead it out’! I was on his wheel and I maybe went a little bit too early, but I just put my head down.

“I managed to get around Gilbert, but then a couple of guys came from behind. Van Aert and Alaphilippe looked pretty close, but by the time they opened their sprint up there was still a bit of a gap. There was a small chance that we might have caught them.

“I’m super happy with that [the result], the team were awesome. They put full faith in me and I was pretty nervous coming into the race, one of the first times the team has ridden for me and in such a big race as well. I’m just happy I can pull a result off mainly for them and the team.”

Greg Van Avermaet: “I had good feelings the whole race. I think we did quite well as team to always position ourselves well in the front. On the climbs, I was able to follow the best, just in the end when the two guys went, we had almost a crash, that’s why I had to brake a little bit. Then I was in the wind trying to close it but I could not come closer, that’s also why the gap was there. I’m a little it disappointed but in the end, I think the two strongest guys went away. I tried to do as good as possible in the second group hoping it would come back but they were super strong so they deserved to be on the podium. I’m quite happy with the race. I was happy I was in a good position on the Poggio because that’s important. A top ten place is not so bad in Milano – Sanremo. Today was much more enjoyable than Strade Bianche.It’s a hectic and fast race, a really special race, hard to compare with other races. I’ve done three races now and been in the top ten three times and I think I can build on that.”

Matteo Trentin (crash victim): “Physically I’m feeling pretty bad. It’s like a truck ran over me. But the good news is that nothing is broken. So I need to heal, take my time, and get ready for the next races. There was a bottle rolling in the middle of the road and I didn’t see it. When I saw it, it was too late. My shape was good, I was feeling good at that moment, it was 200km into the race so everything was still to come but I was confident. I think I can take an easy week now and restart again.”

Caleb Ewan: “Actually the first part of the race I felt good. But when I had to go deep in the heat on the climbs, I just had nothing left in the legs. This is a disappointment. Looking forward to sprint in my next races Tour de Wallonie and TDF.”

1. Wout Van Aert Team Jumbo – Visma 07:16:09
2. Julian Alaphilippe Deceuninck-Quick Step @ 00
3. Michael Matthews Team Sunweb @ 02
4. Peter Sagan Bora-Hansgrohe
5. Giacomo Nizzolo NTT Pro Cycling Team
6. Dion Smith Mitchelton-Scott
7. Alex Aranburu Astana Pro Team
8. Greg Van Avermaet CCC Team
9. Philippe Gilbert Lotto Soudal
10. Matej Mohoric Bahrain-McLaren

13. Mathieu van der Poel Alpecin-Fenix
15. Michal Kwiatkowski Team Ineos
19. Zdenek Stybar Deceuninck-Quick Step
23. Vincenzo Nibali Trek-Segafredo
32. Ben Swift Team Ineos @ 27
39. Elia Viviani Cofidis @ 1:24
60. Sam Bennett Deceuninck-Quick Step @ 4:26
83. Alexander Kristoff UAE Team Emirates @ 6:21
95. Scott Thwaites Alpecin-Fenix @ 10:59
113. Caleb Ewan Lotto Soudal @ 13:39
133. Daniel McLay Team Arkea-Samsic @ 15:05

Full Result Here: 

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