photo credits @ Twitter
John Dengenkolb emerged victorious out of a sprint finale, to claim this year’s Milan – San Remo today.
“It’s really a fantastic moment,” a delighted Degenkolb told Rai Sport. “The race happened exactly as we hoped it would.
“I really love this place… four years in a row I’ve been here trying to win this race. I know the course, and the Via Roma, it’s special to win here. It’s amazing.”
Meanwhile, last year’s winner Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), expressed his disappointment after falling short of victory – despite a variant effort by his teammate, Luca Paolini, who did “a fantastic job” tying to set him up on the Poggio and the run-in to Via Roma.
“He gave me a big lead-out and I gave the maximum,” he said. “The last 50 meters seemed endless. I probably went from too far out.”
Today’s 293 kilometer “Spring Classic” saw a breakaway group containing Jan Barta (Bora-Argon 18); Sebastian Molano (Colombia); Maarten Tjallingii (Lotto NL-Jumbo); Andrea Peron (Novo Nordisk); Stefano Pirazzi (CSF Bardiani); Adrian Kurek (CCC Sprandi Polkowice); Matteo Bono (Lampre-Merida); Serge Pauwels (MTN-Qhubeka); Julien Berard (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Androni Giocattoli teammates Tiziano Dall’Antonia and Marco Frapporti, get underway earlier on in the race.
At midpoint in the race, the escapees had created a five minute advantage over the peloton, as they tackled the summit of the Turchino.
With 100 kilometers remaining, the breakaway group was still holding onto a five minute advantage.
However, as the race reached the 75 kilometer mark, the breakaway group’s advantage began to fall. And, a further 10 kilometers later, their lead had fallen to just around three minutes.
With 50 kilometers remaining, Team Sky and Tinkoff-Saxo were really pushing the pace back in the peloton, wherein the escpapee’s gap had fallen to around two and a half minutes. At that point, a crash briefly disrupted the chase, claiming two Katusha riders, along with Jacopo Guarnieri as its victims.
With 40 kilometers remaining, the breakaway’s gap was now down to just ninety seconds, while it continued to fall over the Capo Berta.
With the two climbs of the Cipressa and Pogio remaining, Team Sky continued to clip away at the break’s advantage. In that moment, another crash plagued the race, this time taking out Team Sky’s Salvatore Puccio’s, along with Tinkoff’s Christopher Juul Jensen, who appeared to get the worst of it.
As the race tackled the climb of the Cipressa, what remained of the day’s breakaway group had been caught by Team Sky’s Luke Rowe, Gerraint Thomas and Ben Swift, along with the Giant-Alpecin and Orica-GreenEdge squads.
Shortly thereafter, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) and Zdenek Stybar (Etixx) succeeded in bridging themselves to the leaders, while yet another crash struck the peloton – bring French champion Arnaud Demare’s (FDJ) hopes at winning to a quick end.
From there, the lead group was swallowed up by the ensuing peloton, with riders such as Julian Arredondo (Trek Factory Racing), Daniel Oss (BMC), Nathan Hass (Cannondale-Garmin) and Filippo Pozzato (Lampre) coming to the front, and taking turns leading the descent down the Cipressa.
Coming off the descent Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal) and Oss both initiated attacks of their own, with Oss subsequently opening up a slight gap. However, he was quickly marked by Thomas, who latched onto him. And, from there, they proceeded to open up a small 20-second gap.
A lack of cohesion back in the chase, allowed the duo to increase their gap to almost half a minute.
However, as the race approached the final climb of the Poggio, Katusha and Trek began to pursue the two escapees in earnest. And, as the race entered the final 10 kilometers, their lead had fallen to just 25 seconds or so.
With just 8 kilometers remaining, the chase had Oss and Thomas in their sights.
As a result, Thomas decided to attack one final time, leaving Oss behind.
With 6.5 kilometers remaining, Oss was swept up, while Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and Stybar took up the chase after Thomas.
From there, Van Avermaet went on the attack, followed by Sagan, Arredondo and Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge), while Mark Cavendish and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) fell off the pace.
At the summit of the Poggio, Thomas was still in the lead, but only with a slight advantage.
Still another crash took place, this time claiming a of number riders, to include world champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx), Tim Wellens (Lotto), Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka), Stybar and Gilbert – along the technical descent.
However, Van Avermaet managed to void the melee, quickly taking to the front – only to be joined by Sagan, Matthews, Swift, and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).
Going into the final kilometer, Thomas was still out front, while Paolini lead the chase followed by his teammate Degenkolb, Kristoff, Fabian Cancellara (Trek), Edvald Boasson Hagen (MTN-Qhubeka) and Matthews.
In the final run in to the finish, Kristoff went too soon, while Degenkolb unleashed a final acceleration during the final 100 meters to take the victory.
“At first I thought I had no chance of winning this race because the sprint went really early,” said Degenkolb.
“Kristoff was really strong but he started to sprint early and it was just a little bit too long for him. I was lucky he died just before the finish line so I managed to overtake him.”
Matthews was disappointed to take third on the day, but credited his teammates for keeping him in the thick of things.
“It was a pretty cold and wet day today but we did what we had to do,” Matthews said. “As you could see on the Cipressa and Poggio climbs I had really good legs today so I am a little bit disappointed in the final.
“I guess I have got to believe that it’s Milano-Sanremo and it’s my first attempt at going for a result here, so I have to be positive about that. I’m really thankful for the team in believing in me and helping me deliver this result.”
Milan-San Remo 2015 Results
GER 1 DEGENKOLB, John (GIANT – ALPECIN) 6:46:16
NOR 2 KRISTOFF, Alexander (KATUSHA)
AUS 3 MATTHEWS, Michael (ORICA GreenEDGE)
SVK 4 SAGAN, Peter (TINKOFF – SAXO)
ITA 5 BONIFAZIO, Niccolo (LAMPRE – MERIDA)
FRA 6 BOUHANNI, Nacer (COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS)
SUI 7 CANCELLARA, Fabian (TREK FACTORY RACING)
ITA 8 CIMOLAI, Davide (LAMPRE – MERIDA)
FRA 9 GALLOPIN, Tony (LOTTO SOUDAL)
NOR 10 BOASSON HAGEN, Edvald (MTN – QHUBEKA)
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