photo credits @ Milan – San Remo
Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) triumphed in today’s Milan-San Remo, after the Dutch rider commenced an explosive attack along the summit of the Poggio, quickly distancing Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers), Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) to claim a solo victory 62 years after his grandfather Raymond Poulidor won the 52nd Edition of La Primavera.
“I knew I wanted to place an attack at the end of the Poggio. I managed to find a small gap between Pogačar and the wall. This is one of the races I really wanted to win. The way I won it today is beyond expectation, I’m really happy with this one. I was really focused already on this race since I started training again after [cyclo-cross] Worlds. Tirreno[-Adriatico] wasn’t as good as I expected, but I knew that I needed some race days to get to my best level and today, this was my best level, I think,” said a jubilant van der Poel.
Alois Charrin (Tudor Pro Cycling Team), Aleksandr Riabushenko (Astana Qazaqstan Team), Samuele Rivi and Mirco Maestri (EOLO-Kometa), Haylu Abrega (Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team), Jan Maas and Alexandre Balmer (Team Jayco AlUla), Samuele Zoccarato and Alessandro Tonelli (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè) marked the day’s first breakaway effort, jettisoning the peloton within the first few kilometers.
However, by the time the escapees reached the Mediterranean Sea, their advantage was halved, as the race headed toward the fabled Cipressa.
Upon reaching foot of the penultimate climb, UAE Team Emirates bulldozed their way to the front on behalf of Pogačar, while the last of the escapees were reined-in.
However, no one was brave enough to attack on the Cipressa, with van der Poel being the first to crest the climb, followed by a skillful descent.
An audacious, and ultimately short-lived, attack from Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe) followed on the flat, while Bahrain Victorious increased the pace at the base of the Poggio, with reigning champion Matej Mohorič in tow.
Pogačar was later delivered to the front by his teammate Tim Wellens (UAE Team Emirates), subsequently initiating an attacked as the climb ramped up, with the only van der Poel, Van Aert and Ganna able to respond to the Slovenian rider’s aggressions.
With 5.5 kilometers to go, van der Poel executed a furious attack, quickly drawing out a gap for himself.
From there, the Dutchman crested the Poggio with an advantage of just a few seconds, picking his line carefully on the descent to further distance his rivals.
As he raced under the flamme rouge, it was clear that victory was within his grasp, leaving the three chasers to vie for the remaining podium positions as they raced along the Via Roma, with Ganna and van Aert finishing second and third.
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