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"After the crash, I was ready to throw in the towel to be honest. I said to myself: ‘It's over.' I thought it was gone. But then my directeur sportif came past in the car and said not to panic because Matthews had crashed...

Photo: A.S.O.

AG2R LA MONDIALE

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19.03.2016 @ 22:54 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Arnaud Demare (FDJ) delivered one of the most remarkable rides in recent years to come back from a crash to claim the biggest win of his career in a bunch sprint at Milan-Sanremo. Having hit the deck in the hectic phase just before the Cipressa climb, he rejoined the peloton in time for the key climb of the Poggio and made it over the top with the best before coming out on top in a hectic and chaotic bunch sprint that was marred by a crash for Fernando Gaviria (Etixx-QuickStep). Ben Swift (Sky) had to settle for second while Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Soudal) completed the podium.

 

We have gathered several reactions.

 

Arnaud Demare: I thought it was over

"This is incredible,” Demare said. “There are days like this one in which everything works despite the occasional hiccup, like crashing at the bottom of the Cipressa. I made it across at the bottom of the Poggio and the entire way I felt fantastic. I became the under-23 world champion in similar conditions after crashing. I'm delighted to win Milano-Sanremo. This is a big one and has been running for over a century. It's extraordinary. I'm extremely happy.

 

"After the crash, I was ready to throw in the towel to be honest. I said to myself: ‘It's over.' I thought it was gone. But then my directeur sportif came past in the car and said not to panic because Matthews had crashed too and there were more riders chasing back on. I was on their wheel and went really fast. With me I had also Bonnet who helped me to the bottom, then Ladagnous and Konovalovas on the descent and again Ladagnous and Reza to lead me to the bottom of the Poggio. At that point I thought I had already used a lot of energy, so I tried to save as much as I could on the Poggio, dropping back a bit. Then I had only two kilometers to get back and take the victory.

 

"I got back on right at the foot of the Poggio, but I thought I'd used up all my energy but sometimes you just have days where everything smiles on you. A day of grace, so to speak.

 

“William Bonnet was along. I had great legs on the Cipressa and successively I found my team-mates, Matthieu Ladagnous, Kevin Reza and Ignatas Konovalovas, who replaced in extremis at the foot of the Poggio.

 

“I thought I had lost a lot of energy but I climbed the Poggio very well despite my efforts. But everyone was cooked and I had nothing to lose. I launched my sprint from far out as usual. I had lost track of how the race unfolded so I wasn’t too sure if all the attackers had been caught, but the cars ahead of the race helped me to understand that I was sprinting for the win.

 

“I really thought I had spent too much energy on Cipressa and Poggio, but then I started the sprint from far away and felt the legs going well

 

 

“Everyone was worn out. I launched the sprint from far out as I like. At one point, I was a bit lost. I had lost track of the race, I was wondering if there were someone in front. 

 

“I thought it would have taken me more experience to win Milan-Sanremo, one of the five classics that all cyclists dream of winning.

 

"I don't know if Gaviria's crash changed anything, but in the end, today the sprint was the way it was. It's just part of cycling. I mean, I fell before the Cipressa. At Paris-Roubaix the other year, I punctured with 30 kilometres to go. At Flanders I've had chain problems in the past. When everyone is tired at the end of a race like that, there are always mistakes.

 

"I think we were in a mano a mano at that point, but I don't know if I'd passed Bouhanni before his problem or not, I was just focused on chasing down Roelandts. I know you all want to see this as being an Arnaud versus Nacer story but that's not how it is. He's a very good rider with great qualities. People tend to pit us against one another, but I'm not too worried about what he did today or in the future."

 

“I think winning Milan-San Remo is already enough. But it's superb for French cycling to win this race. There are five Monuments in cycling and now I've won one of them. That's already something very special.

 

"I'm proud to be able to show the public that my work pays off. I've worked a lot without getting the results I might have deserved, but in this early part of 2016, everything is coming off for me.

 

“There are days when everything smiles. Last year was not my year, I had a lot of problems, but I had no doubt that I was improving  up. The fruits of two years of work arrived today. I'm really happy.

 

"This win won't change a lot for me, my ambitions for Paris-Roubaix will be the same. But it might change something for the team. When I start a race like that I aim to win it. The team is already strong physically, but this win will give everybody a lot of mental strength too.


“You don’t hear the Marseillaise often at the races. It gave me very great memories. From my father who took me to training and my girlfriend who always helps me and believes in me. A few days ago I left Nice doubtful about Sanremo. I also think about my physical therapist who helped me. On days when everything goes well we must also thank all these people.

 

“It’s the second year we have returned to this mythical finish at the end of a legendary course. It's definitely the best win so far.

 

“When I was a neo-pro I got victories within my reach and then I won some of the WorldTour races. I had difficult moments, especially last year when I could not express myself. This year's work is really paying off at Paris-Nice and here. Some are perhaps surprised, but I never had any doubts about my abilities, I have always improved and I always worked hard.


““I believe more and more in the classics. Now I do not doubt my abilities. It is really extraordinary, the team is growing so much with a group of young people.

 

“I chose to join the WorldTour at a young age and I went through difficult times. Last year, I took big knocks. I worked hard without the expected results. In 2016 everything finally smiles. 

 

“I think I had a first breakthrough when I was world champion and I hope to get a psychological benefit. Winning Milan-Sanremo will open lots of doors and it also changes the team that is in progress. We will be even stronger in the head.

 

 

Ben Swift: My second place shows that Milan-Sanremo is a race for me

Ben Swift sprinted to a magnificent second place at Milan-San Remo after the Monument Classic came down to a breathless finish.

 

Team Sky attacked multiple times in the closing stages, but as the longest one-day race in cycling concluded in a bunch kick, it was the Yorkshireman who had the strength left in his legs to secure a second podium at La Primavera.

 

Despite having to swerve in the final metres to avoid a crash Swift was still able to lock onto the wheel of Arnaud Demare (FDJ), but was just unable to come around the Frenchman at the line.

 

Team Sky's best Monument result to date came as a result of a huge team effort, with Ian Stannard and Michal Kwiatkowski both attacking out of the peloton during the race's famous undulating finale.

 

Kwiatkowski launched a rousing move with six kilometres to go on the Poggio, cresting the climb with and taking a slender advantage onto the fast, switchback descent. With the big names behind starting to look at one another it looked good briefly for the Pole, but a surge from Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) saw him caught tantalizingly in sight of the flamme rouge.

 

Team Sky had kept their powder dry for much of the mammoth event, sitting in the pack before moving forward in a nervy peloton on the approach to the decisive climbs. Despite riding up front Geraint Thomas' bad luck in the Monuments continued, with the Welshman taken down in a crash on the approach to the Cipressa with 30km to go.

 

Pete Kennaugh was also caught up in the sizeable spill, which also held up Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) and eventual race winner Demare.

 

Stannard moved to the fore on the Cipressa, jumping on the attack of Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) to go clear in a dangerous move. More riders bridged to the duo but the break was caught just ahead of the Poggio.

 

It was Luke Rowe who then led Team Sky and a larger than normal peloton onto the climb, with the sprinters' teams quickly looking to control the pace. After being tee'd up by Swift, Kwiatkowski launched his move, hurtling full speed down the descent that ended his race 12 months previous.

 

Everything came back together inside the final kilometre, with Swift coming from deep to suddenly be right in contention on the Via Roma, pulling off a superb podium finish, barely a metre away from an elusive Monument victory.

 

Standing behind the podium for the second time in three seasons, Swift admitted that coming so close to the victory was a bittersweet moment.

 

"Obviously it's quite disappointing to get second - so close to the win," he told TeamSky.com. "That said I've got to be happy and I'm back on the podium in a Monument. I'm slowly chipping away. We've had a second, a third and we'll keep on trying in the next few years. 

 

"The team was brilliant today. We wanted to make it an attacking race and we had a super strong team

Unfortunately we lost Pete (Kennaugh) and Geraint (Thomas) in that crash. It was a super stressful day and we lost a lot of horsepower there. But we wanted to try to attack and Michal Kwiatkowski did a brilliant job in the finale, he put a lot of pressure on the guys to chase. We rode a great attacking race and we did what we wanted to do. When Ian went on the Cipressa it set it up perfectly. Then Michal went on the Poggio so we couldn't have done it any better.

 

"I just tried to stay as relaxed as possible in the last kilometre and I tried to follow Jurgen Roelandts. Last year I think I stressed a little bit too much. This year I was a bit more relaxed. I was close to a crash at the finish there but it is what it is.

 

"I keep trying to win Milan-Sanremo; it’s a great race for me and my favourite classic. We wanted to make it an attacking race. We had a strong team but, unfortunately, Geraint Thomas got caught in one of the crashes. There was a pile-up and we lost it there, really. Michal Kwiatkowski unleashed a great attack toward the finish, putting pressure on the guys to chase. He nearly pulled it off.

 

“I was disappointed to not get the win but, at the end of the day, it’s a very good position. There’s not much else I could have done. Arnaud Démare is a fantastic sprinter.

 

“I think it’s a harder feeling really. At the moment I kind of feel… not flat, but not overjoyed, because second place is perhaps one of the worst places you can finish. But I’m happy to be back on the podium. Arnaud Démare’s a fantastic sprinter and to get second to him is… we’ll keep trying.

 

“Everything was perfect. I stayed as hidden as possible, I didn’t do anything. I think the only time you’d have seen me was in the last 200 metres, which was what I wanted to do really.

 

“I think I played it really calm in the finish. Last year I was really nervous and I wasted a lot of energy and I paid for that. Luckily I just avoided the crash with Gaviria and other than that, there wasn’t anything else I could have done really. I’ll have to watch it back and see.

 

“I was third in 2014, 13th last year and second this year. Obviously to get second is one of the worst places to get because you’re so close to victory. But I’m kind of happy. I’m second to Arnaud Démare who’s a brilliant sprinter. I think this shows that it’s a race for me, with the results I’ve had in this race so hopefully I’ve got a few more years to keep trying.

 

"We knew we were not favorites in this race so we wanted to make an aggressive race. Unfortunately, Geraint Thomas fell, Peter Kennaugh too, and it became difficult to make the attacks. It was not as offensive as hoped but we were where we wanted to be. 

 

"It was a good race. Obviously it's always disappointing not to get the win, but I think that after 300km, you have to be satisfied with the race. Arnaud Démare is a fantastic sprinter and he proved he was the best. 

 

“Tomorrow I will go to Catalonia to help Chris Froome to go for the overall and I hope to try my luck to get a stage win. I really want to have a successful future.”

 

Michael Kwiatkowski: We had a few ways to try to win

Eventually crossing the line on his own in 40th, Kwiatkowski was painfully aware how close he'd come to staying away.

 

"I attacked and tried to gain an advantage before the descent," he confirmed. "I was going full gas to the finish. I think we can be happy with second place with Ben. It was a really difficult, nervous last 50-60 kilometres.

 

"The race really starts before the Capis. Everyone was trying to get to the front, and with the weather this year the whole bunch were there fighting.

 

"We all committed to go for the win. I was not too far away at the end. Stannard was in a great move on the Cipressa, I was there on the Poggio and then Swifty was waiting for the sprint.

 

"We had a few ways to try and win the race and that is what Milan-San Remo is all about. You have to try with a few options as sometimes there are crashes and you don't know what is going to happen or control the situation.

 

“My goal was to attack on the Poggio and be first on the descent, and even to be solo, but we all knew that it's better to have someone in the front like me and then have Swift waiting in the back for the sprint. That worked out pretty much.

 

"I had a good advantage at the top. But alone, it was very complicated. We lost Geraint (Thomas) before the Cipressa. With him and Peter Kennaugh, we could have pushed harder to explode the peloton. We did our best. I tried to attack and get alone to the finish We knew that there was also Ben (Swift) in the peloton and he was close to Démare.”

 

Jurgen Roelandts: With 50m to go, I thought I had won

For Lotto Soudal Tony Gallopin tried to attack twice among others but he never got a big advantage. Eventually a sprint with a small group took place. After almost 300 kilometres Jürgen Roelandts went full gas but he was passed by Arnaud Demare. Ben Swift sprinted to the second place. Roelandts obtained a very nice third place in this Primavera.

 

“I was a bit disappointed just after the finish because I was in pole position at about 30 metres from the finish,” Roelandts said. “But I’m very happy with this podium place of course.

 

“It was a hectic sprint because everyone was isolated except for our team; Jens Debusschere was still in the group. Gaviria crashed just before me, he rode against the wheel of Greg Van Avermaet. I managed to avoid the crash and I decided to sprint immediately. Last year I started a bit too late so I finished eleventh. I’m happy that I took the initiative and that delivers a very nice third place.

 

“My legs felt really good during the race, I had no troubles on the Cipressa and the Poggio. The team did a tremendously good job by taking me to the finale in the way they did. Tony Gallopin said that he would try to attack in the finale. If that wouldn’t work, we would participate in the sprint.

 

“It’s difficult to compare this performance with other results such as my second place in Harelbeke a few years ago or my third place in the Ronde van Vlaanderen. But it’s very nice to obtain a podium place in Milano-Sanremo.

 

"At Tirreno-Adriatico I was feeling better and better every day. I was eighth on the last stage, which boosted my confidence. I’ve enjoyed a good winter preparation. Over the Cipressa and the Poggio I felt I still had a lot of strength in my legs and showed it in the sprint, launching from far out. It was my only chance to do something and it’s a pity that Démare passed me at the end. I have mixed feelings – I’m very happy with my result but winning a Monument would have been even more chic.”

 

"In the final I asked Debusschere to drop me at the wheel of Bouhanni. Last year I waited too long in the sprint, and I was trapped and ended up eleventh," he said to Sporza. "That was a mistake I did not want to make again.

 

"I thought: either they will pass me, so be it, or not and I win Milano-Sanremo. 50 meters from the finish I thought I would make it, but it was unfortunately just not. I was beaten by two riders who were faster but not stronger.

 

"I knew there was wind on the Poggio and it would be complicated to make a difference. I was still there with Jens Debusschere and Tony Gallopin in the top 15 at the top of the Poggio. At the briefing yesterday, I was told that if it ended in a sprint, it would be for me. Debusschere positioned me well in the last kilometer and then there was a problem, someone crashed. I saw that everyone hesitated a little. I went a little early and there was a headwind. But last year I waited too long and was eleventh. This year I thought less and I was third. Tonight I'll be happy, but now my feelings are still mixed.

 

"Milan-San Remo is a race where you have to stay well protected, take the least amount of wind. I had a good team with Marcel Sieberg who is really great and protects us well from the wind. I just had to wait until the Poggio and see the state of my legs. I decided to wait for the sprint and not to attack. It was the right choice today. There was a lot of tension, especially before the Cipressa. Everyone was fresh, the start was not very hard. I think the position was important and I managed to stay in front, so half the job was done.

 

"I'm wavering between disappointment and satisfaction, but I think I will be still mostly satisfied tonight. I've already been on the podium of the E3, the Ronde and Sanremo. I would love to get the win in such a great race. I have to thank the whole team because they really rode completely in my service. On the Cipressa and the Poggio I had a lot left."

 

"I gave an excellent signal. Sanremo is a race that I really like, and in the last three years I was always in the first group but something went wrong in the sprint.  Today I did not hesitate and I started from afar . There was a headwind, but I managed to get third place. At first I was disappointed, but I think I'll go to bed happy tonight.

 

"This third place is a good omen for the classics. I will take part in my first Flemish race at E3 Harelbeke, then I will go to Gent-Wevelgem. I have five days to recover. I was second in Harelbeke in 2011. I will try to get a victory in the coming weeks. The condition is good, the team is good and I am happy to start the classics period well.”

 

Marc Sergeant, Lotto Soudal manager, said: 

 

“We expected that the race would explode after 240 or 250 kilometres. Tony Gallopin tried to attack but there were too many riders in the peloton. After that we decided to go for our strongest and fastest rider and today that appeared to be Jürgen. He did a very good job. The whole team did his job at the right moments, in that way we obtain a nice podium place.

 

"We started here with two leaders. Tony Gallopin could get his chance to attack, Jürgen was our man in the sprint. Tony was not successful, then it was Jurgen. He had a lot of support from Jens Debusschere in the final. Jurgen is fast, but in recent years it did not always show. I'm happy for him that he is now third. He did a perfect race. The whole team did its thing at the right time, resulting in a nice podium finish.

 

“Jürgen wasn’t named as a favourite before the race. In my opinion, this has something to do with the fact that Tiesj Benoot got a lot of attention. In that way, Jürgen was able to prepare himself entirely for the Spring Classics. Despite the misfortune we had the past few weeks, we were able to ride a few nice results. And a podium place in a monument is certainly a good thing!”  

 

The dream becomes a nightmare for Nacer Bouhanni in Sanremo

Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) had a chain problem just as he was about to start his sprint and had to settle for fourth.

 

“I haven’t had a chance to talk to Nacer, he’s just arrived at the bus,” manager Yvon Sanquer told Cyclingnews. “It seems that he had a mechanical problem when he launched his sprint but we don’t know any more than that.

 

 

“The whole team worked very well. We took on our responsibility by putting a rider on the front to ride behind the break. We were well-placed for the win. To finish fourth after a mishap like that, it brings a great many regrets."

 

"This is the worst scenario we could think of," he told L'Equipe. "I saw Nacer being totally dejected. He has not given a detailed explanation of the mechanical problem. He was going for the win, he was able to win. It is frustrating.

 

"Everyone is in a state of shock. The dream becomes a nightmare. All the work, all the sacrifices vanish. When it comes to cycling, you can find explanations and correct the work. But with this ... Right now, I do not know what to say. It is even harder than last year at the French Championships."

 

Bouhanni was set to do the Volta a Catalunya but there is now doubt. "He is not to ready to go. We'll see what we do, what is best. He has to recover psychologically," said Sanquer.

 

“It’s too soon for that. To miss out on a victory like that, it’s very hard to get over. We’ll have to do that in due time, of course, but right now, the disappointment is winning out over everything else. Afterwards, we can look at the positive things from the day, but right now it’s just very hard to accept.”

 

Bouhanni: I felt I was going to win

“I went over the summit of the Cipressa in the first 20 and then went over the Poggio in the first 15 or 20. I reached the sprint in the ideal position – I was third coming out of the last bend,” Bouhanni told L'Equipe.

 

“And then, suddenly, my chain dropped. It jumped from the big ring to the little ring. In all honestly, I felt I was going to win, I had done the perfect sprint. Everything was in place for me to win. I can’t understand what happened. I was saying to myself that it wasn’t possible that that had happened to me at that moment, in that place… when victory was reaching out to me.

 

“I was so disappointed I did hesitate to go to Catalonia, but I moved on from that. I also spoke with my father. He tried to comfort me, but there’s not a lot you can say about a situation like that… You have to keep your morale up as clearly there are a lot worse things in life.”

 

Greg Van Avermaet: It’s a good feeling to beat the other Classics riders

Greg Van Avermaet has crossed the line in fifth place in a bunch sprint at the first monument of the season, Milan-San Remo.

 

“Fifth place is a good result but as you know when you do a bike race you go for the win. It was a pretty hectic Milan-San Remo. I went with Edvald Boasson-Hagen and made the decision to wait a bit longer for my sprint. It all comes down to seconds and the others came from behind with more speed,” Van Avermaet explained.

 

“It’s a good feeling to be in front of the other Classics favorites. I’m pretty happy with my shape and how the race went. The guys did a really good job for me. They positioned me well on Cipressa and the Poggio and then it was up to me to get the best result possible and that’s what we did.

 

"It was not easy to drive because there were still a lot of people in the group. It was not really worth to try something on the Poggio. I wanted to focus everything on my sprint,” he told Sporza.

 

“Everything went well, but Boasson Hagen could have been continued a little longer. If he had continued a little further, then I could start 300 meters from the finish.

 

"I had to wait a while and then you know that there is a risk they will come back. Bouhanni then had a gear problem so I had to just avoid him in the sprint.

 

"Oh, I'm pleased with the progress. Everyone was reasonably fresh in the final. This was not really a tough Milan-Sanremo. It was an issue for the sprinters."

 

BMC Racing Team Sports Director Valerio Piva said the team did an excellent job of supporting Van Avermaet.

 

“Our plan for today was of course to go for the win with Greg. We planned to stay up there at the front and respond to any attacks on the Poggio, to stay calm and really put him in a good position in the final part of the race,” Piva said.

 

“Greg did a great job. He responded to Boasson Hagen’s attack in the final two kilometers and held his wheel to form a gap but eventually it all came back together. It was a nervous and hectic sprint. Greg had the legs today to do better, but it’s Milan-San Remo and you can never control what happens. In the end he was the best placed of the top favorites and I’m really proud of the team’s work today.”

 

Van Avermaet’s fifth place has elevated him to second place in the UCI WorldTour rankings, behind Richie Porte.

 

Frustrated Kristoff out of position in Sanremo sprint: I have never felt so good

Clear skies and warm temperatures greeted the peloton on Saturday’s 107th Milano-Sanremo with Team KATUSHA’s 2014 champion Alexander Kristoff looking to secure another win in the cycling monument. But difficulty in positioning and the loss of a key rider put Kristoff too far back to win and saw the Norwegian take sixth in the group sprint behind surprise winner Arnaud Démare of FDJ.

 

“I feel frustrated about the race because I was feeling good. We missed the last corner – I knew we needed to be in the top five places but we were at least 10 back. It was too far at that point, plus then came the crash so I lost it there,” said team sprinter Alexander Kristoff.

 

A crash with less than 500 m to go disrupted the sprint and put Kristoff a little behind as the front riders opened up at 200 m to the line. A surprised Démare took the win ahead of Sky’s Ben Swift and Jurgen Roelandts of Lotto Soudal after almost seven hours of racing on the 293 km course which included the famous climbs of the Cipressa at 27 km to go and the Poggio with only 9 km to go.

 

“I actually felt the best I’ve ever felt when we came over the Poggio. With the warm weather I was expecting many attacks and we did see that, but there were also more guys there to close it down. It was a hard race of course, but the good weather made it easier compared to other times. With Marco there it would have been easier for us, especially as we would try to come to the front. It could have made a difference. It’s frustrating to lose because of bad positioning instead of losing on the line,” concluded Kristoff, referring to a crash with 32 km to go that took down teammate Marco Haller.

 

“It went perfect until the last kilometer. There was great work all day from the team. First with Sergey Lagutin until km 140 – he fully controlled the difference to the breakaway. After that the team riders kept good position, always protecting Alex. We passed the hills before the Cipressa always in the front. Unfortunately just before the Cipressa there was a crash and we lost Marco, but the other riders were still right there with Alex, especially between the Cipressa and the Poggio, they were always near the front. On the downhill of the Poggio Alex was still in the middle and there were some attacks. It’s here that we missed Marco Haller. I think without the crash Marco would have been right there at the front,” assessed team director José Azevedo.

 

“Michael Mørkøv did a great job before Cipressa and between the climbs. We also saw Simon Špilak, Angel Vicioso and Sven Erik Bystrøm working in the earlier climbs. Jacopo Guarnieri was also helping but we missed Marco in the final. He was the rider that we’d planned would stay with Alex in the end. Alex had to start his sprint too far and there was a crash close to the finish line, at 500 m to go so he had to brake and go around. He had to come from the back. I hope the next race will bring us better luck,”  concluded Azevedo.

 

Heinrich Haussler: Today I was rewarded for all my sacrifices

“I am very, very happy,” Heinrich Haussler declared shortly after having secured a terrific 7th place in the 107th edition of Milan-San Remo.  “I really received unconditional support from the team in this nervous final that was marked by many crashes.  I am very grateful to Vicente Reynes who used his vast experience to place me in the right position at the right time.  It would have been hard to do better under these conditions.  This top-10 place will remain an excellent memory for me, and above all will give me the sort of confidence I need for the rest of the classics.”

 

The 32 year old Australian who is the dad of twins found himself back on the center stage after having passed two subdued seasons. 

 

“I have matured and focused on my work all winter.  I really worked to clear my mind of all those disappointments of the past years.  Today, I feel my efforts and sacrifices have been rewarded.  I don’t intend to stop here, since I am always thinking about the coming races.”

 

 “We had two objectives this morning before the departure: to put one of our riders in the breakaway and to finish in the top-10,” Mario Chiesa, IAM Cycling directeur sportif explained after the race.  “Roger Kluge, although suffering from a fever, found the strength to join the right escape group, and managed to stay off the front until the Cipressa.  And then to top it all off, we had Heinrich Haussler grabbing himself a nice 7th place.  Though we can say with a certain amount of satisfaction that we accomplished our mission today, we were of course dreaming of the victory as well.”

 

Roger Kluge sacrificed himself for the team and has shown incredible strength of character. Still suffering from flu-like symptoms before the start, the silver medalist in the omnium on the track in the recent world championships, spent more than 260 kilometers at the front of the race along with 10 other riders.  The maximum time advantage that the escapees enjoyed was over eleven minuets.

 

Filippo Pozzato best Italian with 8th place in Sanremo

Filippo Pozzato sprinted to 8th for the Southeast team.

 

“I’m often critical of Pippo but I’m proud of his and the team’s performance in Milan-San Remo,” directeur sportif Luca Scinto told Cyclingnews.

 

“He worked really hard in recent weeks and showed he could compete with the best despite not riding Tirreno. That’s impressive. He, Fedi and all the young guys in the team rode well and everyone finished.”

 

“Fedi was actually hoping to go on the Cipressa but couldn't find a way through when Stannard and Visconti went, so he went on the Poggio. That takes balls and great form to do it and it was a real pity that none of the big-name riders went with him, otherwise we could have seen a very different finale to Milan-San Remo.”

 

Disappointed Sonny Colbrelli after 9th place in Sanremo: I had the legs to do better

Sonny Colbrelli confirmed his feeling with Milano-Sanremo. On the finish line in Via Roma, the Bardiani-CSF leader took 9th place. A positive result in a hard and important Classic, but it leaves a bitter taste in Colbrelli’s mouth.

 

“I finished in the first group again but I had no opportunity to play my chances in the final sprint. Honestly, I’m disappointed,” said Colbrelli.

 

“It was a very good situation and I was feeling good. I’m pretty sure I could take a better result, but I couldn’t do nothing against bad luck. Gaviria crashed in front of my wheel and I was lucky I was not involved. In that situation, with 300 km in the legs, it was almost impossible to restart the sprint. I have to accept this result, but’ I’m not happy”.

 

Only looking to the whole performance, Colbrelli could be satisfied. “I had the proof I’m in good shape. In view of the Belgian races, it’s an encouraging signal. During next week I’ll work to keep the form. And to forget today’s result”.

 

Besides Colbrelli’s top 10, the #GreenTeam can be happy with the performance of Mirco Maestri who rode in the early breakaway until 25km to the finish.

 

Fernando Gaviria in tears: It was my own fault

Well-placed inside the final 500 meters, Fernando Gaviria crashed and missed out on the opportunity to fight for the win at the season's first Monument.

 

Etixx-QuickStep had lots of bad luck. At the foot of Cipressa, it was crashes galore, among those involved being Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge), Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), Alan Marangoni (Cannondale), Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff) and Julien Vermote. The 26-year-old Belgian sustained a deep wound in his left knee and was taken to the Sanremo hospital, where the medical staff took care of him and cleaned his wound. Tonight, he will go back to his home country, where on Sunday he'll undergo further examinations to determine the nature of his injury.

 

The last 500 meters were chaotic and tense, as almost all the riders coming into the run-in were ahead of their biggest victory to date. Etixx – Quick-Step had three men there: Gianluca Brambilla, Matteo Trentin and Fernando Gaviria. The Colombian neo-pro was well-placed for the sprint, but unfortunately he hit the deck and couldn't fight for victory.

 

Best placed Etixx – Quick-Step rider in Milan-Sanremo was Matteo Trentin, who came home in 10th place. Gaviria arrived a couple of minutes later, while Zdenek Stybar concluded the season's first Monument almost one quarter of an hour behind the winner, because he too was struck by bad luck on Saturday. The Czech, winner of a Tirreno-Adriatico stage last week, was on the Cipressa descent when he crashed because of a loose dog and although he climbed back on the bike, he couldn't return to the peloton.

 

Victorious in three races this season, the 21-year-old Fernando Gaviria experienced the toughest day of his pro career, one in which he came very close to a huge result, but was eventually left in tears. Despite the crash, which saw his effort come to an abrupt end, Gaviria was keen on taking the positive things out of this race:

 

"I am very sad for what happened. It was my fault, as I was in a perfect position, but then I lost my focus for two seconds, because I began thinking on how to sprint, and touched Van Avermaet's wheel. This was enough to throw away all the hard work of the team. I have mixed feelings: I missed an important opportunity, but on the other hand I am happy that I could cope with a 300-km long race and felt good throughout the day. It's not the crash that hurts, but the outcome, especially as I was thinking of this race since January.

 

 "I was unlucky twice,” Tom Boone said. “On the Cipressa they crashed in front of me, and I was in last position. That cost me a lot of energy. On the Poggio they crashed again uphill. That's because everyone was still fresh after a race that was not so difficult which increased the nervousness. Teammate Gaviria then also crashed on the Via Roma. It was not easy for us today. "

 

"Tactically, the team was flawless. We had three guys at the front in the final kilometers, and we could have had four, if not for Styby's crash. Brambilla was a key rider there, as was Matteo, who closed the gap twice, once on the Poggio and once when Cancellara attacked. We didn't get the result we were hoping for, but everyone could see that the team was strong and could adapt to all kind of situations. Fernando came really close to writting history today, and even though he didn't win, other opportunities will come for him, as he has a very bright future ahead", concluded sport director Davide Bramati.

 

Vincenzo Nibali: I tried to do what I do best

“I attacked in the final part of the Poggio and then on the subsequent descent. The speed was so high and it was impossible to create a gap to the chasing riders. Anyway I’m satisfied and I have no regrets,” explained Vincenzo Nibali after the finish line.

 

"I tried on the final descent of the Poggio, but the speed was really high and it was difficult to make an action. I'm not fast so I could not invent more than that.

 

“My intention was to make the move and get a gap on Cancellara get it but he was always there it was difficult to make real action. I tried to do what I do best. You know that it was a race where I could not do much more.

 

"The race pace was always very high and this is a very long race where it is also difficult to establish the right strategy. I do not speak of my race, but I mean in general, and as you can see it was won by a young and talented rider who was not one of the favorites. That’s how Sanremo is.

 

Astana sports director Stefano Zanini said: “The team worked as planned before the start. We started to increase the speed at the start of the Cipressa to make some selection. Then we thought that the Poggio could create more selection, the speed was so high but all the riders were compact.”

 

After a couple of attacks by Vincenzo Nibali on Poggio, the first Astana pro Team athlete was European Champion Luis Leon Sanchez who was eleventh on Via Roma.

 

Late crash destroys everything for Peter Sagan in Sanremo

As the first Monument of the season, the racing at the 107th Milano-Sanremo was always going to be fast and frenetic. In a race that saw strong efforts from the team to deliver Peter Sagan to Sanremo, a crash a few hundred metres before the finish threw the World Champion off his line and saw him come in outside the top ten.

 

In a race like Milano-Sanremo, the outcome is never going to be certain. While the course was flat by the standards of other races, the fact that the race takes place over a 291km route means anything can happen – especially over the race’s final climbs, the Cipressa and the infamous Poggio, where riders will be on the edge of exhaustion. The longest one-day race in the world, ‘La Classicissima’ was made 4km longer after a mudslide forced the race’s organisers to divert the route.

 

As was expected, a breakaway formed early on, but in a race like Milano-Sanremo, the teams know how unlikely it is for a break to stick. 45km before the finish and just before the ascent of the Capo Berta, Tinkoff, who had already been controlling the race from its start, upped the pace to bring the break in, ultimately catching them on the Cipressa with 25km to go.

 

The breakaway caught, the big names started to attack, looking to create some ground on the peloton before the Poggio in the hope their attacks might stick. While the attacks came thick and fast, Tinkoff kept their heads and worked to bring their team leader to the top of the Poggio before starting the long downhill to the finish – a move that put Peter Sagan in the bunch for the final sprint. With just a few hundred metres remaining, a crash in front of Sagan forced him to deviate from his line as the bunch sprint started.

 

"As I have always said the Milano-Sanremo is unpredictable and that's why I find it futile to talk about my goals two-three days in advance.” said Peter Sagan after the race. “I did my best, the squad did a very good job but that's racing.”

 

Giving some insight into the last kilometres, Sagan continued. “When Fabian attacked, I said to the others that if we let him go, the Milano-Sanremo is over. I think I was the only one able to catch him and then we broke away with Boasson Hagen, Gaviria and then, I think, Trentin. With 400-500 meters to go, Gaviria turned to check upon the group that was coming from behind and fell. That was it. I barely avoided crashing myself but I lost so much speed that I was unable to catch up in the closing 300 metres. That's why, even if you are in excellent form, a race will never be easy."

 

Sport Director, Patxi Villa, had high hopes for the team after a strong performance during the earlier stages of the race.

 

“It’s a real shame, but we did everything that we could have done today. Until the first big crash everything was going well for us. We took control of the race from the beginning, with Manuele Boaro doing an amazing job, pulling for 240kms. Everything was under control.”

 

The team had been riding strongly throughout the day, protecting their leader and making sure he was where he needed to be. Vila continued.

 

“But then Daniele Bennati was involved in the crash. He was the guy who we had planned to bring the guys to Poggio, and then it was Roman Kreuziger and Oscar Gatto to go from there. But Roman had to take his place to the climb, leaving only Oscar for the Poggio.”

 

After the race, Oscar Gatto, who had played an important role in getting Sagan to the top of the Poggio, said:

 

"As I said a few days ago, victory is made of a number of components and luck is one of them. Unfortunately, this component is taking time to come. We will stay focused on the path we have been so far. The team is performing well and I'm convinced the results will come. The beautiful but unfortunate fact about the Milano-Sanremo is that it remains wide open. We are strong, Peter is strong but again we need a bit of luck. We will keep fighting and I think that before mid April we will get the result we look forward to."

 

Vila was quick to praise the team for their efforts throughout the race.

 

“They all did a fantastic job regardless, and at the end when Peter had to respond to the attacks he was in control. But after almost seven hours of racing you can lose everything in just 300m. When the crash at the end happened the sprint was opening up on the other side of the road and Peter’s chances were over. But I have to say that the guys did a fantastic job today. Everyone was 200% committed to executing the plan and doing what we had to do. Today we were unlucky.”

 

Jan Bakelants taken out of contention by late crash

Jan Bakelants was the Ag2r leader but he was involved in an early crash and had to settle for a minor place.

 

“I felt good and hoped for more, but lost my best cards in one of many crashes,” he tweeted after the race.

 

Tom-Jelte Slagter: Milan-Sanremo could be a race for me

Tom-Jelte Slagter in 14th was the best Cannondale rider.

 

"My goal was to be with the best on the Cipressa and the Poggio and I succeeded," he told NOS. “You can’t move on the final downhill and you have to choose the right position. It was chaotic. If I was positioned slightly better, I could have finished my sprint in the top ten. But to sprint against these riders made it impossible for me to win

 

"It's the first time I ride the finale here. I now know what it takes and how things work. This race could suit me but it would be better if I could go away with a group on the Poggio.”

 

“Hectic but exciting final in #MilanoSanremo Legs were good, unfortunately didn't finish at the first 10. Next one: PaisVasco,” he tweeted after the race.

 

Ramunas Navardauskaswas the second best finisher for ‪#‎GreenArgyle‬ in San Remo, crossing the finish line in 41st place, 36 seconds behind race winner Arnaud Demare (FDJ).

 

"It's a special race, very long distance, long hours," he said. "The beginning of the race is not that difficult. It's only the end of the race that is super hard. That's part of what makes the race special. It's a long day, after after 240km, when most races are finished, the race gets harder and harder and you feel already fatigued from the kilometres already in your legs. It's not the hardest race but the distance and difficulty at the end make it really special."

 

No result for Alejandro Valverde and Juan Jose Lobato n Sanremo

Former French road race champion Arnaud Démare (FDJ) beat a world-class peloton against all odds to claim victory in the 10th edition of Milano-Sanremo, the first ‘monument’ of the classics season. The legendary Italian race was extended from its planned route to 295kmdue to a landslide over the road covering the last slopes of the Passo del Turchino’s descent. Despite those extra 4k, the ‘Primavera’ conserved its usual form from previous editions whenever weather was gracious: a long break, attacks into the Cipressa climb and a sprint between the biggest names of the peloton, which the Movistar Team riders tried to avoid.

 

While Ventoso, Amador and Dayer Quintana supported Alejandro Valverde in  the finale - Carlos Betancur, debutant with the Blues today, did an excellent work early on, plus completed 260km in the main peloton -Giovanni Visconti saved energy to jump off the front at the Cipressa, 23km from the finishing line. His attempt, in company of Stannard (SKY), Oss (BMC), Montaguti (ALM) and Sabatini (EQS), was neutralized 2km from the foot of the Poggio, with only Michal Kwiatkowski (SKY) trying to defy the bunch with a serious acceleration during that last ascent.

 

With neither big splits nor any other attacking chances for Alejandro Valverde, always attentive during the final descent, a strange sprint - Gaviria (EQS) crashed while seeming like the favourite; Bouhanni (COF) briefly lost his chain during the final kic k- left the Spaniard in 15th place. Dayer Quintana was with him in that front group over the line.

 

“Completed Sanremo. Now we go for Belgium. The legs are getting better and I now enjoy my bike which is important,” fellow captain Juan Jose Lobato tweeted after the race.

 

Fabian Cancellara: I was a target for all the riders

Sunny, dry and breezy conditions changed the face of Milan-Sanremo Saturday, creating numerous crashes as a larger, fresher and extremely jittery peloton fought for positons in the business end of the 291-kilometer race.

 

The final crash occurred 300 meters from the line, causing Fabian Cancellara to brake hard and lock up his rear wheel. Although he did not fall, it was game over. Cancellara rolled across the line at the back of the front group in 31st position, not the finish he imagined for his final La Primavera.

 

"It was quite difficult because I was isolated and I was a target from all the riders, especially on the [Poggio] climb," Cancellara explained. "Kwiatkowski did a nice move, Tinkoff had to close, and then Nibali attacked over the top, and I was just following and letting him do the work, but then he saw it was me, and it was over."

 

With Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky) desperately holding a small four-second gap at the bottom of the Poggio, Cancellara attacked with less than two kilometers to go. He opened a small gap, but it would not be so easy for Spartacus, a highly marked man.

 

"At the bottom, I thought they were going quite slow, and I went, but I didn’t get much of a gap before Trentin closed it, and Gaviria was yelling at him to go, go go!" continued Cancellara.

 

"Then Van Avermaet went with Boasson Hagen, and Peter [Sagan] went behind and I could kind of follow, but for me it was hard because I was already attacking before and I had to come back 10-20 meters. I was slowly closing, and on the chicane Gaviria crashed, and Peter and I just missed going down. You can call us lucky guys, but in the end, no results. Not what I was expecting - I was racing for winning. In the end I gave up, it was over."

 

 Fernando Gaviria's (Etixx-Quick Step) fall held up a few riders, including Cancellara, and it was a new victor taking the glory in the year's first Monument. Arnaud Demare (FDJ) sprinted to the win ahead of Ben Swift (Sky) and Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Soudal)

 

"This was a weird race, a strange Milan-San Remo," continued Cancellara. "It was really slow with the headwind. This also neutralizes the race. With [Marco] Coledan in the break, we did a good move to let the others work. A lot of teams had fatigue, and this is why at the end there was a lot of chaos. A lot of riders were isolated; there was a lot of one-against-one in the finish."

 

Marco Coledan rode brilliantly in the 11-man breakaway that led the race for most of the 291 plus kilometers (a few kilometers were added to divert around the rockslide). It was a strategic move in Trek-Segafredo's overall game plan, but the unpredictable Milan-Sanremo rarely allows well-laid tactics to unfold as desired. 

 

"When you see a large group arrive at the finish in Milan-Sanremo it can be a bit of roulette, but in the end, a good rider always wins," explicated director Adriano Baffi. "We did what we could until the end, but with only Fabian in the front, we did not have much to play with. Fabian tried an attack, but he was a marked man. Then, of course, he almost crashed in the last meters, and it was over.

 

"For sure we went in with a lot of expectations, and in the end, we have nothing. All we can do is move on, and look forward to the other races."

 

Simon Geschke: I missed the punch that I normally have

The race came down to a small bunch sprint after the ascents of the Cipressa and the Poggio, and in the hectic finale, Simon Geschke took the 19th place in the finishing straight.

 

Team Giant-Alpecin went into the race with a clear intention to look after Geschke and keep him as fresh as possible until the race came alive on the final two climbs of the 300km parcours. The team did a good job and with the race heading to the Cipressa climb, Geschke was in a good position near the front of the bunch.

 

Geschke had the support of the team before the Poggio and down the other side, he was however by himself for the finale. It was a great effort from Geschke to finish in the front group and he sprinted to 19th place after a long hard day on the bike.

 

Simon Geschke said: “I missed the punch in the finale which I normally have. The legs were not perfect at the beginning but they got better throughout the race. I gave everything today and this was the maximum I could achieve.”

 

Roy Curvers said after the race: “We had a good result last year at Milano- Sanremo and I think we took that experience into this year’s race. We made a plan at the beginning for Simon and we tried to help him as much as possible. In the same way, as we used to help John last year.

 

“I think everybody gave everything in the race and, unfortunately, Simon didn’t have the golden legs. In the end, we can be proud of the way we rode this race and if we keep riding like this for sure victories will come and finally I think we can be satisfied with the performance of the team.”

 

Coach Marc Reef said: “The goal of the day was to focus on getting a good result with Simon. There was a lot of crashes happening in the peloton and Roy did a very good job in getting the team in position. During the Cipressa, the team managed to put Simon in the right position. It became a bit more challenging on the Poggio but Simon was able to get himself at the front of the bunch.

 

“After the descent, Simon didn’t have the legs anymore to compete with the select group in the sprint finish and he crossed the line in 19th place.

 

“I’m satisfied with the way we worked together today and in the end, I think this is the best possible result we could have achieved. We remained focused and sharp all day and managed to execute our tasks properly.”

 

Sergei Tvetcov puts Androni on show in Milan-Sanremo

Androni has Serghei Tvetcov in the break. The six riders in charge of escaping - Cecchinel, Chicchi, Frapporti, Selvaggi, Ţvetcov and Viganò – took turns attacking and the Romanian champion made it. Gavazzi and Pellizotti were there in the final and arrived in Sanremo in the front group.

 

“Wow today I did full time day job in US almost 8h The longest breakaway in my life. Thanks all people who cheered for me .Thanks for support and sponsors make this happened,” Tvetcov tweeted.

 

Paul Voss takes over from Sam Bennett in Milan-Sanremo

Jan Bárta was again one of the 11 riders that built a solid lead of up to almost 12 minutes. He was also part of the early breakaway in 2015 and 2014. He spent almost 260 kilometres at the front of the race.

 

In the final Paul Voss from BORA – ARGON 18 scored the best result ever for the team in Milano – Sanremo with his 23rd place. He also showed his good shape in Tirreno – Adriatico a few days ago.

 

“We can be satisfied today. Jan did ride the best race of his season so far and it was important to be in that breakaway group. It looks like he becomes a real Sanremo specialist. Unfortunately, our sprinter, Sam Bennett, crashed between Capo Berta and Cipressa. Originally we planned to support him in the final. After the crash we changed tactics and Dominik Nerz and Patrick Konrad helped Paul Voss. Paul again showed his great shape and was able to go over the Poggio with the best. In the sprint, others have been faster, but his 23rd place is the best result in Sanremo for our team,” said Raplh Denk, team manager.

 

“Today I had good legs again. There were a lot of crashes in the final and it was hard to keep a good position the peloton. Dominik (Nerz) and CeCe (C. Benedetti) made a great job to lead me into the Poggio. I could stay in the group of favourites, but in the sprint my position was not the best and so I also was effected a little by the last crash. But anyway, I think the result is great and I am not a sprint specialist,” said Paul Voss.

 

“The final was totally frantic, crashes again and again. We lost 3 riders in these crashes, unfortunately also Sam (Bennett). We changed tactics then and I tried together with Dominik (Nerz) to lead Paul in a good position into the Poggio,” said Patrick Konrad 

 

Sep Vanmarcke loses power in near-crash on the Poggio

Maarten Tjallingii made the early breakaway in Milano - Sanremo for the third year in a row. The escape brought the number of kilometres that the experienced Team LottoNL-Jumbo rider was in front of the peloton in the Italian classic to 800. Sep Vanmarcke finished 24th, Arnaud Démare (FDJ) won the race.

 

Maarten Tjallingii impressed also in the last two years in Milano - Sanremo with long escapes. During the team presentation on Saturday morning, he said that he wanted to be part of the breakaway a third time. The Dutch rider of Team LottoNL-Jumbo rode his final Milano - Sanremo in front of the peloton for most of the time. 

“It was great to be part of the break again,” Tjallingii said after the race. “It was a perfect leading group, as well. We were with 11 and we worked together perfectly. I’ve never reached the Cipressa as fresh as I did today.”

 

With his escape, Tjallingii increased the number of kilometres he was in the lead during the last three editions of Milano - Sanremo to 800.

 

“It’s nice for our team that someone’s in the breakaway and I like to do that. This was my final Milano - Sanremo. The weather was great and I was in front. I’m glad with that.” 


The race’s final started when the breakaway got caught at the Cipressa. Sep Vanmarcke, Paul Martens and Enrico Battaglin showed themselves in front of the group.

 

“Enrico and Sep finished in the first group,” sports director Jan Boven added. “Paul was there as well at the top of the Poggio, but he was distanced in the downhill afterwards. We were aiming for a good result, but that’s quite hard in a race like Milano - Sanremo. Because of the beautiful weather, the nice temperatures and the weak wind, a lot of riders were still fresh in the final. That meant that the race was hectic. Our men came through quite well and Maarten did a fantastic job in the breakaway.”

 

Sep Vanmarcke saw his chances getting smaller on the Poggio.

 

“I had to put a foot down on the ground in one of the turns. It took a lot of energy to return. I was still part of the first group on top of the climb, but I wasted too much power. I wasn’t good enough to sprint anymore.”

 

Edvald Boasson Hagen: When I saw all the sprinters, my best chance was to attack

Edvald Boasson Hagen launched a strong attack in the final kilometre after Jay Thomson flew the flag of our Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka at the front of the bunch for much of the day.

 

With 1km to go Boasson Hagen decided to give it a go. The Norwegian Road Race Champion put the power down in what was an exciting finale but he wasn’t allowed to get away. The peloton chased him down on the Via Roma with only a few hundred meters to go. Boasson Hagen managed to hang on to finish just outside the top10.

 

Unfortunately, the African team was also involved in one of the crashes as Serge Pauwels went down.
 

Sports director Roger Hammond said:
 

“We had some bad luck today, with a few crashes. It’s been a hectic race, I must say. Still, we held it together and had Edvald attacking with 1km to go, looking like the strongest rider in the front group. I can only imagine what could have been, if all would have been going well.”

 

Edvald Boasson Hagen said.
 

“It was a very tough race. The team was always there for me, in all the crucial moments. Jay did a really good job in the beginning of the race, with Steve [Cummings] and the others being there in the end. In the finale I saw that fast riders like Demare, Fernando Gaviria, and Ben Swift were still there, so I thought it was better to attack. Last week at Tirreno-Adriatico we’ve been in a similar situation. I didn’t attack then, which was a pity in the end. Today I tried my luck. It didn’t pay off, but that’s how racing goes.”

 

Crash takes Modolo out of contention in Sanremo

There were no LAMPRE-MERIDA’s riders in the top 10 of the Milano-Sanremo but there was one certainty: Matteo Bono.

 

The blue-fuchsia-green rider, who’s in his 11th season in the team of manager Copeland, was for in the main breakaway of the Classicissima for the third time in a row.


He escaped in 2014, he escaped in 2015 and he escaped again in 2016, attacking with 10 riders after 10 km. The breakaway had a maximum advantage of 9’40”.


“Two hundred and sixty kilometers in the breakaway once again: it was my and Zurlo’s task to try to join the escape attempts, we were in the front positions until I could follow an attack and, together with the other 10 riders, we could obtain a small advantage. The bunch did not surrender and we could not increase the advantage to more than 10-15 seconds. After 10km, we won the battle against the peloton“.

 

Many crashes characterized the performance of LAMPRE-MERIDA’s riders in the final part of the race. In the approach to he Cipressa, Zurlo hit another rider and crashed on a car which was parked on the side of the road: medical checks showed that the young Italian rider did not suffer any injury.


On the Cipressa, Mori and Cimolai crashed after a riders next to them lost control of his bike.


2km from the summit of the Poggio, Modolo crashed on the right side of the road, as he explained: “I was receiving good feedbacks from my legs and, before the Poggio, I talked with Ulissi who told me he would have supported me in maintaining the front positions of the bunch. His help was effective, however at 2 km from the summit of the hill, I crashed and all my chances were over“.

 

Michael Matthews after Sanremo crash: I am devastated

Michael Matthews narrowly missed out on the oppurtunity to contest the sprint in Milan-San Remo today, after a crash in the last 30kilometres of the race left him chasing heroically back onto the peloton.

 

As the race approached the Cipressa climb a large group of riders went down at the front of the peloton, effectively ending the race for Matthews and ORICA-GreenEDGE. The race was eventually win by Arnaud Demare (FDJ)

 

”Obviously I’m devastated,” said Matthews at the finish. ”I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, the team rode really well all day and everything was going perfectly.”

 

”The cuts on my arm are superficial,” continued Matthews. ”I can’t really feel it at the moment because the disappointment is so painful. I will be back though.”

 

"This was everything, this was my world championships for the start of the season. I was flying today and had no real troubles all day. I was really looking forward to making a good finale, it's really unfortunate that a crash stopped me from doing that,” he told Cyclingnews

 

"I was fourth wheel in the bunch and for some reason one of the teams wanted to go from the right of the road to the left and overlap the wheel of in front of me. I came down at 50 or 60km/h.

 

"I think it's just a random incident and I was unlucky. I was up front all day, I was never in a bad position, so I can't be unhappy about my positioning or the team. It was just unsafe. I wish everyone could ride a bit more as a group and with a bit more safety in numbers. It should have been the win in the end but unfortunately it wasn't our day.

 

"I think the adrenaline from the crash was still going through me as I got back on the bike. I tried to salvage what I could. The team had done a perfect job to put me in the position I was in at the time, so I chased to try to see what I could out from it.

 

Sports director Matthew White echoed Matthews sentiment and also praised the efforts of the team.

 

”The boys rode excellently throughout the race,” said White. ”When an accident happens that close to the final there is  not much you can do about it. Matthews actually made it back on but had used too much energy to be able to contest the sprint.

 

“It’s Sanremo, things can go very bad very quickly, or you can get a dream run. It’s a very nervous race. Nothing’s changed, and nothing will change in this race. It’s one of the easiest races to finish, and one of the hardest races to win.”

 

”It’s disappointing but that’s also cycling,” explained White. ”It was a race that really suited us but now we have to look forward to our objectives for the Belgian classics and the rest of the season.”

 

Despite the amount of crashes, all the riders of ORICA-GreenEDGE finished the race without serious injury and will be in action again at Dwars door Vlaanderen in Belgium on Wednesday 23rd of March.

 

Novo Nordisk show improvement in Milan-Sanremo

Team Novo Nordisk’s Italian sprinter, Andrea Peron, rode in the main breakaway at the 107th edition of Milan-San Remo for the second consecutive year. The 293-kilometer race is the longest one-day race in the world.

 

“We just finished our second Milan-San Remo and I’m thrilled to see Team Novo Nordisk continue to race aggressively against the best cyclists in the world,” Team Novo Nordisk CEO and co-founder Phil Southerland said. “Our goals for the day were to get a rider in the break and to improve upon last year’s results, and I think we did both today. Andrea has been an integral part of this team since it began four years ago, so it makes me especially proud to see him shine again in his home country. I hope the growth and development of our riders helps inspire people throughout the world with diabetes to continue chasing their dreams.”

 

“Today was a good day for Team Novo Nordisk and the riders showed they can do well at this level. We got Andrea in the breakaway and David Lozano finished close to the front,” Team Novo Nordisk’s Senior Vice President, Athletics Vassili Davidenko said. “Javier Megias crashed, but we hope it’s nothing too serious. Overall, the riders showed great improvement over last year and I think we are ready for bigger targets.”

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