Race Report: Milano-Sanremo is dynamite with a very long fuse, but when it explodes, stand back for action. As is usual, the Poggio is where the race blew up to give us a group of worthy front runners for the swoop into Sanremo. But it was Trek-Segafredo’s Jasper Stuyven who took everyone by surprise for the big win.
Win for Stuyven, 3rd for Van Aert
Jasper Stuyven won Milano-San Remo on a cold, but sunny Saturday afternoon. The Trek-Segafredo rider attacked 3 kilometres from the finish and narrowly held off the favourites in the final kilometre. Caleb Ewan was second and last year’s winner, Wout van Aert took third.
It’s a long way to Sanremo
Peter Sagan at the start – 100%?
In the first hours the race was about the formation of an early break. Eight riders escaped the peloton after ten kilometres. It included Taco van der Hoorn, Matthias Norsgaard, Mattia Viel, Filippo Tagliani, Nicola Conci, Alessandro Tonelli, Andrea Peron and Charles Planet.
Last year’s winner and one of the favourites – Wout van Aert
Only 300 kilometres to go
The escape built up a lead of 8 minutes, but then the teams of the ‘Big Three’ came to the front. Alpecin-Fenix, Jumbo-Visma and Deceuninck – Quick-Step all put men on the front with 140 kilometres to go to control the gap.
Watch those tram-lines in Milano
One of the top favourites – Mathieu van der Poel
The Colle del Giovo, which replaced the Passo del Turchino on the course for the second year, added little to the race, except a few extra climbing metres. The race was clearly waiting for the Capo Mele, Capo Cervo and Capo Berta, and the real explosions of the 2021 Milano-Sanremo.
1st in 2019, 2nd in 2020 – World champion Alaphilippe
Break of the day – Andrea Peron (Team Novo Nordisk)
On the first of the Tre Capi, the Capo Mele, we saw Deceuninck – Quick-Step put the pressure on. However, it did not lead to a change in the race, and again on the Capo Cervo. At 43 kilometres from the finish, the break still had a lead of 1:30.
Nice day in Italy
Taco Van Der Hoorn (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert)
The leading group started to fall apart on the Capo Berta. Tonelli rode off, but was pulled back a little later in Imperia. Van der Hoorn was the last to be caught on the Cipressa. Sam Oomen guided Van Aert at the head of the peloton to the top of the climb. This meant that there were no attcks on the Cipressa. Yet again, the big decision would come on the Poggio.
Seven minutes was the max lead for the break
Filippo Tagliani, Mattia Viel (both Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) and Taco Van Der Hoorn (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert)
On the descent of the Cipressa the peloton split into two parts for a while, but just before the Poggio everything came together again. With BORA-hansgrohe, Alpecin-Fenix and INEOS Grenadiers at the front, the riders started the 3.7 kilometre final climb.
The speed lifted as the race got near the coast
Filippo Ganna battled at the front on the first part of the climb. At the back; many a sprinter had to let go of the peloton, but not fast-finisher Caleb Ewan. The Australian was still on the wheel of the Italian. A little further behind we could see Alaphilippe, Van Aert and Van der Poel, all the favourites were waiting for their chance.
The peloton passes the vines
800 meters before the summit of the Poggio, Alaphilippe attacked. Van Aert went with him, but Van der Poel had to close a gap from a little further back. The Dutch champion brought a number of riders with him, including Ewan.
Eventually the coast!
The break started to split
Three kilometres from the finish, Stuyven went for the victory. The Trek-Segafrado rider soon had a nice gap, but he looked to be getting caught in the final kilometre. Søren Kragh Andersen managed to jump across to the lonely leader and the two stretched the gap again.
Last man of the break – Taco Van Der Hoorn
Time to move up
Stuyven started his sprint with a very small lead as the group thundered down on him. It turned out to be enough to keep the up-and-coming group of favourites off his wheel. Caleb Ewan, Wout van Aert, Peter Sagan and Mathieu van der Poel came very close, but not close enough.
The BIG win for Jasper Stuyven
Race winner, Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo): “In the last kilometer, I tried to recover a bit before the final bend ahead of the finish. I managed to recover a little, and then I launched the sprint. I still cannot believe I have won Milano-Sanremo. After the Poggio descent, I saw there were still some sprinters so I tried to go all-in and anticipate the sprint. It was not a strategy I decided on this morning but rather my instinct. It’s amazing, I cannot find the words!”
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1. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo in 6:38:06
2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal
3. Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
4. Peter Sagan (Svk) BORA-hansgrohe
5. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix
6. Michael Matthews (Aus) BikeExchange
7. Alex Aranburu (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
8. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Victorious
9. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) DSM
10. Anthony Turgis (Fra) Total Direct Energie.