Wout van Aert becomes a Monument winner
two weeks before, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) was a budding young rider with bags of potential, a former cyclocross star apparently on the point of taking the street by storm, but who had been yet to bring a Classics success to his palmarès.
Currently, after his maiden Classics triumph at Strade Bianche a week, he is the winner of one of biking five star, Milan-San Remo, and feels as though he belongs among the game’s very elite.
The Belgian was one of the top favorites going to the race, though it was unclear if he ought to prioritise with his attacking art or useful sprint finish when hunting success.
When it happened, he ended up with both. The Belgian had to call upon all of his reserves of power to maintain Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) within sight once the Frenchman unleashed his trademark uphill accelerations about the Poggio, along with his specialized descending assisted his bridge the difference onto the following downhill. After that, come the finale, his smoother, more accomplished sprint saw him border Alaphilippe in the point, despite being forced to the less desired place of leading out the sprint.
It was a brilliant presentation of Van Aert’s multifaceted talents and a sign he might be a competition in all kinds of unique Classics. With his heart set on the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in October, this may not be the sole Monument Van Aert wins this year.
Julian Alaphpilippe once more investigates the race’s result
Has Julian Alaphilippe single-handedly altered the manner that Milan-San Remo is won? Since his introduction 2017, the Frenchman has assaulted up the Poggio on three different occasions — and every time, it’s instigated the race-winning move. Adding Vincenzo Nibali’s successful move in 2018, making it four sequential editions the sprinters are denied from the attackers.
Historically, Milan-San Remo is balanced between both kinds of cyclists, and four in a row is a remarkably long run for the sprinters to shed out — not because the 1990s have they suffered this type of bare streak. Given that Alaphilippe was prominently involved in this conduct, his utter explosiveness and the speed that he sets up the rise must definitely be a substantial element.
His performance this season was particularly striking given the way he awakened 36kilometers from the end, in the same way the Cipressa and the endgame of this race approached. He may have been cared and peacefully paced up into the peloton by his own Deceuninck-QuickStep, but at a race frequently determined by the best of margins any strain or additional energy use is considered possibly crucial.
As it occurred, despite being the first to crest the Poggio, Alaphilippe did not really have enough to conquer Van Aert from the ending two-man sprint and would be shattered to have been pipped to the line and shed by such a nice margin. But how many doubted he’d the form to triumph before this race, it was a sensational performance yet.
The more things change, the more they remain the same
Given that the numerous changes for the year’s Milan-San Remo compared to past versions, it was astonishing to see the race play out in this comfortable way.
A blend of a new path with various occasions, a new slot in the calendar with considerably warmer temperatures, and bigger group sizes were expected to change the race in ways it was easy to forecast.
Nevertheless the race we have was a mostly familiar affair. Nearly all the race comprised stressed build-up as riders depended on maintaining as much energy as you can, followed by a hectic competition between a few of their most powerful riders breaking evident within the Poggio versus the sprinters desperately attempting to capture them in time.
Trek-Segafredo were the only team spent in breaking up the race usual narrative. Their riders were observable during the final 60kilometers, together with Nicola Conci, Jacopo Mosca and Giulio Ciccone all alternately going about the attack ahead of the Poggio. However, all their attempts came to nothing, and the peloton was back together in the base of the last climb.
But exactly what the race lacked surprise, it made up for in enthusiasm. Its totally balanced finale constantly generates among the most exciting endings of the season, which has been more the situation now, together with Van Aert a worthy winner.
The sprinters are left disappointed after again
Milan-San Remo is among the most converted prizes one of the top sprinters in the game, but for still another year all of these leave empty-handed.
For many, hopes have been dashed long until the Via Roma completing straight. Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) and Fernando Gaviria (UAE Emirates) have been successful winners in bunch sprints within the last couple of decades, but could not deal with the challenges of the year’s version and have been lost on the Cipressa.
Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep) managed to live this scale, but the Poggio was a bridge too far. The Irishman was spotted grasping to the rear of the band for dear life, revealing how challenging it is for its heavier sprint pros to conquer this legendary climb after almost 300kilometers of racing.
That left barely any expert sprinters left in emptiness, together with Michael Matthews (Sunweb), Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT) resulting from the decreased peloton of approximately 23 passengers in third, fifth and fourth respectively. However, despite their fine efforts to endure so long, all have been refused by Van Aert and Alaphilippe’s assault. Once again this wasn’t a year for the sprinters.
Bora-Hansgrohe can not really deliver Peter Sagan success
At the finale of this race, Bora-Hansgrohe took it on themselves to take charge of the race, and did what they could to provide Peter Sagan success.
Milan-San Remo is conspicuous by its absence on the Slovak’s palmarès. He’s come really close (twice finishing second), and so is constantly there-or-thereabouts (with five top-four endings in total), but has yet to take the top step of the podium.
The group had faith that this could be the year that he, in the beginning, ended that drought. Daniel Oss paced the peloton to the group about the Cipressa, putting such a fast tempo that also as reeling in each one the strikes, he inadvertently gained a gap over the rest of the peloton on the descent.
Then about the Poggio (after Oss had dropped back again), Marcus Burghardt took on the front of the peloton and had been effective in handling early strikes on the rise in the likes of Gianni Moscon (Ineos) and Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-QuickStep). However, the staff were outside of firepower from the time Alalphilippe and Van Aert assaulted, leaving Sagan to fend for himself.
Considering that the smaller group sizes this season (six passengers instead of seven), it was a sterling effort by Bora-Hansgrohe, but they missed a rider such as Max Schachmann (currently riding the Tour of Poland) to help Sagan throughout the last chase. 1 additional domestique could have been Sagan had to at last ditch Milan-San Remo, but once more 30-year old needs to cover a second fourth-place finish.