After responding to Tadej Pogacar’s attack on the slopes of Poggio, Mathieu van der Poel flew to victory in Milan-Sanremo. Filippo Ganna and Wout Van Aert complete the podium.
Mathieu van der Poel is still more in the footsteps of his grandfather. 62 years after Raymond Poulidor, the rider of the Alpecin-Deceuninck team added Milan-Sanremo to his list after a race that was too calm for a long time and then disheveled in the end. From the first few hundred meters of the 294 kilometer course between Abbiategrasso, the first town other than Milan to host the start, and the shores of the Mediterranean, Mirco Maestri and Alessandro Tonelli came out of the peloton. A duo saw seven other fugitives, including Frenchman Alois Charrin, come to the support to form the great breakaway of this 2023 edition of the “Primavera”. Although the gap very quickly reached three minutes, the peloton never gave these nine riders more leeway, despite their good will. The only moment that saw the peloton pick up the pace was the descent of the Passo del Turchino, with the gap falling for a time under the two-minute mark. The first difficulty of the day especially saw Julian Alaphilippe being forced to dismount for a few moments due to a fall.
The breakaway believed in it until the Cipressa
The former double world champion then made the effort in the descent to come back very quickly. After this moment of tension, the approach to the seaside saw the breakaway catch a little air but, again, without being able to clearly exceed the three-minute mark. While the Alpecin-Deceuninck, UAE Team Emirates and Trek-Segafredo teams took responsibility for the pace of the peloton, the sequence of the three Capi hurt the breakaway. After Alois Charrin, it was Negasi Haylu Abreha, the first Ethiopian rider to start from Milan-Sanremo, or even Alexandr Riabushenko who lowered their flag. While the peloton was shaken by several crashes, including that of the Jan Tratnik-Michal Kwiatkowski duo, it was five riders who put all their strength into battle against the peloton as they approached the Cipressa. However, 27 kilometers from the finish, the breakaway ended and let the big names prepare the final explanation. After having led the peloton for a time, Arnaud De Lie could only deceive himself and was dropped on the slopes of the penultimate difficulty of the day.
Pogacar has cleaned up
In the descent of Cipressa, Mathieu van der Poel put the pressure on by taking the lead but without causing any movement apart from that of Nils Pollitt. The German champion took a few steps ahead 17 kilometers from the goal but quickly cut his effort in the face of the acceleration of the peloton initiated by the French champion Florian Sénéchal. Justice of the peace of the “Primavera”, the Poggio first saw the Bahrain Victorious and EF Education-Easypost teams put themselves in the front but it was when the formation UAE Team Emirates put on the watts that the peloton s is put in single file. Put into orbit by Tim Wellens and well helped by the break caused by Matteo Trentin lower in the peloton, Tadej Pogacar cleaned up around him by placing an attack 6,600 meters from goal. Only Mathieu van der Poel, Filippo Ganna and Wout Van Aert were able to resist the Slovenian’s offensive. A stone’s throw from the summit of Poggio and its legendary telephone booth, the cyclo-cross world champion attacked in turn.
Van der Poel concluded on a high note
The Dutchman was much sharper. Filippo Ganna and Wout Van Aert left it to Tadej Pogacar to lead the chase behind the Dutchman but without success. The gap has gradually widened in the descent, like the effort made by Matej Mohoric last year to win Via Roma. Filippo Ganna went all out on the flat leading to the finish line but it was far too late to change anything. After two successes in the Tour of Flanders, Mathieu van der Poel won a third Monument solo with fifteen seconds ahead of Filippo Ganna and Wout Van Aert when Tadej Pogacar had to settle for fourth place. The leader of the Alpecin-Deceuninck team succeeded where his father Adrie van der Poel could not do better than seventh in 1986 and 1988. Second last year behind Matej Mohoric, Anthony Turgis is once again the best Frenchman during the “Classicissima” with ninth place just behind the Slovenian, who was unable to influence the race and defend his title until the end.
Raymond Poulidor – @mathieuvdpoel
Both, monument winners!
🏆 @Milano_Sanremo pic.twitter.com/lWhbJVXDHO
— Alpecin-Deceuninck Cycling Team (@AlpecinDCK) March 18, 2023