Pavel Brutt was one of the key players in last weekends Monument, the Milano-Sanremo (Milan - San Remo). The 25 year-old Tinkoff Credit Systems rider, already with two wins under his belt for 2007, set off at 90 kilometres into the 294 kilometre race in an escape of six. The escape lasted, mostly under the power of Brutt, until kilometre 266, or 28 to go.
"I've ridden 260 kilometres about two times, once at the Worlds and once in a stage race – and that's it for experiences of this sort," said the Russian after completing his longest race ever. "The butt aches as much as always, the legs hurt and straight after the finish I got a bit dizzy, then sleepy in the team bus. All of those are familiar symptoms, perhaps only more pronounced this time."
Brutt was initially joined by Andrei Kunitski (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo), Koen De Kort (Astana), Emanuele Sella (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare), Roberto Traficante (Team LPR) and Aitor Hernández (Euskaltel-Euskadi), but even with those men it was to be a big task to stay clear to Sanremo. "When we broke away after some 90 kilometres of racing, I got a measure of chill down my back at the very thought of how much was left. Then I made up my mind not to look too far ahead and to take it kilometre by kilometre.
"When we got caught, I even tried to stay with the main pack, yet found out pretty quickly I was too tired for that; so I had to settle down in a gruppetto. All in all, it was a unique experience."
The race was marked with a few spectacular crashes but Brutt was happy to be out of the main group and away on his own, thus avoiding any of the major hazards. "It looked even more frightful from outside when we watched a video highlight of those terrible crashes by the Gerolsteiner guys. Anyway, it was definitely safer in front, at least we saw where we were going; but sometimes I almost lost control of the bike even pedalling in the saddle, on a straight line. A couple of raindrops were enough to make tarmac as slippery as a bar of soap, partially because of sea salt on it and because of the tarmac's structure."
Brutt will start today in another Italian race and he hopes to continue to show himself. "Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali," he quipped of his next race. "The stages are far shorter than Milan-Sanremo. Why not to try to show something interesting out there?"