World Champion Oscar Freire was perhaps one of the biggest surprises in Milan-San Remo, in that he didn't finish on the podium despite being in excellent form. Like many of the other sprinters who were there at the end but missed their chance, Freire's race fell apart in the final half a kilometre on Via Roma.
"Up until 500 metres to go, everything went according to plan," he told De Telegraaf. I went over the Cipressa and the Poggio easily. In the sprint, it all went wrong. I was closed in and couldn't get out either side."
Rabobank team manager Theo de Rooij told Algemeen Dagblad, "Oscar left a lot out there. Because he waited too long to start the sprint, he was closed in by the others. I'm afraid that a second or third place went begging, and that's a shame."
Teammate Erik Dekker, who was the only Rabobank rider in the front group at the end, commented that Fassa Bortolo was so strong, Petacchi included. "He was 10th over the Cipressa and according to me he was in the first five on the Poggio. Of the 40 that were with me after the descent of the Poggio, there were at least 42 sprinters. It was unbelievable how quick they came along."