Sylvain Chavanel best placed rider for Swiss team
IAM Cycling entered Milan-San Remo with two big cards to play in 2009 runner-up Heinrich Haussler and Sylvain Chavanel although the Swiss team found the wet and cold conditions detrimental to a successful day at the office.
Several of the team’s strongest riders had been sick over the past week and with the in-form Stefan Denifl also in the squad, the Pro-Continental team had numerous options on the table although the adverse weather tested the team beyond its limits.
Haussler, who was 11th in the snow and cold of 2013, found himself trailing behind and struggling with the cold.
"I just didn't have anything. It was just so cold. I usually handle the cold pretty well, but since Qatar I've been racing in the heat, so I just couldn't handle the temperature swing to being so cold. It just wasn't possible for me," Haussler said.
The best placed IAM Cycling rider was Chavanel who was 21st but was "chilled to the bone" and couldn't match the speed of Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) who skipped away for the win.
"Today it rained only once. Shortly after the start, and from there to the end. Sometimes we even made an acquaintance with hail. And that was not a pleasant encounter. In my opinion, today's version of Milan-San Remo was even harder than the 2013 edition.”
The cold was made worse for Chavanel when he was made to wait for more clothing to keep warm.
"When I asked for a rain jacket to protect me from the cold, I had to wait for 20 minutes which felt like a long time because our car was in 23rd position in the motorcade.
"In the final, I hesitated to go along with the attack of [Vincenzo] Nibali on the Cipressa. I was not sure because between the Cipressa and Poggio is a flat piece of road around 10km. In the final sprint I had simply had no force to fight for victory."
Kjell Carlstrom the director sportif for the day, could only praise his team for continuing in the adverse weather conditions. "I take my hat off for the performance of the boys. In such conditions, being able to have a good race is not easy. They all fought with great courage against the external circumstances and if you get cold at such a race, it is virtually impossible to recover.
"Hinault and Kluge contributed great work for Chavanel and in the final sprint he was with all the other strong guys in the sprint [so he had] no chance."
The team's founder and manager, Michel Thetaz was present in San Remo to cheer on his riders and was already looking to the next race.
"This year was much worse than last year. Last year there was the break in the bus and then on the second half there was no rain. So it just was not possible to expect the guys to be in top form for this. These days happen, but we just move on and now Heino [Haussler] can concentrate on the northern classics."
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