Oscar Freire may have taken the headlines at Milan-San Remo, but Colnago-CSF Inox’s Sacha Modolo created plenty of his own when he claimed fourth place in the bunch sprint that decided La Primavera.
For a rider just weeks into his first pro season, it was a phenomenal result, especially as the 22-year-old Italian had to launch his sprint from well back. Such was his finishing speed that he only narrowly failed to take third place from former San Remo winner Alessandro Petacchi.
Modolo’s first taste of a major Classic was not without its difficulties. He was held up by a crash in the Turchino tunnel and had to be paced back to the front group by his Colnago-CSF teammates. Coming into the finish, he realised that Freire’s was the wheel to be on, but was eased out of position on the run-in to the finish by Tom Boonen and Alessandro Petacchi.
“I lost Freire’s wheel on the last corner to Boonen and Petacchi, and fell back in the line. That meant that I started my sprint in 11th position from 300 metres out,” Modolo told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I was passing everyone. I managed to get past [Daniele] Bennati right on the line and I’m convinced I could have got ahead of Petacchi if I’d been better placed. Only Boonen and Freire were too strong for me.”
Colnago-CSF Inox team director Roberto Reverberi was delighted with his young rider’s performance. Reverberi admitted he had expected Modolo to finish in the top five in spite of his inexperience at this level.
“Modolo is very fast. Last year he won GP Liberazione in a sprint. He is a sprinter who holds well on the climbs such as the Cipressa and the Poggio. He’s a rider in Freire’s mould. He’s got a great future ahead of him,” Reverberi said of Modolo, who won 26 races as an amateur.
“It’s time to win a race now,” said Modolo at the finish. “I am a rider who gets very upset when he’s beaten.”
Bonnet slips out of contention on the Cipressa
Bbox Bouygues Telecom had been hoping that Paris-Nice stage-winner William Bonnet would be in the mix at San Remo but he was dropped from the front group on the descent off the Cipressa. “As I told them in the morning, Milan-San Remo is a race that’s more about positioning than physical power,” said Bbox director Jean-François Rodriguez.
“Everything happens so fast in the final stages that the smallest break in the bunch can have enormous consequences. But on the whole I can’t reproach the guys. They did all they could in difficult weather conditions.”
There was some consolation for the Bbox team over the weekend, however, with Pierrick Fédrigo’s third place in the Classic Loire Atlantique and a strong all-round team performance in the GP Cholet.