Milan-San Remo: Demare takes upset win

First French winner since 1995 takes the prize over Swift, Roelandts

Arnaud Demare (FDJ) ended France’s long wait for monument when he took the crown in Milan-San Remo. The Frenchman won the sprint by half a bike length over Ben Swift (Team Sky) and Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto-Soudal), with a late crash spoiling the chances for several riders.

Demare also suffered a crash on the Cipressa, but re-joined the front of the race on the slopes of Poggio before taking the win, courtesy of a perfectly-timed sprint.

The day was marked by numerous wrecks, the most crucial coming when Etixx-Quickstep rider Fernando Gaviria touched wheels and fell in the final few hundred metres. He knocked world champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) off his line and the Tinkoff rider was unable to regain his momentum after almost 300 kilometres or racing.

The disrupted sprint was led out by Roelandts but Demare came past with a huge turn of speed to snatch the victory. He first made up ground to Roelandts, just as Nacer Bouhanni suffered a mechanical, before coming around the Lotto-Soudal rider. Swift tracked Demare all the way but was unable to overhaul the Frenchman.

“This is incredible. There are days like this one in which everything works despite the occasional hiccup, like crashing at the bottom of the Cipressa,” Demare said.

“I made it across at the bottom of the Poggio and the entire way I felt fantastic. I became the under-23 world champion in similar conditions after crashing. I'm delighted to win Milan-San Remo. This is a big one and has been running for over a century. It's extraordinary. I'm extremely happy."

An earlier break on the Cipressa came to nothing, and a large group started the final climb, the Poggio, together. There were few genuine attacks on the ascent with Michael Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) providing the first real threat and going clear with 6km to go.

Home favourite Vincenzo Nibali led a furious chase on the descent, and although the attacks continued, the small field came together with Kwiatkowski on the flat run-in after a huge turn from Fabian Cancellara. The Trek-Segafredo rider, competing in his final Classics campaign, was a marked man, with Matteo Trentin pinned to his wheel.

With just over 1,000 metres remaining Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) surged clear but he, with Greg Van Avermaet on his wheel, was unable to hold off the chase.

Suddenly Gaviria appeared and although he had Sagan on his wheel the Colombian looked like the favourite for the sprint as the leaders rounded the final corner. A touch of wheel destroyed the neo-pro rider’s first Milan-San Remo and took Sagan out of contention as a bunch of riders, including Demare, not only regained contact with the head of the race, but surged for the line.

Nacer Bouhanni, the Frenchman most commentators, had been talked about in the build-up, was present. He and Demare were former FDJ teammates, but Bouhanni was denied the chance to sprint, suffering a cruel mechanical with the line in sight. It was of no consequence to Demare who hit the front of Milan-San Remo with a powerful sprint.

France’s wait for a winner of Milan-San Remo stretched back to 1995, while their last Monument came two year’s later in Lombardia. The wait is finally over. Demare has well and truly arrived.

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How it unfolded

Warm sunshine and pleasant spring temperatures greeted the peloton as it gathered outside Castello Sforzesco for the start of Milan-San Remo, a far cry from the dank conditions of recent years. There were brighter hues than usual on the roadside, too, as the familiar names of Pavia, Casteggio, Tortona and Novi Ligure trundled by on the long trek from Milan to the Riviera.

The race quickly settled into its traditional rhythm once the flag dropped. The typically intense start was followed by a respite of sorts once the day’s early break sallied clear on leaving Binasco, after 14 kilometres.

Gediminas Bagdonas (AG2R La Mondiale), Serghei Tvetcov (Giocattoli Androni-Sidermec), Mirco Maestri (Bardiani-CSF), Jan Barta (Bora-Argon 18), Adrian Hurek (CCC-Sprandi Polkowice), Roger Kluge (IAM Cycling), Matteo Bono (Lampre-Merida), Samuele Conti (Southeast-Venezuela), Maarten Tjallingii (LottoNL-Jumbo), Andrea Peron (Team Novo Nordisk) and Marco Coledan (Trek-Segafredo) quickly established a solid understanding, building a maximum lead of 10:35 after 50 kilometres, before Orica-GreenEdge and Tinkoff set about managing the deficit.

By that point, word had spread of a landslide on the coast road near Arenzano, with 130 kilometres remaining, but organisers RCS Sport moved swiftly to arrange an alteration to the route that allowed the race to circumvent the roadblock by switching onto the motorway for 9 kilometres.

Meanwhile, the escapees reached the top of the Turchino with a lead of 5 minutes over the bunch, where Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff) was doing the bulk of the heavy lifting. The speed ratcheted upwards on the motorway section, and the break’s gap continued to dwindle as they tackled the headlands of the Riviera.

By the first of the five capi, the Capo Mele, the gap was down to 2:18 and the increasing tension in the peloton was demonstrated by the nervous crashes, with Julien Vermote (Etixx-QuickStep) and Federico Zurlo (Lampre-Merida) among those to come down in separate incidents.

The advantage melted further on the Capo Cervo, dropping to 1:30, and it hovered at around the minute mark by the Capo Berta. The 11 escapees’ adventure would fizzle out soon afterwards ahead of the endgame on the Cipressa and the Poggio.

On the descent Marco Haller crashed, leaving Kristoff without a valuable piece of his armoury but Katusha continued to apply the pressure.

The fight for positioning saw another crash take place, this time with pre-race favourite Michael Matthews hitting the deck with Demare and Team Sky’s Peter Kennaugh. All looked lost for those involved, especially when Katusha continued with their work on the front but the chasers never gave up and used the Cipressa to pace themselves back into contention.

Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) and Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff) came to grief

With 25km remaining the break was finally caught. Giovanni Visconti slipped clear halfway up the climb, dragging Ian Stannard with him. On the descent, the pair were joined by Daniel Oss, Matteo Montaguti, and Fabio Sabatini, the latter unwilling to work with Gaviria still in the main field. However, the 9km run into the Poggio always favoured the peloton and by the time the race hit the lower slopes Demare was back and the peloton had regrouped

Kristoff looked in control as his team set about the pace duties and although Kwiatkowski soared clear – partly to soften up the bunch but also to aim for his won success – there were enough favourites to neutralise the move.

From the descent to the line – the race had everything bar a predicted finish. Within less than a few seconds the favourite tag switched with almost violent inconsistency from Boassan Hagen to Van Avermaet, to Gaviria to Bouhanni. However, it was Demare who came out on top.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ6:54:45 
2Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky  
3Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
4Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
5Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
6Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha  
7Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling  
8Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Southeast - Venezuela  
9Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
10Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step  
11Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team  
12Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff Team  
13Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale  
14Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
15Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team  
16Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale  
17Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Trek-Segafredo  
18Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ  
19Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin  
20Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec  
21Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
22Andrea Fedi (Ita) Southeast - Venezuela  
23Paul Voss (Ger) Bora-Argon 18  
24Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
25Lars Boom (Ned) Astana Pro Team  
26Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data  
27Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
28Dayer Quintana (Col) Movistar Team  
29Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
30Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec  
31Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek-Segafredo  
32Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling0:00:08 
33Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
34Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal  
35Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
36Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
37Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Team Katusha  
38Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:00:11 
39Vicente Reynes (Spa) IAM Cycling0:00:14 
40Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky0:00:34 
41Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Cannondale Pro Cycling0:00:36 
42Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo  
43Martin Elmiger (Swi) IAM Cycling  
44Koen De Kort (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin  
45Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team  
46Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team  
47Leigh Howard (Aus) IAM Cycling  
48Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) IAM Cycling  
49Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Team Sky  
50Paul Martens (Ger) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
51Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo  
52Davide Vigano (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec  
53Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec  
54Michael Morkov (Den) Team Katusha  
55Tom Boonen (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step  
56Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff Team  
57Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky  
58Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - Merida  
59Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge  
60Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky0:00:43 
61Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:00:44 
62Dominik Nerz (Ger) Bora-Argon 180:00:53 
63Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ0:01:12 
64Zico Waeytens (Bel) Team Giant-Alpecin0:01:26 
65Oscar Gatto (Ita) Tinkoff Team0:01:30 
66Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro Team0:01:38 
67Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step  
68Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) FDJ  
69Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
70Jan Barta (Cze) Bora-Argon 18  
71Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
72Enrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
73Simone Ponzi (Ita) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
74Sven Erik Bystr¿m (Nor) Team Katusha  
75Simon Spilak (Slo) Team Katusha  
76Angel Vicioso (Spa) Team Katusha  
77Stephen Cummings (GBr) Dimension Data  
78Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step  
79Fernando Gaviria (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step0:01:48 
80Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step  
81Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Astana Pro Team0:01:53 
82Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team  
83Marco Frapporti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec  
84Elia Viviani (Ita) Team Sky  
85Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
86Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ  
87Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
88Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:01:59 
89Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team0:02:43 
90Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Argon 18  
91Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky  
92Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension Data  
93K_vin Reza (Fra) FDJ0:02:58 
94David Lozano Riba (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk0:03:17 
95Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge0:03:18 
96Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:03:26 
97Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
98Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale Pro Cycling0:03:29 
99Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
100Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Tinkoff Team  
101Mirco Maestri (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
102Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
103Simone Andreetta (Ita) Bardiani CSF0:03:31 
104Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre - Merida  
105Rudiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Argon 180:04:13 
106Bartlomiej Matysiak (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:04:25 
107Eros Capecchi (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
108Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre - Merida  
109Jaroslaw Marycz (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
110Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data  
111Gregory Rast (Swi) Trek-Segafredo  
112Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
113Winner Anacona (Col) Movistar Team0:06:16 
114Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:06:46 
115Luis Angel Mate (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
116Roger Kluge (Ger) IAM Cycling0:07:01 
117Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Soudal  
118Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Tinkoff Team  
119Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Trek-Segafredo0:09:25 
120Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre - Merida  
121Hugo Houle (Can) AG2R La Mondiale  
122Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-GreenEdge0:10:16 
123Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx - Quick-Step  
124Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin  
125Victor de la Parte (Spa) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:10:48 
126Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto Soudal0:11:37 
127Marco Haller (Aut) Team Katusha  
128Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Argon 180:12:53 
129Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Argon 18  
130Bert De Backer (Bel) Team Giant-Alpecin  
131Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin  
132Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
133Jesse Sergent (NZl) AG2R La Mondiale  
134Francisco Ventoso (Spa) Movistar Team  
135Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Soudal  
136Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
137Julen Amezqueta (Spa) Southeast - Venezuela  
138Gregor Muhlberger (Aut) Bora-Argon 18  
139Mark Renshaw (Aus) Dimension Data  
140Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing Team  
141Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec  
142Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step  
143Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Movistar Team  
144Manuele Boaro (Ita) Tinkoff Team  
145Marco Coledan (Ita) Trek-Segafredo  
146Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Lampre - Merida  
147Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre - Merida  
148Manuel Belletti (Ita) Southeast - Venezuela  
149Mirko Tedeschi (Ita) Southeast - Venezuela  
150Patrick Gretsch (Ger) AG2R La Mondiale0:14:25 
151Joonas Henttala (Fin) Team Novo Nordisk  
152Alan Marangoni (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
153Martijn Verschoor (Ned) Team Novo Nordisk  
154Christopher Williams (Aus) Team Novo Nordisk  
155Serghei Tvetcov (Rom) Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec  
156Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R La Mondiale  
157Luka Mezgec (Slo) Orica-GreenEdge  
158Charles Planet (Fra) Team Novo Nordisk  
159Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdge  
160Kevin De Mesmaeker (Bel) Team Novo Nordisk  
161Reto Hollenstein (Swi) IAM Cycling  
162Jos Van Emden (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo0:14:28 
163Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ  
164Thomas Leezer (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
165William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ  
166Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Soudal  
167Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEdge  
168Adam Blythe (GBr) Tinkoff Team  
169Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky  
170Adrian Honkisz (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
171Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Orica-GreenEdge  
172Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
173Adrian Kurek (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:17:59 
174Jay Robert Thomson (RSA) Dimension Data0:19:07 
175Eugenio Alafaci (Ita) Trek-Segafredo  
176Nikolay Mihaylov (Bul) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
177Alessandro Tonelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
178Samuele Conti (Ita) Southeast - Venezuela0:21:17 
179Jakub Mareczko (Ita) Southeast - Venezuela  
180Axel Domont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:22:25 
DNFFederico Zurlo (Ita) Lampre - Merida  
DNFCarlos Betancur (Col) Movistar Team  
DNFSam Bewley (NZl) Orica-GreenEdge  
DNFNikias Arndt (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin  
DNFAlbert Timmer (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin  
DNFSergey Lagutin (Rus) Team Katusha  
DNFJavier Megias (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFAndrea Peron (Ita) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFManuele Mori (Ita) Lampre - Merida  
DNFJulien Vermote (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step  
DNFSerge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data  
DNFDaniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff Team  
DNFGiorgio Cecchinel (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec  
DNFNicola Boem (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFStefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFSimon Clarke (Aus) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
DNFJerome Cousin (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFCyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFNathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data  
DNSMoreno Hofland (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  

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