Kwiatkowski wins Milan-San Remo

Sagan, Alaphilippe settle for podium in breakaway trio

Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) won an excruciatingly close photo-finish sprint on the Via Roma in Milan-San Remo, topping world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), with Julian Alaphilippe (QuickStep) in third.

"After previous editions in 2013 and 2014 when I've been unlucky, winning Milano-San Remo is an incredible feeling," Kwiatkowski said. "I'm thankful to my teammates, they did an incredible job today. I didn't expect Sagan to attack on the Poggio. After he did, I expected a bunch sprint but he maintained a high speed at the front. I focused only on my own sprint. I can't believe I've beaten Sagan!"

Sagan sparked the breakaway over the top of the Poggio, and was quickly joined by Kwiatkowski and Alaphilippe, two daring descenders who could keep up with the world champion's legendary skills.

Leading the entire descent, Sagan looked to his companions to take a pull, but they only briefly obliged, leaving Sagan to do the majority of the work to hold off the hard-charging peloton. As they took the final curve and had the finish line in sight, the peloton came into view behind them, but they had left it too late.

Sagan wiggled his elbow for Kwiatkowski to pull through with 500m to go, but the Pole wisely declined, and as Sagan charged hard for the finish line, Kwiatkowski drew alongside. Sagan violently strangled his bicycle trying to squeeze out just a few more watts, but the Sky rider threw his bike to the line, snatching the elusive Milan-San Remo victory from the Bora-hansgrohe rider.

Alaphilippe finished narrowly behind for third place, and the peloton crossed the line only five seconds later.

"The only thing missing today was a little bit of co-operation from some other riders," Sagan said. "But it's okay. I did my bit and I'm happy with what I did. That's cycling. You race for 300km and you can win by a little or lose by a little. I did my best."

How it unfolded

The race got off promptly under sunny skies in Milan. Inspired by the good weather and not fearing the nearly 300 kilometers they were facing, ten riders took off after only five kilometers: Nico Denz (AG2R La Mondiale), Mattia Frapporti (Androni-Sidermec), Mirco Maestri (Bardiani-CSF), William Clarke and Tom Skujins (Cannondale-Drapac), Ivan Rovny (Gazprom-Rusvelo), Alan Marangoni (Nippo-Fantini), Umberto Poli (Novo Nordisk), Federico Zurlo (UAE Team Emirates), and Julen Amezqueta (Wilier-Selle Italia).

The gap stayed between four and five minutes, with FDJ, Bora-Hansgrohe and QuickStep sharing the work at the head of the peloton.

With about 120km to go, the gap started dropping dramatically, hitting 2:20 at the 100km marker. Quick-Step Floors had moved to the front of the field and picked up the pace, a move which some of the other teams seemed to question.

The peloton finally eased up a bit, not wanting to catch the group too soon, and allowed the gap to come back up to about 2:45. Bora-Hansgrohe showed up at the head of the field to help keep an eye on things.

The gap bounced up and down but the ten in the breakaway calmly continued on their way, working well together. With 60km left, they had less than two minutes. Unfortunately, as the gap disappeared, so did the sun, with clouds increasingly rolling n.

The first action came with 45km to go. AG2R, at the race without a sprinter, sent Alexis Gougeard up the road. He got a gap on the peloton but was unable to make up ground on the leaders and was soon back in the field.

That lead group started falling apart with 39km to go. Poli, at 20 the youngest rider in the race, was the first to drop back, soon followed by Frapporti and Zurlo.

The breakaway and peloton flew down the Capo Berto, with the gap dropping under a minute. Katusha gathered at the front of the field.

With the Cipressa beckoning, the pace kicked up again, with Bahrain-Merida leading the charge. With its 5.6km length and a maximum gradient of 9%, it has in the past played a decisive role. Today it saw the end of the breakaway, which was caught shortly after the start of the climb. Rovny, Clarke, and Amezqueta held out longest but they too were doomed.

A handful of riders jumped on the way up but were doomed when Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) joined them. He was too dangerous and the field pulled them back. Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) gave it a try as well, being briefly joined by Androni's Mattia Cattaneo. Sunweb then had Dumoulin and Simon Geschke at the head of the field pushing the tempo to drop as many sprinters as possible.

Bahrain-Merida led the rapid descent on the narrow and curving road. As they hit the flat, Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) took off, followed closely by Philippe Gilbert (QuickStep). A group of about 10 built up a small gap before Sagan and Bora-Hansgrohe led the chase to catch them, and then remained at the front. At the back, riders who had been dropped began catching on again.

Tom Boonen, in his last Milan-San Remo, took over the lead work in service of his teammates.

The Poggio, the last climb, saw Sky at the front, but Dumoulin again popped up at the front. The Dutchman pushed a gruelling pace before leaving the work to Sky and Sagan.

Shortly before the summit, at one of the steepest sections, World Champion Sagan took off. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky) followed. The trio flew down the descent, taking every risk on the tight hairpin curves, arriving at the bottom with 16 seconds and 2.5 km left.

Trek-Segafredo rode desperately to close the gap and bring John Degenkolb into position but they had no chance, and five seconds after Kwiatkowski took out a surprise victory, the peloton was led to the line by Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin).

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky7:08:39 
2Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe  
3Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors  
4Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin0:00:05 
5Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors  
6Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ  
7John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo  
8Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
9Elia Viviani (Ita) Team Sky  
10Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-Scott  
11Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica-Scott  
12Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb  
13Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida  
14Daniele Bennati (Ita) Movistar Team  
15Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
16Luka Mezgec (Slo) Orica-Scott  
17Ben Swift (GBr) Team UAE Emirates  
18Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
19Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data  
20Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
21Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
22Jos Van Emden (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
23Matti Breschel (Den) Astana Pro Team  
24Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
25Oscar Gatto (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
26Bram Tankink (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
27Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-Scott  
28Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team  
29Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors  
30Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
31Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Wilier Triestina  
32Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Dimension Data  
33Iuri Filosi (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
34Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
35Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Astana Pro Team  
36Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-Scott  
37Alberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac  
38Stephen Cummings (GBr) Dimension Data  
39Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo  
40Diego Ulissi (Ita) Team UAE Emirates  
41Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale  
42Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ  
43Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
44Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar Team  
45Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-Scott  
46Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal  
47Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida  
48Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
49Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Sky  
50Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
51Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
52Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-Scott  
53Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Bahrain-Merida  
54Davide Cimolai (Ita) FDJ0:00:18 
55Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quick-Step Floors0:00:20 
56Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida0:00:31 
57Matej Mohoric (Slo) Team UAE Emirates  
58Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo  
59Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha-Alpecin0:00:53 
60Matteo Busato (Ita) Wilier Triestina0:01:08 
61Manuele Mori (Ita) Team UAE Emirates0:01:35 
62Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ  
63Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Movistar Team  
64Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Team Sky  
65Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick-Step Floors  
66Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe  
67Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
68Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe0:01:45 
69Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb0:02:25 
70Grega Bole (Slo) Bahrain-Merida0:02:28 
71Eduard Grosu (Rom) Nippo - Vini Fantini0:03:52 
72Koen De Kort (Ned) Trek-Segafredo  
73Michael Morkov (Den) Katusha-Alpecin  
74Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe  
75Ivan Savitskiy (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo0:03:55 
76Yonder Godoy (Ven) Wilier Triestina  
77Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
78Reto Hollenstein (Swi) Katusha-Alpecin  
79Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
80Martin Elmiger (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
81Marco Marcato (Ita) Team UAE Emirates  
82Toms Skujins (Lat) Cannondale-Drapac  
83Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
84Hugo Houle (Can) AG2R La Mondiale  
85Fausto Masnada (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
86Pier Paolo De Negri (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
87Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Sunweb  
88Marcus Burghardt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe  
89Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb  
90Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Wilier Triestina  
91Paul Martens (Ger) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
92Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky  
93Simon Clarke (Aus) Cannondale-Drapac  
94Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale  
95Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe  
96Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-Merida  
97Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky  
98Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky  
99Quentin Jauregui (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:03:59 
100Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha-Alpecin  
101Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data0:05:24 
102Marco Frapporti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
103Alexey Tsatevich (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo  
104David Lozano (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk  
105Raffaello Bonusi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
106Simone Andreetta (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
107Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Cannondale-Drapac  
108Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
109Ruslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
110Simone Velasco (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
111Andrey Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team  
112Francisco Ventoso (Spa) BMC Racing Team  
113Juraj Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe  
114Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin  
115Manuele Boaro (Ita) Bahrain-Merida  
116Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors  
117Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale-Drapac  
118Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Quick-Step Floors  
119Nuno Bico (Por) Movistar Team  
120Jorge Arcas Peña (Spa) Movistar Team  
121Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb  
122Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Lotto Soudal  
123Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ  
124Pavel Brutt (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
125Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
126Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R La Mondiale  
127Gregory Rast (Swi) Trek-Segafredo  
128Luca Wackermann (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
129Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) FDJ  
130Ivan Rovny (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
131Sacha Modolo (Ita) Team UAE Emirates  
132Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
133Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
134Carlos Betancur (Col) Movistar Team  
135Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) Team UAE Emirates  
136Enrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
137Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica-Scott  
138Thomas Leezer (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
139Julen Amezqueta (Spa) Wilier Triestina  
140Davide Ballerini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli0:08:34 
141Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale  
142Charles Planet (Fra) Team Novo Nordisk  
143Kiel Reijnen (USA) Trek-Segafredo  
144Borut Bozic (Slo) Bahrain-Merida  
145Carlos Barbero (Spa) Movistar Team  
146Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Sunweb  
147Alexander Porsev (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
148Twan Castelijns (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
149Héctor Carretero (Spa) Movistar Team  
150Mark Renshaw (Aus) Dimension Data  
151Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) FDJ  
152Nico Denz (Ger) AG2R La Mondiale  
153Mirco Maestri (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
154Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
155Alan Marangoni (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
156William Clarke (Aus) Cannondale-Drapac  
157Manuel Belletti (Ita) Wilier Triestina  
158Andrea Palini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
159Javier Megias (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk  
160Truls Korsaeth (Nor) Astana Pro Team  
161Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
162Jack Bauer (NZl) Quick-Step Floors0:09:23 
163Jakub Mareczko (Ita) Wilier Triestina0:10:44 
164Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
165Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Soudal  
166Martijn Verschoor (Ned) Team Novo Nordisk  
167Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Soudal  
168Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
169Thomas Scully (NZl) Cannondale-Drapac  
170Scott Thwaites (GBr) Dimension Data  
171Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
172Nathan Brown (USA) Cannondale-Drapac  
173Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:14:15 
174Eugenio Alafaci (Ita) Trek-Segafredo  
175Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Team Sky  
176Julien Vermote (Bel) Quick-Step Floors  
177Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
178Miles Scotson (Aus) BMC Racing Team  
179Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) Bora-Hansgrohe  
180Artur Ershov (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
181Jay Robert Thomson (RSA) Dimension Data  
182Marco Coledan (Ita) Trek-Segafredo  
183Fabio Calabria (Aus) Team Novo Nordisk  
184Kenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
185Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Dimension Data  
186Mattia Frapporti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
187Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team Sunweb  
188Albert Timmer (Ned) Team Sunweb  
189Maxim Belkov (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin  
190Rik van Ijzendoorn (Ned) Novo Nordisk0:16:40 
191Federico Zurlo (Ita) Team UAE Emirates0:17:22 
192Umberto Poli (Ita) Team Novo Nordisk  
193Roman Maikin (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
194Kohei Uchima (Jpn) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
195Brian Kamstra (Ned) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFWilliam Bonnet (Fra) FDJ  
DNFNicola Boem (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFPaolo Simion (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
DNFHideto Nakane (Jpn) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
DNFRick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin  

 

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