Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton Scott) dominated the sprint on the Via Roma at the finish of the 2018 edition of Milan-San Remo, using his aero tuck position down the middle of the famous finish to put several bike lengths into Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) and Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates).
The Australian's only problem was that Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) was just ahead of him and hit the finish line first to win by holding off all the sprinters after his solo attack on the Poggio.
Ewan was stunned to go so close to victory but sportingly praised Nibali for his result. His only consolation was proving he has the qualities to win Milan-San Remo in the years to come.
"It's not every day you come so close to winning a Monument and this was a race I really wanted to do well in this year. I was a little disappointed not to win," Ewan said post-race behind the podium area before bring congratulated and encouraged by directeur sportif Matt White.
"Vincenzo had a really strong today and so it was always going to be hard to bring him back, knowing how well he descends and knowing how strong he is. He was too strong today."
Ewan only had one regret.
"I think the race went exactly as I wanted it to. The team did a really good job as well; they put me in a good position on both the Poggio and Cipressa so I did not need to fight too much. All that went wrong for us is that Vincenzo was too strong."
"In Via Roma, I was just thinking of doing my own sprint and if we caught Nibali, we caught him, if we didn't, we didn't. I was just focusing on my sprint as there were still good sprinters there and I knew it would be tough."
Ewan has ridden Milan-San Remo twice in his young career, finishing 10th in 2017 and second this year. It is the only Monument he has ridden but he is now a possible future winner.
"After this year I know I can potentially win this race so I can come back next year and the year after and try to win," he said.
"It's a race I'm always going to be targeting throughout my career and I hope I can win it one day."