Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard) added a third place to his second places of 2011 and 2012 at Milan-San Remo but insisted he was satisfied with another place on the podium after struggling with the cold conditions that transformed La Primavera to the deepest winter.
"I'm happy to make it here (San Remo). To battle to win and to bring home a win would have been better and so I was initially upset but in the end, I placed third. It's not bad. I think we can put away any excuses because to arrive here is a victory in itself," he said after the podium ceremony.
"I'm sorry that it hasn’t been a true San Remo. A true San Remo is the Turchino, Manie and the Primavera. It was not even the spring compared to yesterday."
Cancellara was part of the front group that formed over the top of the Poggio. He closely marked Peter Sagan but was unable to get away in the final two kilometres and so was condemned to the role of bridesmaid yet again.
He revealed that like most riders, he suffered moments of pain in the cold and snow in the morning and then again in the heavy rain that soaked the second part of the race.
"I had a number of problems today. I didn't eat enough after the restart. I would've liked to even gone to sleep in the bus, but of course that wasn't possible," Cancellara said.
"I had my bad moments before the feed zone, I was so frozen. I went back to the team car and (Team manager) Luca Guercilena gave me back a lot of confidence. That was the key. I brought the result home, it's not a win, but it feels like a win given the situation."
"We had a plan this morning and I'm one of the leaders of the team so I wanted to finish this. Everyone has done a great job today."
While some riders climbed off and complained about the conditions, Cancellara was proud to have made it to San Remo.
"We're not football players or other athletes who can do something else, that is the race, in the end the weather is the way it is. Clearly, we decided to race and that's that," he said.
"We can go home with our heads high. We weren't just sitting on the couch with our feet propped up drinking tea. It was 2-3 degrees [Celsius] outside, under water and snow, wind... everything."
"For that reason, seven hours on the bike, split in two stages, is never easy, but I think I can go home with my family, enjoy my birthday (on Monday) and look ahead to the Belgium races, where I hope we can race."
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