Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) tried desperately to escape the grip of the sprinters at Milan-San Remo but paid for his aggressive riding in the finish and could only watch as Matt Goss (HTC-Highroad) and even Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) came past him in sight of the finish line. He finished third but knew he had missed out on a great chance of winning.
Gilbert had several teammates with him in the front group after the crash on Le Manie but that numerical advantage turned against him when other riders put the burden on them to control the attacks on the Cipressa and Poggio.
He tried to get away over the Poggio and tried again on the streets of San Remo but he was chased down and had to try and take on Goss in the finishing straight.
"I think I rode a good race. My form is good but I was a little but unlucky and I was alone in the last 10 kilometres," Gilbert told Belgian television before heading to his home in Monaco with his family.
"When the four got away on the Aurelia (the coast road), everyone waited for us to chase. And that cost us. I tried to get away with [Vincenzo] Nibali on the Poggio but it was a little bit late. Then on the descent I had to brake when [Marco] Marcato crashed and I was closely marked in the finale."
Gilbert was very critical of Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) after the Italian chased him down on the flat road at the bottom of the Poggio.
"At 2.5km from the finish I made a good move but my good friend Pozzato took me back. Why?" he asked bitterly.
"I still tried in the sprint after that but when I saw that Goss was with us, I knew it would be nearly impossible. Goss was too strong and had played the game perfectly."
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