The yearly seven-hour battle between the sprinters and puncheurs that is Milan-San Remo has once again come and gone, and for 2019 we can strike another one up to the latter – the third in a row for that most versatile of rider groupings.
Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) was the man to continue the mini-streak on Saturday afternoon, pulling off a masterful display in the finale. The Frenchman was ably aided by his powerful Quick Step team on the final climb of the day, the legendary Poggio, before launching over the top.
He wasn’t alone though – far from it, in fact. The best of the best had joined him, with the last two winners Michał Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) up there, along with legends of the modern era Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), among others.
After navigating the potential treachery of the Poggio descent, there were attacks to deal with, first in the form of Matteo Trentin’s (Mitchelton-Scott) bid and then when the young Slovene Matej Mohorič (Bahrain-Merida) went for glory in the final kilometre.
But they were dealt with, and then it was Alaphilippe who was sitting pretty as the finishing line, decked in the garish orange of race sponsor NamedSport, loomed. First he sat on Sagan’s wheel, then Oliver Naesen’s (AG2R La Mondiale), then nobody’s.
That was the race, the first Monument victory of Alaphilippe’s five-year-old pro career. Naesen trailed in second, while Kwiatkowski earned a place on the last step of the podium. 87 seconds later, Alaphilippe’s teammates crossed the line together, hailing a masterclass.
Watch highlights of the action above.
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Daniel Ostanek has been a staff writer at Cyclingnews since August 2019, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later part-time production editor. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news and features, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content throughout the season.
Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Vuelta a España.
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