Mohoric: I thought Colbrelli was with me but it was Nibali

Confusion and disappointment were the two overriding feelings for Matej Mohorič (Bahrain-Merida) as he ground to a halt on the Via Roma after an almost seven-hour effort in Milan-San Remo.

On the face of it, fifth on the line – his best result in three attempts – was a fine result for the 24-year-old, but after confusion in the finale the Slovenian powerhouse only saw the race as a missed opportunity.

Mohorič had done everything right for most of the day. He was there or thereabouts when Julian Alaphilippe and his Deceuninck-Quick Step team blew the race to pieces on the Poggio, and then regained contact with the elite lead group on the descent before the flat-run in.

When there was a general regrouping with just over a kilometer remaining, Mohorič even began to ghost off the front of the lead group. He was quickly caught but he instinctively took his place on the front as he prepared to lead-out his teammate Sonny Colbrelli.

The only problem for Mohorič was that Colbrelli wasn’t present and that the Bahrain-Merida rider nestled neatly at the back of the group was Vincenzo Nibali. The Italian all-rounder is no slouch but he is no Colbrelli when it comes to sprints.

“In the finale I tried to bridge back to the front group with Vincenzo and Sonny but I didn’t hear it on the radio because I thought that Sonny was with me,” Mohorič told Cyclingnews

“I tried to anticipate because I saw a moment, but Alaphilippe got back to me,” he said in relation to his brief flurry off the front.

“Then I was all-in for the sprint but Sonny wasn’t there, so there was a bit of confusion there. I started my sprint too early for the leadout for Sonny but it was only fifth in the end. You never lose though, because you either win or you learn something. 

“It’s hard to understand things on the radio and it’s hard to react. That’s just how the racing is. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you don’t.” 

Mohorič came into Milan-San Remo on the back of a consistent start to the season. His spring is built around a concrete plan to take on the Classics, with a schedule that includes Gent-Wevelgem, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubiax.

Although Milan-San Remo represented an error in judgement, the Slovenian could take heart from his performance. He was among the second wave of riders to bridge over after Alaphilippe split the race, and was the only rider to attack on the run-in and then attempt to contest the sprint, despite leading out from the front too early. 

“I’m happy with my form but I’m not happy with the results. I would have liked to have waited more, but like I said I thought it was Sonny behind me but it was Vincenzo. When I turned around for a second I saw a Bahrain rider.”

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