Cyclingnews' Anthony Tan spoke to several riders at the finish line in Milan today, before they dashed off to their respective team buses. Bradley McGee (Francaise des Jeux), who got 64th today inside the chase group, was impressed with the speed of the race. "Oh, it's always faster than you remember - it's unbelievably fast. As soon as you get to the coast, it gets faster and faster..." he said. The crash before the Cipressa "sort of changed the face of the race a bit," he continued. The crash split the peloton in parts, and those left behind saw their chances of finishing in a good spot vanishing with the riders in front.
Cofidis' Matt White passed the line on the Via Roma more than four minutes later than Alessandro Petacchi. "Same shit as always," he told Cyclingnews, clearly annoyed with at this result. "Those nervous last couple of hours... [Speaking about the crash] I had to bridge across on my own: I had to stop for the crash, walk through the crash and chase; I got on, but I went so deep, I got dropped at the top of the Cipressa. But that's how it goes, mate - I've got good form, but there's nothing I could do about it today."
American champion Fred Rodriguez (Davitamon-Lotto) finished nine seconds down. The sprinter clearly could have done better in this sort of race situation, but still felt the effects of his last race, Paris-Nice. "I crashed in Paris-Nice, and I haven't recovered from that yet," he said. "My left leg's not working - I've been getting therapy, but it's not recovering. I felt it in the last 20 km: when you're putting full gas, I don't have 100 percent yet."
German Danilo Hondo, meanwhile, couldn't be happier with his performance of today. "I am very satisfied," the Gerolsteiner sprinter said after placing second. "To lose against Petacchi in his current form is nothing to be ashamed of. But he is not unbeatable, I've seen that at Tirreno-Adriatico. I'll be back next year to win!" he concluded.
Philippe Gilbert (Francaise des Jeux) was able to finish sixth, which he was happy with. "I was well positioned. Also on the Poggio, but I didn't attack there. I waited to the sprint, but Oscar Freire and Danilo Hondo were riding dangerously there. I'm not really a sprinter, so I can be really happy with this placing.
Tom Boonen (Quick.Step) did everything right but ended up eighth after missing Petacchi's jump with 200m to go. "Everything was going well, but because of a stupid manoevre I couldn't sprint," said Boonen. "On the Cipressa, I was doing it easy, on the Poggio it was a bit harder but it was OK. Just before the sprint I was on Petacchi's wheel, it was perfect. I saw the finish coming: Bettini wanted Petacchi to start the sprint, but he waited and that's why I jumped. But then four riders came next to me and I was boxed in. I was stuck. As a team, we did everything we had to. Of course this is hard.
Milan-San Remo coverage
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