Italy endured another dire Milan-San Remo, with Filippo Pozzato (Southeast) best of the home nation after finishing eighth in the chaotic sprint finish in Via Roma. His teammate Andrea Fedi also attacked alone on the Poggio and finished 22nd, in the same time as Arnaud Demare (FDJ).
Pozzato remains the last Italian to win Milan-San Remo in 2006. He struggled to secure results during his three years with Lampre-Merida after a dispute with the team's management, but often rises to the big occasion. His Southeast team was not invited to Tirreno-Adriatico and so Pozzato and Fedi spent a week training in Gran Canaria, doing lots of kilometres and speed work to be on form for Milan-San Remo.
"I'm often critical of Pippo but I'm proud of his and the team's performance in Milan-San Remo," directeur sportif Luca Scinto told Cyclingnews.
"He worked really hard in recent weeks and showed he could compete with the best despite not riding Tirreno. That's impressive. He, Fedi and all the young guys in the team rode well and everyone finished.
"Fedi was actually hoping to go on the Cipressa but couldn't find a way through when Stannard and Visconti went, so he went on the Poggio. That takes balls and great form to do it and it was a real pity that none of the big-name riders went with him, otherwise we could have seen a very different finale to Milan-San Remo."
Pozzato and his Southeast teammates will head to Belgium this week to ride Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday, E3 Harelbeke on Friday and then the Three Days of De Panne before the Tour of Flanders. The team was not invited to Sunday's Gent-Wevelgem or Paris-Roubaix.
"Milan-San Remo has boosted our optimism about what we can do in Belgium, it's just a real pity we didn't get a place in Paris-Roubaix because Pippo has often done well there," Scinto said.
"I'm not one for empty coincidences but Pippo finished sixth in Milan-San Remo when he was with us in 2012 and then he was second in the Tour of Flanders. There's no reason why that can't happen again."