Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) explained that he viewed Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) as the danger man in the finale of Milan-San Remo and that his efforts to close down the Belgian’s dangerous move inside the final two kilometres meant that he had little left for the sprint.
Pozzato was again left disappointed at the end of a major Classic when he crossed the line in fifth place, and in spite of an enviably consistent record in the biggest one-day races, the talented Italian has failed to land another monument since his victory in San Remo in 2006. He admitted that his pursuit of Gilbert was prompted by his decision not to chase down Fabian Cancellara at the same juncture in 2008.
“I paid a high price for the effort I put in trying to get back up to Gilbert in the last kilometre, but a few years ago, I was burned by Cancellara in a similar situation,” Pozzato told Tuttobici after the finish. “I knew that I was running a risk, but all told, that was my only way of trying to win San Remo.”
When the remainder of the leading group managed to hold Pozzato’s wheel and bring back Gilbert, he realised that his best chance of winning the race had passed him by, and he had little left in the tank for the finishing sprint.
“In the finishing straight, after having used so much energy, I did a sprint purely on grit, and honestly, I couldn’t have done any more than that,” Pozzato said. “But congratulations to the winner. At a certain point, I was hoping to be able to do better than fifth, but it has to be admitted that there were some really prestigious names up there at the finish.”