Alaphilippe wins Milan-San Remo

It may have been the first Monument of the season, but the story was the one we’ve seen so often already this year. Some 175 men fought for half the day to win a bike race, and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) ended up on the top step of the podium.

Milan-San Remo is the seventh victory of the season for the Frenchman, and the 19th for his team - no doubt the sweetest yet. Part of an elite group contesting the win in San Remo, Alaphilippe beat Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale) and Michał Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) to the top spot after a tense sprint to the line.

The Frenchman had played a major part in forming the elite group that made it to the finish, launching an attack over the top of Poggio and bringing a number of the strongest men in the sport with him. Peter Sagan, Alejandro Valverde, Vincenzo Nibali and Kwiatkowski – they were all there – but it was Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) and Matej Mohorič (Bahrain-Merida) who tried to make their mark on the run-in to the finish.

Both were caught, however, setting up the battle royal sprint to the line. Mohorič went again, flying past Sagan, who led the way to the line. Alaphilippe masterfully switched wheels before heading into the wind himself after seven hours in the saddle. Another win for the 26-year-old, his best yet.

“It’s difficult to realise what I did and what my team did,” Alaphilippe reflected after the race. “They protected me all day. Tim Declercq was pulling all race and in the final we controlled and made the race harder, and I had to do no mistakes.

“I was really focused to control the attacks, and with 600 metres to go when Mohorič went to attack I said ‘it’s now or never’. It’s unbelievable – I saw my teammates after the finish and everybody was crying.

“I made a big effort at the top of the Poggio to make a big selection, and to see what could happen. At the end I was only with strong riders and I tried to recover in the downhill. In the last two kilometres I said I want to win – no second place.

“I need time to realise [what I’ve achieved]. I’m very happy.”

How it happened

The riders signed under warm spring sunshine in the shadow of the Castello Sforzesco in the centre of Milan, happy to race in spring-like conditions after a rain-soaked start in 2018.

The 2018 winner Vincenzo Nibali, and world champion Alejandro Valverde, lined up at the head of the race, while the likes of Sagan, Fernando Gaviria and Caleb Ewan preferred to stay out of the spotlight and lined up at the back of the peloton. All 175 riders on the start list signed on and started the 110th edition of Milan-San Remo.

The riders always consider Milan-San Remo a 300km race because they include the 7.5km neutralised sector out of central Milan as kilometres in the saddle. The official start is at an anonymous point on the Via della Chiesa Rossa that heads south out of Milan.

As soon as the flag dropped, the attacks to go into the early break began. But with the peloton facing seven hours in the saddle, 10 riders were quickly given their freedom and a moment in the Milan-San Remo spotlight.

The 10 were Fausto Masnada (Androni Giocattoli), Mirco Maestri, Alessandro Tonelli (both Bardiani CSF), Guy Sagiv (Israel Cycling Academy), Luca Raggio, Sebastian Schönberger (both Neri Sottoli) with Joonas Henttala, Andrea Peron, Charles Planet and Umberto Poli all there for Novo Nordisk.

The peloton let them go and they opened a one-minute gap in 10km. After 30km, the gap was up to 10 minutes, but that was the maximum the peloton allowed before upping the pace and starting to control the breakaway. The average speed for the first hour on the Lombardy plane near Pavia and the River Po was a quick 44.4km/h.

A number of teams agreed to share the work, with Adam Hansen riding for Lotto Soudal, Tim Declercq for Deceuninck-QuickStep, while UAE Team Emirates and Bora-Hansgrohe also helped with the hard graft. The gap to the break began to fall as the Passo del Turchino began to loom on the horizon.

Nathan Van Hooydonck of the CCC Team was the first rider to abandon after Novi Ligure as the 100km sign approached. The first feed zone came after 134km as the gradient of the Passo del Turchino began to hurt just a little. The break reached the 120-metre long tunnel at the summit with a lead of 5:50 and dived down to the sun soaked Mediterranean coast.

With 154km covered, there was 137km left to race along the coast west to San Remo. The break worked smoothly together, desperate to maintain as much of their lead as possible. The gap was 5:45 with 100km to go but the peloton gradually upped the pace as the tension rose and the kilometres clicked down.

The break reached the second feed in Ceriale after 221km with their lead down to 3:30. Musettes were grabbed quickly as the speed stayed high. There was time to take on fresh bidons and some final food before the final of Milan-San Remo began on the Capi climbs.

The Capo Mele comes the first with 51km to go. The difference between the 10-rider break and the peloton was clearly noticeable, and the gap fell below 2:30 for the first time. The Capo Cervo caused no problem but the break fell apart on the harder Capo Berta when Schönberger attacked with 40km to go. But the peloton was rapidly closing them down, hitting the Capo Berta at 62km/h.

Masnada hunted down the pursuing Bardiani CSF riders before passing Schönberger and cresting the summit of the Berta alone. He had the now-traditional flare cloud to battle through, with the smoke wafting in a direction indicating a cross-headwind along the coast.

Hitting the bottom of the Cipressa, with 27km to race, Masnada was alone as the peloton swallowed up the remains of the break. His brave effort lasted until around halfway up the climb, before he too was swept up as Astana and Groupama-FDJ led the way.

The pace was perhaps not as high as it could be on the Cipressa, with the peloton not lined out. Some of the more climb-averse sprinters would certainly have been happy with how things were progressing, at least, though Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) and Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) looked to be hanging on at the rear of the group.

Local boy Niccolò Bonifazio (Direct Énergie) launched a daring attack on the descent, racing the lead motorbike down to the flat road before to the Poggio. He had a 20-second advantage at the bottom, but was caught before reaching the foot of the Poggio.

Team Sky and Deceuninck-QuickStep led the way onto the final hill of the race, setting a high pace for their men, Kwiatkowski and Alaphilippe. The first attack came seven kilometres out as Alberto Bettiol (EF Education First) launched.

Alaphilippe soon followed, with Kwiatkowski and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) in close pursuit. Cresting the summit, the trio were together with Trentin, Valverde, Naesen and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma).

Several more riders chased on down the descent, including Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb), Mohorič, Nibali (both Bahrain-Merida), and Simon Clarke (EF Education First).

Trentin tried a solo move on the flat, but was chased down by race debutant Van Aert under the flamme rouge. Mohorič went next, 800 metres from the line, before a relative lull in the proceedings as the contenders looked around for the next move.

Sagan hit the front in the final 500 metres, with Alaphilippe glued to his wheel before the brief game of cat and mouse ended as Mohorič went for it again. In a flash, Alaphilippe switched wheels, getting to Mohorič before Naesen could.

In the final 150 metres, Alaphilippe hit the wind once again, as he had on the Poggio. This time, though, he wouldn’t be caught. As it has been so many times already this season, it was just a question of who would be the runner-up.

 

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep6:40:14
2Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La MondialeRow 1 - Cell 2
3Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team SkyRow 2 - Cell 2
4Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-HansgroheRow 3 - Cell 2
5Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-MeridaRow 4 - Cell 2
6Wout Van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo-VismaRow 5 - Cell 2
7Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 6 - Cell 2
8Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 7 - Cell 2
9Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education FirstRow 8 - Cell 2
10Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-ScottRow 9 - Cell 2
11Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb0:00:03
12Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb0:00:08
13Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe0:00:24
14Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates0:00:27
15Magnus Cort (Den) AstanaRow 14 - Cell 2
16Fernando Gaviria (Col) UAE Team EmiratesRow 15 - Cell 2
17Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha-AlpecinRow 16 - Cell 2
18Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team Jumbo-VismaRow 17 - Cell 2
19Davide Ballerini (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 18 - Cell 2
20Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Dimension DataRow 19 - Cell 2
21Amund Grondahl Jansen (Nor) Team Jumbo-VismaRow 20 - Cell 2
22Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 21 - Cell 2
23Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 22 - Cell 2
24Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 23 - Cell 2
25Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-ScottRow 24 - Cell 2
26Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension DataRow 25 - Cell 2
27Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-AlpecinRow 26 - Cell 2
28Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-HansgroheRow 27 - Cell 2
29Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto SoudalRow 28 - Cell 2
30Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Bora-HansgroheRow 29 - Cell 2
31Simone Velasco (Ita) Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTMRow 30 - Cell 2
32Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 31 - Cell 2
33Matteo Montaguti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-SidermecRow 32 - Cell 2
34Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-SegafredoRow 33 - Cell 2
35Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 34 - Cell 2
36Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education FirstRow 35 - Cell 2
37Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Katusha-AlpecinRow 36 - Cell 2
38Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 37 - Cell 2
39Jos van Emden (Ned) Team Jumbo-VismaRow 38 - Cell 2
40Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Dimension DataRow 39 - Cell 2
41Anthony Turgis (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 40 - Cell 2
42Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC TeamRow 41 - Cell 2
43Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 42 - Cell 2
44Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Education FirstRow 43 - Cell 2
45Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team SkyRow 44 - Cell 2
46Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team SunwebRow 45 - Cell 2
47Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 46 - Cell 2
48Marc Hirschi (Swi) Team SunwebRow 47 - Cell 2
49Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Dimension DataRow 48 - Cell 2
50Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 49 - Cell 2
51Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Dimension DataRow 50 - Cell 2
52Soren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team SunwebRow 51 - Cell 2
53Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 52 - Cell 2
54Sven Erik Bystrom (Nor) UAE Team EmiratesRow 53 - Cell 2
55Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Groupama-FDJ0:00:35
56Niki Terpstra (Ned) Direct EnergieRow 55 - Cell 2
57Stephen Cummings (GBr) Dimension DataRow 56 - Cell 2
58Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) CCC Team0:01:01
59Stefan Kung (Swi) Groupama-FDJ0:01:15
60Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro TeamRow 59 - Cell 2
61Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 60 - Cell 2
62Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 61 - Cell 2
63Carlos Barbero (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 62 - Cell 2
64Marcus Burghardt (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 63 - Cell 2
65Elia Viviani (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep0:01:27
66Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStepRow 65 - Cell 2
67Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Deceuninck-QuickStepRow 66 - Cell 2
68Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStepRow 67 - Cell 2
69Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Israel Cycling Academy0:01:29
70Larry Warbasse (USA) AG2R La MondialeRow 69 - Cell 2
71Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 70 - Cell 2
72Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 71 - Cell 2
73Marco Marcato (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 72 - Cell 2
74Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Katusha-AlpecinRow 73 - Cell 2
75Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 74 - Cell 2
76Jose Goncalves (Por) Katusha-AlpecinRow 75 - Cell 2
77Umberto Marengo (Ita) Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTMRow 76 - Cell 2
78Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team Jumbo-VismaRow 77 - Cell 2
79Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo0:01:33
80Matteo Busato (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec0:01:36
81Sacha Modolo (Ita) EF Education First0:01:54
82Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo0:02:06
83Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo0:02:13
84John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo0:02:37
85Manuel Belletti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec0:02:39
86Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) CCC Team0:02:54
87Taco van der Hoorn (Ned) Team Jumbo-VismaRow 86 - Cell 2
88Yevgeniy Gidich (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 87 - Cell 2
89Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 88 - Cell 2
90Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani CSFRow 89 - Cell 2
91Carlos Betancur (Col) Movistar Team0:03:11
92Dorian Godon (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 91 - Cell 2
93Luis Mas Bonet (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 92 - Cell 2
94Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Lotto SoudalRow 93 - Cell 2
95Danny van Poppel (Ned) Team Jumbo-VismaRow 94 - Cell 2
96Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-SidermecRow 95 - Cell 2
97Manuele Boaro (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 96 - Cell 2
98Jonas Gregaard Wilsly (Den) Astana Pro TeamRow 97 - Cell 2
99Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) CCC TeamRow 98 - Cell 2
100Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 99 - Cell 2
101Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-SidermecRow 100 - Cell 2
102Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Deceuninck-QuickStepRow 101 - Cell 2
103Luke Rowe (GBr) Team SkyRow 102 - Cell 2
104Oscar Gatto (Ita) Bora-HansgroheRow 103 - Cell 2
105Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education FirstRow 104 - Cell 2
106Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Bahrain-Merida0:03:39
107Kristijan Koren (Slo) Bahrain-Merida0:03:51
108Nikolas Maes (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:04:46
109Reto Hollenstein (Swi) Katusha-Alpecin0:05:22
110Koen de Kort (Ned) Trek-Segafredo0:05:26
111Michael Schar (Swi) CCC TeamRow 110 - Cell 2
112Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team SkyRow 111 - Cell 2
113Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Mitchelton-Scott0:05:27
114Filippo Ganna (Ita) Team Sky0:06:31
115Owain Doull (GBr) Team SkyRow 114 - Cell 2
116Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Bahrain-MeridaRow 115 - Cell 2
117Roger Kluge (Ger) Lotto SoudalRow 116 - Cell 2
118Julius van den Berg (Ned) EF Education FirstRow 117 - Cell 2
119Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-ScottRow 118 - Cell 2
120Robert Stannard (Aus) Mitchelton-ScottRow 119 - Cell 2
121Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 120 - Cell 2
122Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Groupama-FDJRow 121 - Cell 2
123Zico Waeytens (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 122 - Cell 2
124Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) CCC TeamRow 123 - Cell 2
125Marco Frapporti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-SidermecRow 124 - Cell 2
126Fausto Masnada (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-SidermecRow 125 - Cell 2
127Luca Pacioni (Ita) Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTMRow 126 - Cell 2
128Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Dimension DataRow 127 - Cell 2
129Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 128 - Cell 2
130Jerome Cousin (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 129 - Cell 2
131Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Direct EnergieRow 130 - Cell 2
132Mads Schmidt Wurtz (Den) Katusha-Alpecin0:07:45
133Matthias Brandle (Aut) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 132 - Cell 2
134Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Sunweb0:10:18
135Conor Dunne (Irl) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 134 - Cell 2
136Guy Sagiv (Isr) Israel Cycling AcademyRow 135 - Cell 2
137Sebastian Schonberger (Aut) Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTMRow 136 - Cell 2
138David Lozano Riba (Spa) Team Novo NordiskRow 137 - Cell 2
139Joonas Henttala (Fin) Team Novo NordiskRow 138 - Cell 2
140Charles Planet (Fra) Team Novo NordiskRow 139 - Cell 2
141PŽter Kusztor (Hun) Team Novo NordiskRow 140 - Cell 2
142Mirco Maestri (Ita) Bardiani CSFRow 141 - Cell 2
143Umberto Orsini (Ita) Bardiani CSFRow 142 - Cell 2
144Daniele Bennati (Ita) Movistar TeamRow 143 - Cell 2
145Michal Golas (Pol) Team SkyRow 144 - Cell 2
146Markel Irizar (Spa) Trek-SegafredoRow 145 - Cell 2
147Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 146 - Cell 2
148Olivier Le Gac (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 147 - Cell 2
149Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Movistar TeamRow 148 - Cell 2
150Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates0:13:56
151Julien Duval (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 150 - Cell 2
152Tim Declercq (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep0:14:42
153Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 152 - Cell 2
154Oliviero Troia (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 153 - Cell 2
155Kenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 154 - Cell 2
156Paul Ourselin (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 155 - Cell 2
157Sam Brand (GBr) Team Novo NordiskRow 156 - Cell 2
158Alessandro Tonelli (Ita) Bardiani CSFRow 157 - Cell 2
159Fabien Grellier (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 158 - Cell 2
160Daniel McLay (GBr) EF Education FirstRow 159 - Cell 2
161Andrea Peron (Ita) Team Novo NordiskRow 160 - Cell 2
162Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTMRow 161 - Cell 2
163Luca Raggio (Ita) Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTMRow 162 - Cell 2
164Edoardo Affini (Ita) Mitchelton-ScottRow 163 - Cell 2
165Umberto Poli (Ita) Team Novo Nordisk0:19:25
166Michael Hepburn (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott0:20:53
167Alessandro Pessot (Ita) Bardiani CSFRow 166 - Cell 2
168Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto SoudalRow 167 - Cell 2
DNFDylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-MeridaRow 168 - Cell 2
DNFVincenzo Albanese (Ita) Bardiani CSFRow 169 - Cell 2
DNFLorenzo Rota (Ita) Bardiani CSFRow 170 - Cell 2
DNFMaciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-HansgroheRow 171 - Cell 2
DNFNathan Van Hooydonck (Bel) CCC TeamRow 172 - Cell 2
DNFLiam Bertazzo (Ita) Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTMRow 173 - Cell 2
DNFCasper Pedersen (Den) Team SunwebRow 174 - Cell 2

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