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Milan-San Remo 2023 - How Van der Poel claimed his third Monument

Mathieu van der Poel, 2023 Milan-San Remo winner

Mathieu van der Poel, 2023 MIlan-San Remo winner (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

The route of the 2023 Milan-San Remo

(Image credit: RCS Sport)

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the 2023 Milan-San Remo.

Racing is set to start in roughly 30 minutes. A reminder that the race starting in the town of  Abbiategrasso, about 25 kilometres further west of Milan. But after this unprecedented start, the remainder of the day's course is very much the traditional Milan-San Remo route. The finish in the town of San Remo, just a stone's throw away from Monaco and beyond that France, will be around 1700 local (CET) time.

The 175 riders are currently signing on. 

Wout van Aert has just been interviewed by our colleagues from The Belgian favourite says that he's at 98.5 percent of his top form and expects that he'll get a lot of support from teammate Jan Tratnik.

Peter Sagan (TotalEnergies) has also appeared at the sign-on podium of Milan-San Remo for one last time.

And the riders have just started moving away from the départ fictif. The 2023 edition of Milan-San Remo has begun.

Numerous public lining the streets of Abbiategrasso on what looks to be a dry, sunny day. Not much wind for now, though, there's due to be a tailwind later on when the race approaches the coast.

The neutralized section of San Remo this year before the race proper gets underway is 7.8 kilometres long. Meaning the total distance covered is almost 302 kilometres.

There are no less than eight former winners in this year's edition of Milan-San Remo: Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious) - 2022; Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) - 2021; Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma)  - 2020; Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-QuickStep) - 2019; Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers) - 2017;  Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ)  - 2016; John Degenkolb (DSM) - 2015  and Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan) - 2009.

The riders have left Abbiategrasso and have now headed out to the kilometre 0 sign.

They peloton has now reached kilometre 0 and have stopped briefly. A few fans take advantage of the unexpected halt to take a selfie.

To be confirmed but it looks as if Tadej Pogačar has crashed in the neutralized zone, to judge by the green stains on his jersey, but he's not looking at all injured.

And racing has officially begun. Only 294 kilometres to go.

292 kilometres to go

ABBIATEGRASSO ITALY The start of the 2023 Milan-San Remo

The start of the 2023 Milan-San Remo (Image credit: Getty)

Also present at the start of Milan-San Remo, but after its role in last year's race, needs no introduction: Mohoric's dropper post.

281 kilometres to go

And  seven more riders clip off the front to try and join Maestri and Tonelli ahead.,  and the pace in the bunch drops notably. After 16 kilometres of the 294 today now raced, we have the break of the day.

273 kilometres to go

271 kilometres to go

265 kilometres to go

255 kilometres to go

A fine series of insights by Cyclingnews' Barry Ryan into one of the top favourites and his outlook on the day ahead in this feature -  link here:  Wout van Aert: I don’t think I have to prove anything

And Daniel Ostanek has turned a keen eye on the men who matter in this year's Primavera here: Milan-San Remo 2023 – 5 favourites, 5 outsiders

Official confirmation that all 175 riders due to start this morning has come though, although a reminder that one key name who was expected to be part of Milan-San Remo, Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) is regrettably not present. You can read about why here.

Tirreno-Adriatico double stage winner Jasper Philipsen (Deceuninck-Alpecin) is one main favourite today, of course, and he had this to say to Cyclingnews' Steve Farrand and other reporters at the start today: "We have some guys that can sacrifice themselves in the climbs, and then a strong group of leaders that can go far in the race, see how we divide the roles. The legs will decide that. The Cipressa is the first good point when you can feel the legs and from then on they’re not going to get better."

240 kilometres to go

And Tadej Pogačar was also talking to reporters this morning. He's had nine wins this season and is on the hunt to make it into double figures today with the fourth Monument victory of his career. Interestingly, the UAE Team Emirates leader says he's not the big favourite, but not everybody would agree with that: "It’s a hard race to control but everyone will expect us to control the break, so I think it’ll be hard for the team but we have good guys here. There are a long list of rivals to watch. Last year it was a tailwind too and we had a fast climb on the Cipressa and Poggio so this year I’m expecting the same. I don’t see myself as the number one favourite. The dream is to win solo, but even if it’s a sprint, it doesn’t matter: a win is a win."

As the race hits the town of Voghera, a reminder of our nine men ahead:  Alessandro Tonelli and Samuele Zoccarato (Green Project-Bardiani-CSF-Faizané); Alexandre  Balmer and Jan Maas (Jayco AIUIa); Mirco Maestri and Samuele Rivi (Eolo Kometa); Alois Charrin (Tudor Pro Cycling); Negasi Haylu Abreha (Q36.5) and Aleksandr Riabushenko (Astana Qazaqstan).

And a little bit of tech info here from Cyclingnews' man on the ground, Steve Farrand: Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) is wearing a skinsuit, while Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) are both using a single chainring today.

Along with former winners John Degenkolb and Julian Alaphilippe, Stuyven was one of a long list of late non-starters last year due to illness. But all three are back in the San Remo game in 2023. The Belgian had this to say at yesterday’s San Remo team presentation:

220 kilometres to go

The sun continues to shine brightly on San Remo and its  a pleasant 15 degreees out there. While we're on the subject of the weather, here's another piece of recommended reading from the Cyclingnews archives: a photo gallery showing the San Remo of exactly 10 years ago, when snow almost caused the race to grind to a halt, and a stark contrast to today's pleasant racing conditions. The link is here.

198 kilometres to go

Testament to that short leash for the break is that the average speed so far is a brisk 44.5 kmh. Add in the tailwind later on and the 2023 Milan-San Remo could be a very speedy edition indeed.

186 kilometres to go

178 kilometres to go

The gap on the nine ahead, incidentally, shrank to almost two minutes before the combined forces of Alpecin-Deceuninck, Jumbo-Visma and Trek-Segafredo opted to take their foot of the accelerator and let the break's advantage ease out again to 2:35. There's plenty of time left to reel that line back in.

And here's a very evocative image of the 2023 Milan-San Remo break of the day, and a reminder of all the race's associations with the arrival of Spring.

And one of one of the leading favourites, 2020 Milan-San Remo winner Wout van Aert.

Peter Sagan during the 2023 Milan-San Remo

(Image credit: Getty)

165 kilometres to go

160 kilometres to go

Collaboration between the nine ahead still looks to be pretty good, incidentally, probably helped by the fact that three teams have two riders in the break. A reminder of its make up: Alessandro Tonelli and Samuele Zoccarato (Green Project-Bardiani-CSF-Faizané); Alexandre  Balmer and Jan Maas (Jayco AIUIa); Mirco Maestri and Samuele Rivi (Eolo Kometa); Alois Charrin (Tudor Pro Cycling); Negasi Haylu Abreha (Q36.5) and Aleksandr Riabushenko (Astana Qazaqstan).

150 kilometres to go

The nine riders reach the tunnel at the summit of the Passo del Turchino with an advantage of 2:19.

And we have an unconfirmed abandon, the first of the day, for Astana Qazaqstan's Gleb Syritsa.

Crash in the peloton on the upper slopes of the Turchino. Former winner Julian Alaphilippe is one of those involved and he's getting a bike change.

All of the riders from the crash are back up again. Alaphilippe is chasing the peloton on the descent.

142 kilometres to go

A bigger crash for Maciej Bodnar (TotalEnergies) on the descent, possibly caused by a puncture, and he's now waiting for a spare bike.

We've now had our first sighting of the Mediterranean, glittering in the sunshine and the nine riders ahead are just rolling along the coast road. The riders will now have the sea on their left for the rest of the race.

The peloton is easing up a little, presumably to allow riders dropped on the Turchino descent to regain contact and the gap on the break rises correspondingly, to a little over two minutes.

128 kilometres to go

UAE Team Emirates lead on a fast descent round one of the dozens of headlands the peloton will tackle en route to San Remo and into the town of Cogoleto. The gap for the nine men ahead has expanded to just over three minutes.

116 kilometres to go

109 kilometres to go

One of the first shots of the 2023 Milan-San Remo peloton on the coast

Less than 100 kilometres to go and the peloton powers through a feed zone just before the town of Spotorno and no less than five tunnels in six kilometres.

86 kilometres to go

80 kilometres to go

77 kilometres to go

San Remo is famous for being the most unpredictable of Classics, but there's no getting away from the fact that the last bunch sprint of more than 30 riders was in 2016, with a win for Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ). Démare has had a quiet spring so far, having gone down with COVID-19 earlier in the year, but he's one of eight former Milan-San Remo winners taking part today.

Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious) will be pushing for a repeat win this year, but San Remo is a fickle beast and the last rider to win it two years in a row was Erik Zabel in 2001/2002.

20 kilometres to go to the first trio of capi, the Mele, Cervo and Berta. 

65 kilometres to go

The front part of the peloton's physiognomy has changed notably, with delegations of riders from Ineos Grenadiers, EF Education-EasyPost, Jayco AIUIa and Lotto-Dstny showing themselves more and more near the front.  

No sign of any riders missing a turn yet in the break, incidentally, despite their being more than 200 kilometres off the front.

An atmospheric shot of the peloton as it wends its way along the coast in Milan-San Remo 2023.

Less than four kilometres to the foot of the Mele and the gap for the nine is down to 1:15. Trek-Segafredo are driving hard through the town of Laguiglea in the bunch.

And on the first slopes of the Mele, the first rider from the break to crack drops back: Alois Charrin (Tudor Pro Cycling).

50 kilometres to go

Onto the Cervo and the eight riders ahead, Alessandro Tonelli and Samuele Zoccarato (Green Project-Bardiani-CSF-Faizané); Alexandre  Balmer and Jan Maas  (Jayco AIUIa); Mirco Maestri and Samuele Rivi (Eolo Kometa); Negasi Haylu Abreha (Q36.5) and Aleksandr Riabushenko 35 (Astana Qazaqstan) still hold out by a minute. EF Education-EasyPost and Bora-Hansgrohe make their presence known.

Crash for Basque allrounder Alex Aranburu (Movistar) after he touches wheels with another rider on the higher slopes of the Cervo. He's back up again, but regaining contact with the bunch at this point in the game will be no easy task.

The good weather and fast tailwind have helped keep the peloton almost intact when we're into the last 45 kilometres: that will make for an even more fraught finale for what is already one of the season's major stress-fests.

And another rider is dropped from the break as we hit the Capo Berta: Negasi Haylu Abreha (Q36.5).

The Berta is the steepest of the five final capi and a double setback for Astana Qazaqstan as Aleksandr Riabushenko is dropped from the break and Mark Cavendish, 2009 winner, is dropped from the bunch.

35 kilometres to go

So the first three capi are done and dusted, and it's onto the real crunch time for the Milan-San Remo peloton: the Cipressa and then the Poggio.

Crash. Two Bora-Hansgrohe riders, and one from DSM are down.

31 kilometres to go

Crash for Jan Tratnik (Jumbo-Visma).

Sam Bennett  reportedly one of the Bora-Hansgrohe riders who went down. Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers) also has crashed.

27 kilometres to go

Ineos Grenadiers and Lotto-Dstny are on the front on the lower slopes of the Cipressa.

25 kilometres to go

Alaphilippe, Van Aert, Mohoric, Van der Poel all up there at the front end of a fast-shrinking bunch.

Arnaud De Lie (Lotto-Dstny) is in trouble on the upper slopes of the Cipressa.

21 kilometres to go

The bunch powers down the Cipressa descent, but there's still some 80 or 90 riders left ahead in the main group.

Mathieu van der Poel heads the peloton off the Cipressa and we're onto the flat coast road en route to the Poggio.

17 kilometres to go

Politt sits up and is caught. 

Soudal-QuickStep on the front as the race powers along towards the Poggio.

12 kilometres to go

10 kilometres to go

Bahrain Victorious leads the bunch onto the Poggio. Mohoric is third wheel.

Bahrain Victorious are laying down a ferocious pace at the front.

Van der Poel is moving up but it's still Bahrain Victorious in control.

And then Tim Wellens launches a ferocious acceleration for UAE teammate Tadej Pogačar.

Seven kilometres to go

6.5 kilometres to go

The four riders ahead, Van der Poel, Van Aert, Pogacar and Ganna have a 50 metres gap.

5.5 kilometres to go

Van Aert leads the chase with Ganna and Pogacar on his wheel.

The gap between Van der Poel and Van Aert is roughly 100 metres. Ganna is struggling to keep up on the descent.

2.5 kilometres to go

Off the Poggio and Van der Poel leads ahead of Pogačar, Van Aert and Ganna. 

A six second advantage for Van der Poel. Barring disaster he's got this one in the bag.

Van der Poel swings through the final bends and it's almost all over bar the shouting.

Mathieu van der Poel has won the 114th edition of Milan-San Remo.

Ganna takes second, Van Aert is third and Pogačar is fourth. 

Van der Poel is discussing his win: "The Cipressa was not as hard as on previous years but I already felt my legs were still fresh. I knew I wanted to place an attack at the end of the Poggio but I managed to get a small gap on Pogačar. This is one of the races I really wanted to win, and the way I did it is beyond expectation. I'm really happy with this one."

Disappointment for Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) after he and his teammate Tim Wellens laid down the law on the Poggio in impressive style. But Van der Poel was able to take advantage of that and move ahead at the summit to go for the victory. 

More reasons to celebrate for Alpecin-Deceuninck thanks to  Soren Kragh Andersen leading home the remnants of the bunch for fifth, 26 seconds after his teammate Van de Poel had won.

Van der Poel is the first Dutch winner of Milan-San Remo since Hennie Kuiper in 1985.

The winner of Milan-San Remo 2023

The Dutch National anthem rings out over the Via Roma for the first time in nearly four decades as Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) stands on the podium as winner of the 2023 Milan-San Remo.

For Wout van Aert, this is his third visit to the Milan-San Remo podium, after victory in 2020 and third place in 2022. 

The winner's podium, with from l-r, Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers), second; Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck), first and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) in third.

Check in at the website for more coverage, reactions and reports. Meantime, our full race report can be found here.

Tadej Pogačar finished fourth. You can read about his post-race reaction here.
No regrets for Tadej Pogacar after Poggio attack at Milan-San Remo. 

And here are Wout van Aert's thoughts on his third place, his third podium finish in San Remo: Wout van Aert finds solace in Milan-San Remo defeat to Van der Poel

And here's our story analysing the reaction from Filippo Ganna on securing second place in a Monument on home soil:
'With the head, I wanted to follow, but with the legs, I didn’t know' - Mixed feelings for Ganna at Milan-San Remo.

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