Thrilling Finale to Milan-San Remo18. März 2017, San-Remo (ITA) — Road Team
Milan-San Remo, the longest one-day race of the year and first Monument of the season, didn’t disappoint with over seven hours in the saddle coming down to a thrilling finish in San-Remo.
BMC Racing Team worked hard to protect Greg Van Avermaet throughout the 291km race, which started with a ten-rider breakaway going clear soon after the flag was dropped.
Fast-forward more than 200km and six hours of racing and the peloton made the catch to the remaining breakaway riders with 26km remaining.
As soon as the race came back together, a small group of riders including Daniel Oss went clear, and behind Silvan Dillier and Greg Van Avermaet were trying to bridge.
The move was neutralized, as were further attacks from Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) and Philippe Gilbert (Quickstep-Floors).
It was on the famous Poggio climb that Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) attacked and immediately created a gap. Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) and Julian Alaphilippe (Quickstep-Floors) were the only riders able to hold Sagan’s wheel, while behind Van Avermaet was leading the chase from the reduced bunch.
The trio quickly established a ten-second advantage and once they finished the descent of the Poggio, it was clear their lead was enough to stay away.
In the end it was Kwiatkowski who just edged Sagan out for the win, and Alaphilippe rounding out the podium. Van Avermaet finished in the main bunch and behind him, all of BMC Racing Team’s riders crossed the line, including Australian Road Race National Champion Miles Scotson, who made his Monument-debut.
Quotes from the Finish Line
Greg Van Avermaet:
“The moment before the last climb, the Poggio, I was feeling good. I was in a very good position but then everyone was coming from left and right and a lot of guys passed me. I was too far back and I saw Peter Sagan, Michal Kwiatkowski and Julian Alaphilippe go, but I couldn’t get up there. The team did a good job before this moment but in the end I only had one teammate with me, which can make a big difference when it’s a big fight for positioning. As soon as I saw that the three riders took 10 seconds, then 15 seconds, I knew it was too late.”
“Obviously it’s a disappointment for me as it’s the first time in a while that a few guys went to the finish, instead of a bunch sprint, and I felt like I could have been there. It wasn’t how I wanted the day to end, but I felt good and I know I am in good shape, so that’s one good thing to take away from today. It’s better to look forward rather than back, so I’m looking forward to E2 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem and I hope to win one of these. I’m really confident with my form and if everything goes well I’m really to do a good result, and hopefully win the Tour of Flanders in two weeks.”
“It was a really good experience for me. It was the longest race I have ever done. For me, the race went ok and I was able to help the team when I could. The race had some struggles. The last 100km were really fast and I was needing to go to the toilet that whole time which shows how fast it was. It had its difficulties and it’s all learning for the future. It’s good to start with small steps, and learning things like the positioning at the front before the final climb. Hopefully in the next couple of years I’ll have different experiences, like being there in the final.”
Max Sciandri, Sports Director:
“Unfortunately we didn’t get the result we wanted today. We had a plan, and although they rarely work at a race like Milan-San Remo, I feel we could have done more at certain points of the race. We used too much energy when we didn’t need to which meant that in the crucial moments of the race, we didn’t have the numbers. Greg did a great job and I think he could have been in the podium group if he had been a bit better placed leading into the Poggio. But, we can learn a lot from a race like today. Milan-San Remo is the first Momument so there are plenty more opportunities to come, and ones that are better-suited for Greg. Greg put it well when he said yesterday that there is only one happy guy after Milan-San Remo, the guy who wins. So there are a lot of other disappointed teams.”
Milan-San Remo (291km)
Top 3: 1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky), 2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansrgohe), 3. Julian Alaphilippe (Quickstep-Floors).