March 20, 2021
Milano-Sanremo 2021 – Milan – Sanremo : 299 km
After five months of waiting, Monument season will finally return this Saturday with the 112th edition of Milan-San Remo.
March 20, 2021
Milano-Sanremo 2021 – Milan – Sanremo : 299 km
After five months of waiting, Monument season will finally return this Saturday with the 112th edition of Milan-San Remo. The race will return to its traditional mid-March slot this year and, like it has done for the best part of the last century, mark the turning of winter into spring. Everyone who’s anyone is set to take part, from pure sprinters like Sam Bennett and Arnaud Démare, to those riders who blur the lines between all disciplines, like Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel. Only one will get the honour of adding this prestigious race to their palmares however, who will it be? Following a spat with local mayors on the Ligurian coast, Milan-San Remo’s organisers made a landmark decision to change the route of last year’s race, sending it through the hillier Piedmonte countryside rather than on the traditional route along the seaside. The traditional route is back this year however, which means we’re in for a long and – quite frankly – boring day in the saddle until the final 30km and the chaotic run into the finish on the Via Roma.
Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) held off the sprinters in the Via Roma to win Milan-San Remo after making a brave attack in the final two kilometres.
The Belgian got a gap, Søren Kragh Andersen (Team DSM) came across to him but Stuyven kicked again in the final 100 metres to hold off the chasers and win with his arms in the air.
Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) just failed to catch him on the line and finished second, with Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) third, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) fourth and Mathieu van der Poel (Alepcin-Fenix) fifth.
The constant tailwind made for a fast race, with no real attacks on the Cipressa and only blunted attacks on the Poggio.
Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) was first to accelerate in the final kilometre of the Poggio. Van Aert joined him and Van der Poel also surged across but they looked at each other and a strong-looking Ewan came across to them with others also closing the gap before the start of the descent.
For the first time in four years the Poggio had not made a difference.
Everyone took the descent carefully with Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) leading the way. However Stuyven went all-in as the descent ended and opened a gap on the flat main road.
Behind they looked at each other and refused to chase, with only Kragh Andersen also playing his final card and surging across. His presence allowed Stuyven to catch his breath as they entered the final corners with one kilometre to go. Everyone else started thinking of the sprint and Stuyven and Kragh Andersen stayed away in a nail-biting finish.
As they entered the Via Roma, the chasers could see the two but they were just out of reach. With 200 metres to go Stuyven kicked and had the speed to hold off a resurgent Ewan and the rest. Kragh Andersen was caught and finished ninth.
Stuyven was able to throw his arms in the air as he hit the finish line, with everyone else behind him creating the perfect Milan-San Remo finish photo. He collapsed into the arms of the Trek-Segafredo soigneur and team doctor.
“I can’t describe how I feel. It’s unbelievable,” he said.
“We had a plan to go for it, to try to win. I felt really good all day and the finale went well. There were a lot of fast guys in the group after the Poggio, so I knew I had to try all or nothing. And I did.
“If it’d gone to the line I could have finished fifth or 10th, but I preferred to go all-in, so I took the biggest victory of my career. Eight times of 10, you get nothing but there are two times you can win.
“It’s amazing the guys put me in the perfect position in the kept parts of the pacous. My legs were completely empty but if you win by a mile or a metre, it’s enough.”
How it unfolded
The riders signed on and gathered in front the Milan Castello as usual but the COVID-19 pandemic is still a major problem in Italy, and especially in Milan, and so crowds were strictly limited.
The riders were happy to see the blue skies and spring conditions knowing it would make for a more enjoyable 299km race and nearly seven hours in the saddle.
They rolled out of central Milan, carefully avoiding the many tram tracks. The race officially began at 10:00 a.m., 7.6km out of the city, in Via della Chiesa Rossa, just as it did over 100 years ago.
The attacks came as soon as Race Director Stefano Allocchio waved his flag and the early break formed rapidly, following the usual Milan-San Remo script. Nicola Conci (Trek-Segafredo), Andrea Peron, Charles Planet (Team Novo Nordisk), Mattia Viel (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè), Taco Van der Hoorn (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) and Mathias Norsgaard (Movistar) were in the move and the big-name teams soon spread across the front of the peloton to let them get away. The Novo Nordisk riders were celebrating the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin and again put their team and their cause on global television.
Filippo Tagliani (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè) was the only one to get away from the peloton and eventually got across to form an eight-rider early break as they ploughed across the Lombardy plain towards the Maritime Alps via Pavia and Tortona.
The eight opened a 7:30 lead but the peloton soon awoke, with Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Paul Martens (Jumbo-Visma) and Senne Leysen (Alpecin-Fenix) taking up the chase. They pegged the gap to 7:00 and then slowly brought it down as the race route cut west to follow the new race route towards the Colle di Giovo climb that replaced the Passo Turchino due to a landslide.
The pace constantly remained high, with the three domestiques clearly under orders to keep the break under control and the speed up to create a hard race.
On the gradual but easy Colle di Giovo, the race favourites sat protected on their teammates’ wheels with Alaphilippe and Deceuninck-QuickStep along with Sergio Higuita and his EF Education-Nippo team moving up to the slip stream of Declercq, Martens and Leysen. Some riders stopped to take off clothes or for a natural break but faced a chase to get back into the bunch and wasted vital energy.
The break and the peloton dived down to the descent of the Colle di Giovo and saw the Mediterranean for the first time after 187km of fast riding, with 111km to go. The gap was 3:25 as the peloton split as riders stopped quickly for a final natural break.
Nacer Bouhanni rode into Arkea-Samsic teammate Thibault Guernalec on a hairpin corner with 100km to go. Bouhanni was angry but eventually got up and got back on. However, he would have no impact in the race.
As the Capi climbs approached and signaled the final 50km of Milan-San Remo, the speed rose even higher and teams gathered in lines to protect their team leaders. The tension and concentration was electric as the tail wind helped the rider speed along at close to 50 kph.
The Capi climbs mark the start of the finale
The break began to fall apart as the Capi neared, with Viel the first to be dropped and the gap down to just 1:45.
Just before the Capo Mele, the first of the three Capi, Van der Poel moved up close to the front. It was ‘race on’. Incredibly Declercq was still on the front leading the chase, with his teammates in formation behind him. The Belgian tractor gave his all for the Deceuninck-QuickStep cause.
The Capo Mele was climbed at 44 kph, the same average of the first six hours of the race, with the break quickly reduced to just four riders: Conci, Tonelli, Van der Hoorn and Norsgaard.
The pace in the peloton eased over the Capo Cervo but the tension stayed high. Sam Bennett punctured at the foot of the Capo Berta and so Deceuninck-QuickStep moved off the front. Alpecin-Fenix cruelly picked it up as Bennett chased back on through the long line of team cars and then moved up with the help of a teammate. That effort surely affected him later on.
The narrow streets of Imperia squeezed the peloton with 35km to go. The four attackers were still 1:00 clear but the Cipressa was only seven kilometres away.
High speed on the Cipressa
The break stayed away until the Cipressa, turning off the coast road with a lead of just 20 seconds. The peloton was flying, with Groupama-FDJ and Deceuninck-QuickStep fighting to get up to the front for the narrow, testing climb. Van der Hoorn was the last of the break to be caught with 25km to go, as the peloton powered up through the Ligurian olive and pine trees.
Sam Ommen lead for Jumbo-Visma, with Van Aert on his wheel. Ineos was also up there with Luke Rowe leading Dylan van Baarle, Tom Pidcock and Michał Kwiatkowski. Everyone else stayed tucked on the wheels.
There were no attacks on the Cipressa but the pace hurt several big-name riders. Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) was dropped. Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-Nippo) came to a stop, while Ewan and Alexander Kristoff went deep to stay in contact. However Ewan was soon back on and even found the time and energy to take a final natural break.
Démare and Matthews were both up front and well placed in the 35-rider front group, with a similar size group forced to chase back on along the flat coast road with 15km to go and five kilometres before the Poggio.
The Poggio attacks
The two groups came together in time for the sprint to the foot of the Poggio.
Filippo Ganna moved up to help Ineos and dragged them to the narrow deviation right up onto the Poggio. The time trial world champion just kept going, flattening the Poggio and lining out the group on the first half of the climb. Incredibly Ewan was up there in third place, showing he was a threat.
Van Aert was on Alaphilippe’s wheel while Van der Poel was further back at the steepest point of the climb. The Frenchman made the first attack and Van Aert went with him, while Van der Poel was forced to chase. However the attack lacked real punch and other riders came across as the big three briefly looked at each other.
A dozen or so riders formed at the start of the descent, the Poggio failing to split the riders or distanced some of the best sprinters.
Matthews, Ewan and Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) were there, with even Sagan joining the group early on the descent of the Poggio.
Pidcock lead down the descent and a sprint finish seemed most likely. Then suddenly, Stuyven went all-in. It was enough to set him up for a memorable victory in the Via Roma.
1 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 6:38:06
2 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal
3 Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
4 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
5 Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix
6 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team BikeExchange
7 Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
8 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
9 Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team DSM
10 Anthony Turgis (Fra) Total Direct Energie
11 Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain Victorious
12 Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
13 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
14 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
15 Thomas Pidcock (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
16 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep
17 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Ineos Grenadiers
18 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Team Qhubeka Assos 0:0:06
19 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
20 Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
21 Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
22 Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
23 Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R Citroën Team
24 Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
25 Gonzalo Serrano Rodriguez (Spa) Movistar Team
26 Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
27 Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSM
28 Robert Stannard (Aus) Team BikeExchange
29 Julien Simon (Fra) Total Direct Energie
30 Ivan Garcia Cortina (Spa) Movistar Team
31 Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Ineos Grenadiers
32 John Degenkolb (Ger) Lotto Soudal
33 Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
34 Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:0:10
35 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
36 Sergio Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education-Nippo
37 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:0:12
38 Simon Clarke (Aus) Team Qhubeka Assos 0:0:18
39 Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:0:21
40 Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:0:29
41 Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep
42 Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck-QuickStep
43 Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Start-up Nation
44 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
45 Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
46 Fabio Felline (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech
47 Aimé De Gendt (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
48 Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane’
49 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team BikeExchange
50 Kévin Geniets (Lux) Groupama-FDJ
51 Umberto Marengo (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane’
52 Michael Valgren (Den) EF Education-Nippo
53 Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis
54 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
55 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
56 Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:21
57 Loïc Vliegen (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:01:28
58 Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Team Qhubeka Assos
59 Clément Russo (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:01:38
60 Josip Rumac (Cro) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
61 Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix
62 Magnus Cort (Den) EF Education-Nippo
63 Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Total Direct Energie
64 Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers
65 Matteo Sobrero (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech
66 Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Groupama-FDJ
67 Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Israel Start-up Nation
68 Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane’
69 Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis 0:01:45
70 Sam Oomen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
71 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
72 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Lotto Soudal
73 Filippo Zana (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane’
74 Quinn Simmons (USA) Trek-Segafredo
75 Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo
76 Michael Gogl (Aut) Team Qhubeka Assos
77 Ben Swift (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
78 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:02:39
79 Martijn Tusveld (Ned) Team DSM
80 Timo Roosen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
81 Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Team Qhubeka Assos
82 Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Israel Start-up Nation 0:02:51
83 Andrii Ponomar (Ukr) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:03:00
84 Luke Durbridge (Aus) Team BikeExchange 0:03:12
85 Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team 0:03:13
86 Davide Villella (Ita) Movistar Team
87 Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
88 Daniel McLay (GBr) Team Arkea-Samsic
89 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
90 Stan Dewulf (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
91 Luis Mas Bonet (Spa) Movistar Team
92 Jonas Koch (Ger) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
93 Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
94 Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers
95 Jos van Emden (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
96 Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Groupama-FDJ
97 Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fra) Cofidis 0:04:30
98 Dries De Bondt (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 0:05:02
99 Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep
100 Michael Schär (Swi) AG2R Citroën Team
101 Roger Kluge (Ger) Lotto Soudal 0:05:15
102 Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal
103 Stefan Bissegger (Swi) EF Education-Nippo 0:06:25
104 Davide Martinelli (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech 0:07:14
105 Nicola Conci (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
106 Alessandro Tonelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane’
107 Matthias Brändle (Aut) Israel Start-up Nation
108 Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
109 Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education-Nippo
110 Miles Scotson (Aus) Groupama-FDJ
111 Luca Chirico (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
112 Taco van der Hoorn (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
113 Fernando Gaviria Rendon (Col) UAE Team Emirates
114 Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Team DSM
115 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team DSM
116 Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
117 Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bahrain Victorious
118 Luke Rowe (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
119 Otto Vergaerde (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 0:07:56
120 Casper Pedersen (Den) Team DSM
121 Emil Vinjebo (Den) Team Qhubeka Assos
122 Nicola Venchiarutti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
123 Romain Combaud (Fra) Team DSM
124 Manuele Boaro (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech
125 Mathias Norsgaard (Den) Movistar Team
126 Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Cofidis
127 Frederik Frison (Bel) Lotto Soudal
128 James Piccoli (Can) Israel Start-up Nation
129 Ryan Mullen (Irl) Trek-Segafredo
130 Christopher Juul-Jensen (Den) Team BikeExchange 0:07:59
131 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education-Nippo
132 Petr Vakoc (Cze) Alpecin-Fenix
133 Michael Hepburn (Aus) Team BikeExchange 0:10:30
134 Alexander Konychev (Ita) Team BikeExchange
135 Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain Victorious
136 Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
137 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Total Direct Energie
138 Amaury Capiot (Bel) Team Arkea-Samsic
139 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Total Direct Energie
140 Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
141 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
142 Bert-Jan Lindeman (Ned) Team Qhubeka Assos
143 Péter Kusztor (Hun) Team Novo Nordisk
144 Albert Torres Barcelo (Spa) Movistar Team
145 Guy Sagiv (Isr) Israel Start-up Nation
146 Tom Scully (NZl) EF Education-Nippo
147 Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) UAE Team Emirates
148 Fred Wright (GBr) Bahrain Victorious
149 Adrien Petit (Fra) Total Direct Energie 0:10:58
150 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane’
151 Tim Declercq (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
152 Kenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Cofidis
153 Attilio Viviani (Ita) Cofidis
154 Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
155 Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Groupama-FDJ
156 Lorrenzo Manzin (Fra) Total Direct Energie
157 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Bahrain Victorious
158 Edoardo Affini (Ita) Jumbo-Visma 0:13:17
159 Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Jumbo-Visma 0:14:55
160 Thibault Guernalec (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
161 Senne Leysen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
162 Clément Davy (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:16:33
163 Paul Martens (Ger) Jumbo-Visma
164 David Lozano Riba (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk 0:18:06
165 Umberto Poli (Ita) Team Novo Nordisk 0:19:37
166 Filippo Tagliani (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
167 Sam Brand (GBr) Team Novo Nordisk
168 Andrea Peron (Ita) Team Novo Nordisk
169 Charles Planet (Fra) Team Novo Nordisk
DNF Mattia Viel (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
DNF Guy Niv (Isr) Israel Start-up Nation
DNF Brian Kamstra (Ned) Team Novo Nordisk
DNS Mattia Bais (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
DNS Daniel Savini (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane’
DNS Connor Swift (GBr) Team Arkea-Samsic