Mathieu van der Poel solos to Milano-Sanremo victory
Mathieu van der Poel won Milan-San Remo on Saturday to claim the first ‘Monument’ of the season with an attack which left some of cycling’s biggest stars trailing in his dust.
Van der Poel won the race his grandfather Raymond Poulidor took 62 years ago after surging clear on the final Poggio climb. He surged away from race favourite Tadej Pogacar, Wout van Aert and Filippo Ganna, eventually finishing around 15 seconds ahead of Ganna on via Roma after 294 kilometres of riding.
Van der Poel became the first Dutch winner since Hennie Kuiper in 1985. It was Van der Poel’s second major one-day classic victory in Italy after Strade Bianche two years ago
“It’s a special win in a special race, it’s a win that everyone wants” said Van der Poel. “My team and I trained really well in the week and today my teammates did excellent work. We’ll definitely celebrate a great win.”
The day almost got off to a dramatic day when news filtered through of Pogacar, fresh from his win at Paris-Nice, crashing in the pre-race neutral zone.
However, the two-time Tour de France winner dusted himself down and started the race. Beyond another crash of little consequence involving former winner Julian Alaphilippe on upper slopes of the Turchino that was the end of the major drama until Van der Poel put on the afterburners.