Mathieu van der Poel won Milan-San Remo in a phenomenal way on Saturday. The leader of Alpecin-Deceuninck rode away from his fellow favorites in the final and became the first Dutchman in 38 years to win the Italian classic.
Van der Poel was the best on the Poggio together with Wout van Aert, Tadej Pogacar and Filippo Ganna. The 28-year-old Dutchman attacked with the top in sight, extended his lead in the descent and crossed the finish line solo.
Ganna had to settle for second place fifteen seconds behind. Van Aert finished third ahead of Pogacar. Van der Poel’s teammate Søren Kragh Andersen won the sprint for fifth place in the group behind.
It was a historic triumph for Van der Poel. After Arie den Hartog (1965), Jan Raas (1977) and Hennie Kuiper (1985), he is the fourth Dutchman ever to have ‘La Primavera’ on his honors list. After twice the Tour of Flanders, it is his third victory in a so-called cycling monument.
Ugly fall through bicycle rack
The Milan-San Remo final ignited in the run-up to the Cipressa. The nervousness in the peloton led to an ugly crash. Some riders crashed on top of a bicycle rack on the side of the road. BORA-hansgrohe sprinter Sam Bennett was the main victim.
While the early escapees were caught, Pogacar put his Team UAE Emirates teammates in the lead. The pace picked up. That became, among others, shadow favorite Arnaud De Lie too powerful. The Belgian top talent had to release.
A large group then thundered towards the foot of the Poggio. This not too steep climb with the top at 6 kilometers from the finish turned out to be the executioner of the Italian classic, as so often.
Pogacar launched at Poggio
Tim Wellens launched an attack from his leader Pogacar. The Slovenian all-rounder received three top favorites: Ganna, Van Aert and Van der Poel. This quartet immediately made a big gap with the other riders.
With the top in sight, Van der Poel turned out to have an extra turbo in house. He posted a scorching breakaway, leaving his three fellow favorites behind and breaking a record in the process. No one has ever climbed the famous Poggio so quickly (5 minutes and 40 seconds).
Ganna, Van Aert and Pogacar could work together all they wanted, they never saw Van der Poel again. The Dutchman presented the world with a spectacular descent and arrived solo on the Via Roma in San Remo. He had plenty of time to celebrate his party.