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Hugs, speed and strategy: Three takeaways from Milan – San Remo

Hugs, speed and strategy: Three takeaways from Milan - San Remo

Jasper Philipsen claimed his first career Monument on Saturday, and it thanks to his teammate, and last year’s winner Mathieu van Der Poe. La Classicissima wrapped up with an electrifying, tightly contested sprint, where Tadej Pogačar clinched a podium finish, and van der Poel settled for 10th place. This edition of Milan-San Remo marked the fastest ever, with riders averaging 46 km/h and the victorious time clocking in at 6 hours, 15 minutes, and 44 seconds.

Pogi shoots his shot on the Poggio

As always, the 50-strong peloton engaged in a frantic battle for positioning as they approached the turn onto the Poggio. Initially, Lidl-Trek and then Tudor took charge at the front. Van der Poel strategically shadowed Pogačar, while Ineos – Grenadiers assumed control of the pace. Tim Wellens of UAE-Emirates surged ahead, stretching the group.

With less than a kilometre to go, Pogačar launched an attack. Van der Poel, Filippo Ganna, and Alberto Bettiol responded, forming a tight group. However, as they approached the summit, Pogačar made another move, closely followed by Van der Poel.

Pidcock soon joined the leading duo after an incredible descent, followed by Mads Pedersen and Mohorič. Mohorič seized the opportunity to attack on the downhill stretch, but was caught with 1.3 km remaining. Matteo Sobrero attempted a breakaway, but Pidcock swiftly overtook him.

Pidcock looked like he might pull it off–but his lead was short-lived as Stuyven closed in, setting the stage for a frenzied sprint to the finish. Michael Matthews briefly surged ahead, but Philipsen maneuvered along the left barrier, propelling himself to a remarkable victory. Matthews secured second place, with Pogačar taking the last spot on the podium.

Super fast…but too slow for Pogi

The plan for the Slovenian was to make the Poggio as fast as possible, which would enable a mega-attack. But it took some time for some of his teammates to get to the front, and they couldn’t keep the pace high enough to decimate the field as much as planned.

“Today was one of the easiest races ever,” the two-time Tour de France champion told the media after finishing third in La Primavera. The UAE-Emirates’ team had tried to make the 288-km race harder but, despite setting the fastest average speed ever for Milan-San Remo at around 46 km/hr, didn’t succeed in making it hard enough for Pogačar to escape the field.

“We had a plan and we executed it,” Pogačar said after the race. “But we…

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