Every young bike racer in Italy wants to win Milano Sanremo. It is La Classicissima—the…
The scenic route to Sanremo
The longest edition in the race’s history sees another unpredictable finish
When you get to the Cipressa, 27 kilometers from the finish, ‘that’s when you really know if you have the legs’. That is what Alberto Bettiol said a few days ago, but even if the legs are there this is still one of the hardest races to try and predict what the outcome will be. This edition did not disappoint.
As the race set out from Milan, 305 kilometers lay ahead, the longest edition the race has seen in its history. A seven man breakaway formed and was left mainly forgotten about for most of the seven hours and 15 minutes of racing. With 36 kilometers to go as the race kissed the shores of the Italian Riviera the break was finally reeled in. As the pace started to increase in anticipation of the yearly attacks on the Cipressa and Poggio some of the day’s main sprint guys began to struggle. Then, with six kilometers to go, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) and Wout van Aert (Jumbo Visma) made their decisive attack that saw them build only a few seconds lead on the bunch behind that had our own Alberto Bettiol (EF Pro Cycling) in it. As the bunch desperately chased, van Aert managed to pip Alaphilippe on the line to take the win. Alberto Bettiol was our top finisher, ultimately crossing the line in 18th position, two seconds behind the winning duo.
Alberto Bettiol – rider
How did you feel today?
“It was a good day overall. I was feeling good all day. My teammates did a great job getting me in position for the Cipressa and Poggio. Lawson and Magnus did a fantastic job bringing us bottles and food throughout the day. Mitch put me in position at the bottom of the Cipressa and Simon put me in position at the bottom of the Poggio. As a team, we rode it well. On the Poggio I was focused on the sprint and I didn’t see van Aert’s attack. I was focused on holding Sagan’s wheel for the sprint at 700m to go to the finish, I nearly crashed which pushed me back quite a bit and I didn’t have the legs to make it up afterwards. In general, I am happy with my result.”
Did you feel like the extra distance added on the race made a big difference?
“In the end, I think it played a bit of a role especially for the sprinters who struggled at the end. But I think in the overall outcome of the race, it didn’t make much of a difference. Milan-Sanremo is such a strange race. Sometimes it finishes with 30 riders in a sprint, sometimes the riders attack on the Poggio and finish solo like today. It looks like a really easy and straightforward race from the outside, but it’s really hard to read and interpret when you’re in it. I really hope I win it one day.”
We eagerly await that day