Results Milan – San Remo
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor)
2. Fabian Cancellara (Swi)
3. Ben Swift (GBr)
4. Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (spa)
5. Mark Cavendish (GBr)
6. Sonny Colbrelli (ita)
7. Zdenek Stybar (Cze)
8. Sacha Modolo (ita)
9. Gerald Ciolek (Ger)
10. Peter Sagan (Svk)
Milan-San Remo: Report
The Norwegian benfited from great work by teammate Luca Paolini to keep him in the front group and timed his sprint perfectly as Van Avermaet and Cavendish kicked too early.
The racing got under way early this morning with Matteo Bono, Nathan Haas, Nicola Boem, Antonio Parrinello, Maarten Tjallingii, Jan Barta and Marc de Maar making up the breakaway as the riders faced almost 300 kilometres of racing in the rain. Maarten Tjallingii proved the strongest of the break and he was caught by the peloton just before the Poggio.
The real action of the day started on the Cipressa when Canondale lifted the pace in a bid to drop the sprinters and deliver Sagan to victory. No real damage was done however and Vincenzo Nibali then launched a counter- attack, soloing over the top of the Cipressa and tearing down the descent in a way we are now accustomed to seeing.
The Italian built up a 48 second lead and for a moment one wondered if we were about to witness something special in Sanremo. Thoughts of that quickly faded as Sky, Canondale and Katusha all helped bring the gap down.
Cancellara attacked on the lower slopes of the Poggio and flew past the ailing Nibali. The Swiss rider was surprisingly joined by young Italian Enrico Battaglin.
The two battled ahead until an attack by Philippe Gilbert resulted in the group coming together again. That attack did manage to drop Andre Greipel however but Cavendish, Ciolek, Swift and Kristoff ensured plenty of sprinters remained in the hunt. John Degenkolb unfortunately punctured, putting an end to his chances.
Lars Petter Nordhaug and Greg Van Avermaet were keen to get away on the descent but never created a big enough gap.
It meant a group of 20 riders coming into the finishing straight in Sanremo. The sprint started with an unusual combination that saw Van Avermaet sprinting down the blindside while teammate Gilbert sat on the front of the peloton. Cavendish immediately reacted but didn’t have enough in his legs and it was Kristoff who came around to take the win.
Cancellara slammed his handlebars in frustration as he crossed the line in 2nd place, an impressive result nonetheless against so many top sprinters. A case of too many podiums and not enough wins for the big Swiss in La Primavera.
Ben Swift took an impressive 3rd place to round out the podium while reigning champion Ciolek put up a brave defense and finished 9th, with pre-race favourite Sagan in 10th.