Matej Mohoric wins Milano-Sanremo solo
Thanks to a daring exploit Matej Mohoric rode to a solo win at Milano-Sanremo. Slovenia’s national road champion of Team Bahrain Victorious crossed the Poggio in 5th place and made good use of the following technical descent to move up to the race leaders and drop them right away. With Jan Tratnik in 9th place, another rider of the team finished in the top 10.
In the run-up to Milano-Sanremo Team Bahrain Victorious had to deal with a serious setback as Sonny Colbrelli had not recovered yet from the bronchitis that had forced him to abandon early on at the Paris-Nice stage race. Phil Bauhaus was brought in as backup for a possible sprint decision, with Jasha Sütterlin and Jonathan Milan in support. As the team’s captain, Matej Mohoric could rely on the experienced trio of Yukiya Arashiro, Damiano Caruso and Jan Tratnik. For cycling’s first monument of the season that he had finished in 5th, 10th and 11th respectively in the last three years, Mohoric’s plan was straightforward but demanding in terms of execution: Stay with the main contenders over the Cipressa and Poggio climbs and then take full advantage of the tricky descent.
With a distance of 293 km, Milano-Sanremo is the longest monument of cycling. For the first time ever, the neutral start was taken in Milano's iconic Vigorelli velodrome before the true start was taken at 10.10 am. Early on eight riders went up the road and managed to build a lead that crested at a bit over six and a half minutes. The riders of Team Bahrain Victorious kept their powder dry in the shelter of the peloton for a while. Soon enough they moved up however to make sure that their main riders were not getting involved in any crashes or lost contact on the narrow sections through some of the coastal villages. As the race approached the three smaller climbs of Capo Mele, Capo Cervo and Capo Berta the pace went up considerably in the peloton. Further up the road the breakaway crumbled to pieces and got absorbed by the now charging, quickly shrinking bunch bit by bit.
From the approach to the Cipressa teams UAE and Jumbo Visma were setting a very high pace, trying to get rid of pure sprinters. But even on the slopes of the Poggio, there were still a handful of sprinters in contention. This was the sign for Tadej Pogacar to fire a salvo of three attacks in a bid to force a decision. He indeed crossed the Poggio in lead group with Sören Kragh Andersen, Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert. But thanks to the help of his teammates Jan Tratnik and Damiano Caruso, Matej Mohoric crossed the Poggio in 5th place and in hot pursuit. After just two corners he was back with the race leaders, and from there he took the lead and charged hard, taking some risks. And profiting from a light-weight, short-travel dropper post that had been put on his bike as part of his plan to make the winning move on the descent from the Poggio.
Matej Mohoric blasted into Sanremo with a slender lead of a few seconds to a first chasing group and had to dig deep on the final two kilometres to keep his rivals at bay. The Slovenian national champion successfully did so and thus got to celebrate the biggest win in his career so far, writing a first monument of cycling to his name. «Right from the start, the plan was to stay with the main pre-race favourites all the way to the end of the Poggio climb and then give my best and take some risks on the descent. I went full gas and it's simply amazing to win the Classicissima today», Matej Mohoric said shortly after finishing. When pushing the limits on the Poggio descent, he made good use of a modification that Team Bahrain Victorious had added to his SCULTURA TEAM: a dropper post with a remote lever on the handlebar to lower the saddle for the descent.
113TH MILANO - SANREMO: MILANO - SANREMO, 293KM
1. Matej Mohoric, SVN/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, in 6:27.49 hours
2. Anthony Turgis, FRA, + 0.02
3. Mathieu van der Poel, NED, st