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Echoes

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112th Milan-Sanremo [299 km]
« on: March 17, 2021, 13:26 »





After being raced in summer last year, due to exceptional circumstances, Milan-Sanremo is once again a spring classic ... "La Primavera" as it goes in Italian, or "La classicissima", as they like calling it, greatest classic for them. Until the 80's, the race was usually held on Saint Joseph Day, 19 March. This year it would be close, 20 March.

What hasn't changed since last summer however is the landslide/mudslide that makes the road to the Passo del Turchino unrideable. Last year, two alternative climbs have been added "Niella Belbo" and the Colle di Nava. This year, none of those two but a third one, the "Colle del Giovo", which brings the riders to the Via Aurelia. None of those climb however are steep enough to scare sprinters, though. After the Colle di Giovo, we have the three Capi back while they had been removed from last year's edition. The rest is classic : Cipressa, Poggio and the finish on the Via Roma.





Start List is here

For the first time in history, Milan Sanremo will be streamed from start to finish on Eurosport Player at 9.30 am CET.
https://www.cyclismactu.net/news-media-la-rai-et-rtbf-diffuseront-milan-san-remo-en-integralite-99642.html
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  • « Last Edit: March 20, 2021, 09:49 by Echoes »
    "Paris-Roubaix is the biggest cycling race in the world, bigger than the Tour de France, bigger than any other bike race" (Sir Bradley Wiggins)

    Servais Knavendish

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    Re: 112th Milan-Sanremo [299 km]
    « Reply #1 on: March 17, 2021, 17:27 »
    Thanks Echoes

    Not sure I'll watch from the tape - but I honestly can't wait - Its always such a joy to see the sunshine and the beautiful coastal resorts, especially as its often likely cold and wet outside here.  But... this year... a classic~classic is a real prospect; I'll tip three outsiders and you can have the field - MVDP - WVA & JA - vs the rest!

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    Re: 112th Milan-Sanremo [299 km]
    « Reply #2 on: March 19, 2021, 13:13 »
    will be interesting to see if it unfolds differently than usual. #deceuninck Bramati said that they don't expect a large group to get to the Poggio together, and also #bahrain Aldag mentioned, that he hopes for a massive 15-18 guy early breakaway to put the favourite's teams under pressure right from the start.

    Personally I struggle to see it happen, as the big guys are likely to be confident enough to see an option to beat each other on the Poggio, and most others (apart from GIlbert) are better off with an "easy" race ending in a sprint - but who knows
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  • "If this is cycling, I am a banana"

    t-72

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    Re: 112th Milan-Sanremo [299 km]
    « Reply #3 on: March 19, 2021, 22:38 »
    I think current day #lotto Gilbert is usually a step or three down on the favorites ladder from the #fenix Mathieu van der Poel, #jumbo Wout van Aert, #quickstep Julian Alaphilippe. However, while the others have plenty of time ahead of them and 4 monuments to work on, Gilbert only has a couple of years and the one monument he hasn't won: the Milano- Sanremo. Let's not completely forget his element of surprise as he attacked from Gerardsbergen with 100 kilometers left to go. However, doing that with #quickstep is one thing, with #lotto it will be more difficult.

    I also object to the text saying that everything after the three Capi is classic. Once the race joins the Aurelia (the seaside road) everything about this race is classic. Most likely you almost know what will happen, you can even remember the rythm of the crescendo at the end, increasing in subtle ways up the small climbs on the Capi (the fotball supportes pyrotechnical show may not take place this year, that is....probably positive), the almost quiet section but actually speed is picking up and the teams are battling for position on the not very wide road. The right hand turn on to the Cipressa. The descent and then some kilometers more of the Aurelia, a rather sharp right hander and up that little hill they go.

    It is usually a predictably exiting finish, and quite hard to predict the winner and how the race will be won.

    As usual a few key points are easy to remember: The finale starts in Finale, and a bowl of cereals for lunch will be served in Cereale.
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  • AG

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    Re: 112th Milan-Sanremo [299 km]
    « Reply #4 on: March 20, 2021, 00:58 »
    cant wait for this.  Usually MSR is the most boring of the monuments .... but so far this season, nothing has been boring, and I am hoping that this race is no different.

    What a joy to watch racing when you have guys who really attack the races.  They bring life to races, even if they dont win (which these days is unusual :D )

    While I would absolutely love to see Phil Gil fulfill his collection, sadly I cant see it happening.  The newbies are just too fast, too strong, too explosive.  Lotto have a ripper team though, and if they are unified and ride like a team you just never know.

    will be a fun few weeks
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    Re: 112th Milan-Sanremo [299 km]
    « Reply #5 on: March 20, 2021, 09:02 »
    the (mostly not too surprising) star ratings in the newspapers

    *be Het Nieuwsblad
    :*:*:*:*:* van der Poel
    :*:*:*:* van Aert, Alaphilippe
    :*:*:* Matthews, Bennett, Ewan
    :*:* Ballerini, Trentin, Pidcock, van Avermaet
    :* Sagan, Gilbert, Stuyven, Laporte, Aranburu

    *fr l'Équipe
    :*:*:*:*:* van der Poel
    :*:*:*:* van Aert, Alaphilippe
    :*:*:*
    :*:* Ballerini, Démare, Matthews
    :* Ewan, Nibali, van Avermaet, Sagan, Bennett, Kwiatkowski, Ganna, Gilbert, Laporte

    *it Gazzetta dello Sport
    :*:*:*:*:* Alaphilippe, van der Poel, van Aert
    :*:*:*:*
    :*:*:* Bennett, Matthews, Schachmann
    :*:* Ballerini, Nizzolo
    :* Bettiol, Ganna, Nibali, Sagan
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  • Echoes

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    Re: 112th Milan-Sanremo [299 km]
    « Reply #6 on: March 20, 2021, 09:55 »
    I also object to the text saying that everything after the three Capi is classic. Once the race joins the Aurelia (the seaside road) everything about this race is classic. Most likely you almost know what will happen, you can even remember the rythm of the crescendo at the end, increasing in subtle ways up the small climbs on the Capi (the fotball supportes pyrotechnical show may not take place this year, that is....probably positive), the almost quiet section but actually speed is picking up and the teams are battling for position on the not very wide road. The right hand turn on to the Cipressa. The descent and then some kilometers more of the Aurelia, a rather sharp right hander and up that little hill they go.

    Yes, that's true. :D I just wanted to make my preview short, as I was short of out of time and because you all know that route end by heart but still wanted to highlight the return of the Capi, even though they are not that hard for top-level riders. But I agree that once the peloton reaches the Via Aurelia, everything is classic, event the ascents of the Capi.
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  • Echoes

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    Re: 112th Milan-Sanremo [299 km]
    « Reply #7 on: March 20, 2021, 10:03 »
    https://www.cyclingnews.com/news/sam-bennett-milan-san-remo-is-considered-the-sprinters-monument-but-i-cant-see-it/


    Quote
    Monaco’s proximity to San Remo meant that Sam Bennett didn’t have to stray too far this week to gauge the prevailing conditions on the Cipressa and Poggio. The forecast was disheartening: a tailwind in the finale of Milan-San Remo suits attackers rather than sprinters.

    “I was just driving that direction today and it looked like a tailwind,” Bennett told reporters on Thursday. “It doesn’t really look that great for myself, but all I can do is hope for a bit of headwind and try to hang on.”

    Bennett didn’t even need to leave the comfort of his home, of course, to understand the prevailing trend at Milan-San Remo. From Erik Zabel’s first victory in 1997 to Arnaud Démare’s 2016 triumph, the sprinters’ grip on La Classicissima was only occasionally loosened, but for the past four editions, the decisive move has forged clear over the Poggio.

    Quote
    In the build-up this year’s race, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and Bennett’s Deceuninck-QuickStep teammate Julian Alaphilippe have marked themselves out as the outstanding favourites. Amid rising speeds on the Poggio, Milan-San Remo increasingly gives the impression that it is no longer a race for fast men

    “Yeah, I think they still consider it to be the sprinters’ Monument, but I can’t see it,” Bennett said. “Each time I do it, the group is gone up the road. Every year, the standard is getting so high, and guys are going up the Poggio so quick. We’re going up the Poggio at the same speed as on the flat.”

    I like reading this.  ;)
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  • t-72

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    Re: 112th Milan-Sanremo [299 km]
    « Reply #8 on: March 20, 2021, 11:09 »
    The way to give better opportunities to sprinters is to make the race hard long time before they get to the Poggio. While Bennett obviously talks about the headwind or tailwind up the Poggio, headwind the 100 kilometers before (West or southwest along the coast) will help the riders with the best endurance, on the other hand easterly winds will help the explosive puncheurs. If the race is too hard, featuring headwinds, rain and misery in 300 kilometers, most of them have no punch left before they enter the ring.
    It isn´t many of the fastest sprinters that have won this race, most of them are more very high-endurance riders with a good sprint capability.

    Speaking of that, looking at the lists of favorites, mentionining Aranburu - but not #uae Kristoff? I think that is an under-appreciation of one of the most consistent riders in the long races last 10 years, and it has been wrong before, although he would be favored by worse weather.  :cool
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    Re: 112th Milan-Sanremo [299 km]
    « Reply #9 on: March 20, 2021, 12:27 »
    Speaking of that, looking at the lists of favorites, mentionining Aranburu - but not #uae Kristoff? I think that is an under-appreciation of one of the most consistent riders in the long races last 10 years, and it has been wrong before, although he would be favored by worse weather.  :cool

    this morning Kristoff said that he was a bit sick over the past week, and didn't train much. Usually (unless it's as hot as last year) he is always up there as candidate to win the sprint for whatever position for sure, but this could be a problem, I guess
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  • t-72

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    Re: 112th Milan-Sanremo [299 km]
    « Reply #10 on: March 20, 2021, 13:43 »
    this morning Kristoff said that he was a bit sick over the past week, and didn't train much. Usually (unless it's as hot as last year) he is always up there as candidate to win the sprint for whatever position for sure, but this could be a problem, I guess

    I also think the preparations haven´t been as good as possible, but I also think that over the past few years, Kristoff has started to appreciate the under-appreciation, as an opportunity to fly under the radar a little. Thus he possibly contributes to it himself, making lots of excuses, when given the choice 🤫
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Re: 112th Milan-Sanremo [299 km]
    « Reply #11 on: March 20, 2021, 22:03 »
    I missed the race entirely, but was able to watch a good extended highlight video without any spoilers. If ever there's a race to watch for only the final 15 to 20 km, I suppose this would be the one (although the natural beauty surrounding this race would've been nice to observe with such favorable conditions). From my casual investigative work, it doesn't appear that I missed anything of significance that may have occurred earlier on.

    A few thoughts:

    Good for Jasper Stuyven. :win #trek
    He animated the race, and the made the only truly decisive move. The head-on camera always tells a distorted story, and I thought it was much closer at the line than it really was. There were some nail-biting moments during the final lead-in, which always makes for fun viewing, but I'm glad Stuyven prevailed.

    I was totally confused about Ewan's presence though. Did his physique change significantly? I couldn't pick him out of the bunch at all—and his posture on the bike is typically one of the most recognizable. Even with multiple rewinds, I didn't recognize him in the final pack. (Not to mention: I had a hard time recognizing a lot of riders, with the absurdly large eyewear that seems to be all the rage these days.)

    Then there was Peter Sagan! Did anyone notice his final kick?!?!?
    From what little pre-race prep that I allowed myself, it was my understanding that Sagan's participation in this race was uncertain until that last moment. Is that correct?

    Either way, it seems his form was in question and few took him seriously as a contender. But that final burst? That insane closing speed? It was almost as if Sagan could've won this race, but simply chose not to, or decided against trying too hard.

    I realize how that sounds, but watch the overhead replays if you can. Sagan's speed in the final meters was unmatched. He either waited too late, or found himself in an unexpected position in the final 200 meters. He really did seem to have the legs for it, and I suspect that his form was no mystery to those riding near him, so he may have more of a target on his back than we realize. I also have to wonder if the results could've been different if Schachmann had worked for Sagan—which he didn't appear to do at all, and yet still ended up finishing behind Peter.

    One thing that appears to be missing from all the footage I that observed, was just how, or when exactly, Stuyven positioned himself behind Søren Kragh Andersen #dsm as they approached the line. It seems like a significant maneuver that didn't get much attention (maybe because the cameras missed it?). Curious.
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  • « Last Edit: March 21, 2021, 03:40 by Drummer Boy »

    Servais Knavendish

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    Re: 112th Milan-Sanremo [299 km]
    « Reply #12 on: March 21, 2021, 09:37 »
    I watched quite a lot of the race - and then with 2.5km to go my amazon fire stick decided to reboot.... aaaargggghhhhhhh  only just got phone app working to see JS cross line sooooooo frustrating!!!

    Still now with a a clearer head i can reflect on an enjoyable race  - crazy outcome and - as you say T72  - story for me was almost as much Sagan as JS.  Plus of course the defeat of the three.

    Roll on Belgium
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  • AG

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    Re: 112th Milan-Sanremo [299 km]
    « Reply #13 on: March 21, 2021, 10:09 »
    yeah not too much happened before hte Poggio to be honest.  We were expecting action on the Cipressa - but Ineos set such a high pace that no one could attack even if they wanted to.

    No real decisive attack ont he Poggio either - but you needed to be in the top 20 by the top as the speed was insane, and the groups all split on the way down.

    Sagan - yes his form coming in to this race was very much in question.  He was way off the boil at Tirreno Adriatico, and you got the feeling he couldnt challenge the big 3 even if he wanted to (whihc he made it clear he did not) ... so it was very much a surprise to see him so sparkling hot late into the finale of this.  Good for him.

    Ewen - he was insane.  They tried so desperately hard to dislodge him up the Poggio, but he just stuck.  At one point it looked like he might attack on the climb :o   When they failed to get rid of him, Stuyven attacked at exactly the right time, and no one really wanted to do everything to get him back as it involved dragging Ewen to the line.   As much as Van Aert and MVdP are good sprinters, even they did not want to go up against Ewen ... so waited hoping that someone else would bring Stuyven back.    Realistically there wasnt all that many good choices there.

    Very happy for Stuyven.  Great win for him - and great to show that actually the big names can indeed be beaten !!!
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  • Echoes

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    Re: 112th Milan-Sanremo [299 km]
    « Reply #14 on: March 21, 2021, 11:25 »
    As long as I can remember, there has never been an attack in the last part of the Poggio descent prevailing. Many have tried an escape at that point but none prevailed. Stuyven was still descending when he attack. To some extent it reminds me of the 1992 Sean Kelly victory but Kelly attacked higher on the descent and only to catch Argentin. It's also a scenario that I love. A non-favourite attacks, the top favourites and sprinters are staring at each other, expecting the other ones to make the effort to counter but none wants to make the effort and the bird is flying away. Though as a matter of fact Sören Kragh Andersen made a move but later on and alone. When I started watching cycling, this was pretty frequent but nowadays you rarely got to see that. In 2011, e.g., Gilbert could've won that way but Pozzato brought Goss back and thereby preventing Phil from winning all major classics.  :S This being said, Stuyven is not really a "small" rider. He was a great talent as a junior World Champion and Paris-Roubaix winner. So far as a pro, his career didn't really match expectations, expect for the last year Omloop victory. I'm not a fan of his but this victory might liberate him. Thank God, Ewan lacked teammates in the finale, otherwise it would've been a disaster.

    It's nice to have an attack by none of the favourite. Some would claim that if we had breakaways prevailing in recent years, that would be because of some supposedly exceptional riders but Stuyven is not one of a kind and he nailed it. Even if he's timed in the same time as the group, this is not a bunch sprint at all. 


    The three favourites were not good enough this year, especially Mathieu van der Poel. He was always behind in the group, around 20th position at the start of the Poggio. Gianni Vermeersch had to tug him up. He didn't even attack and normally in a sprint against Wout van Aert he cannot be beaten. Van Aert is not explosive enough to get clear on the Poggio and Alaphilippe was probably not as good as in the last edition.
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  • Echoes

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    Re: 112th Milan-Sanremo [299 km]
    « Reply #15 on: March 21, 2021, 11:34 »
    yeah not too much happened before hte Poggio to be honest.  We were expecting action on the Cipressa - but Ineos set such a high pace that no one could attack even if they wanted to.

    To be honest, in recent edition, there had been few actions on the Cipressa. Main contenders are saving energy for the Poggio. What I expected is action on the Cipressa descent though. That's not uncommon. It's a technical descent with side wind from the Med. Very often, you have breaks in the peloton when they get back on the Via Aurelia. This year, you had a 35-man group ahead with Arnaud Démare still in it. I really thought that that group could stay clear of the main peloton chasing but on the Via Aurelia, Ineos riders loosened up a bit.
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  • Echoes

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    Re: 112th Milan-Sanremo [299 km]
    « Reply #16 on: March 21, 2021, 11:44 »
    Thou canst not not love Mathieu van der Poel !  :cool

    https://twitter.com/i/status/1373293012315439104

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  • t-72

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    Re: 112th Milan-Sanremo [299 km]
    « Reply #17 on: March 21, 2021, 14:20 »
    I have a busy time at wor this spring and haven't contributed here as  much as I'd like to, but at least I can do some record-keeping. Here are the results from the MSR:


    as I am nursing what smells much like a self-inflicted headache  :-x :S  :shh  instead of going cycling right now, I might as well add a few thoughts of my own:
    (apologies for really bad writing in the first edition, tried to correct it a bit below now: )

    The alternative route and/or the nice weather and light  tailwinds along the coast made the race comparatively less strenous than it uses to be, and there were many contenders that entered the final climbs (by definition: the start of Cipressa) apparently looking good. From there on, it became apparent that it wasn't that easy anyway.
    It seemed like many of the riders expceted to feature here were a bit below their top physical level, for various reasons. Hard racing in the Tirreno Adriatico and resititution not working right may have affected the performances of especially #quickstep Alaphilippe, but also #jumbo Van Aert and #fenix #champnl Van der Poel. The combination of a still strong peloton riding quite fast and these three favorites all missing out on the peak of their form curve, seemed to set them in a mode for racing cautiously, avoiding that half-way expected longer range attack, and maybe focusing on each other. They were trying not to loose, trying not to give the rivals a card they could play. Nothing happened,  for most of the climb #jumbo Jumbo-Visma was controlling the peloton with Timo Roosen and Sam Oomen.


    Except, some things happened,  as with #uae Gaviria, #ef Bettiol,  #uae Alexander Kristoff dropping from contention on the Cipressa.  It seems that illness has played a part for several riders, at least for Kristoff, who actually seems to have understated  his problems prior to the race.
    For #uae UAE this was a team tragedy because eventully the game played out exactly the way that one of their fast sprinters could have won it, Trentin was there , after the Poggio, more than capable to take the role of Paolini and they had Formolo ready for the necessary climbing assistance up the Poggio (used to be Spilak in #katusha).   They had a perfect team plan execution up to the point where the lacked of the winning sprinter to finish the job in the end became apparent. After many years of not quite having the team there, it must have been a very big disappointment for Kristoff not to be there, when #uae finally really rolled out the carpet for him.

    There were quite a few good sprinters in the first group across the Cipressa, and the second group also caught up before the Poggio.  #quickstep Sam Bennett seemed like he was struggling with something...mechanical, but #groupama Demare looked like he had a second victory already booked. Riders from #fenix Alpecin-Fenix, #bora Bora-Hansgrohe, #ag2r Ag2R-Citröen, #quickstep Decninck-Quickstep and #ineos Team Ineos were all taking turns, towing the 100+  recombined peloton onto the start of the Poggio climb, so we can assume they had at lest one rider in their teams they hoped would benefit from the service at that point.

    Leading the charge on to the Poggio, #ineos Ineos in front should have a plan to get rid of #lotto Ewan, but he followed them easily, while we all waited for the (Pidcock?) attack that didn't come. Ganna was going all that he could at the front, and as long as there was strength left in him, the Peloton seemed to agree that resistance was futile. For every meter climbing, the race was playing more and more into #lotto Caleb Ewan's hands. He just had to hang on there, in third position.  Other riders that could maybe outsprint him started dropping: #cofidis Viviani was seen on the way out the back door., but many others must have left without the cameras noticing. Clearly, if they didn't want to sprint with the sprinters for the sprint finish on Via Roma, the puncheurs and roleurs would have to do something soon, and #quickstep Alaphilippe was the first one to break as he started his attack with 6.5 km to go. #jumbo Van Aert , #bora Schachmann, #ineos Pidcock, #uae Trentin and #fenix van der Poel accelrated to lock on to Alaphilippes wheel. Wout van Aert was the first responder,  looking to set up for a reprise of last year, perhaps?

    The attack fizzled out, Ewan officially neutralized it by moving back up to 2nd position in the group, a chase group caught up over the top of the Poggio and even a few five seconds or so later, this #ineos Kwiatkowski and  #bora Peter Sagan shows up, perhaps also looking for a rematch?

    The strong, decisive attack, expected on the Poggio, never materialized. However, Alaphilippes' accelration forced the selection. In the final group, there were 3 earlier winners, if I counted it right. Perhaps you need a bit of luck to win this race, as there are so many that can win it, but the final group was hardly a coincidence with only very good cyclists.

    The upper part of the descent was conducted in tthe same orderly manner as most of the race before, with #jumbo van Aert leading, and #lotto Ewan in second. On the lower half of the descent, #ineos Tom Pidcock went to the front and managed to open up a small gap behind rider no.4, but wasn't able to force a new selection. The pace slowed, the main riders weren't attacking, they were looking at each other.
    These few seconds of hesitation is the perfect scenario for an outsider pick.  #trek Jasper Stuyven moved forward on the extreme left, almost into the hedgerows outside of where Alaphilippe was positioned, near the edge of the street. He didn't carry much speed, just sliding forward. It wasn't a surprise attack from the rear but . once he made it past  Alaphilippe, he accelrated from the front of the group, tearing everyone off his wheel. When they hit the main road, he had maybe 30 m to the chasing Ineos rider, and when that guy decided to let someone else chase insted, Stuyven almost had won it.

    Except he wasn't strong enough for that on his own. It was absolute luck that #dsm Søren Kragh-Andersen closed the gap and decided to try to pull away from  too. It was the perfect little breather for Stuyven, who got the opportunity to start his sprint just when SKA faded. Even with a likely surplus of lactic acid in his muscles at the start it was good enough to hold of the supposedly stronger and faster, but indetermined group of chasers.

    Lessons learned: when the big 1-day races feature a really strong field, look to the outsiders to break out of the grid-lock of the "fear of losing" spell that seems cast over the main contenders. To win it all, you have to take the chance (that you will lose) - or lose the opportunity (to win) -  stealing a phrase from Romain Bardet.

    I think more than any of the other monuments, the MSR puts the decision-making abilities of the captains under the spotlight. Perhaps we saw that the super strong cyclocross-riders, used to riding through mud, sleet, rain and all that for about one hour, while being physically strong, still have a little to learn when it comes to the tactics of road racing? 
    The fact that Stuyven pretty much started his attack from the front, in plain sight from all the others, who decided to not immediately close the gap, suggests so. Van Aert (at least) probably had enough left in the tank to neutralize the attack, but for fear of helping Ewan, he did not take the chance, thus losing his opportunity for the win.
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  • « Last Edit: March 21, 2021, 21:44 by t-72 »

    t-72

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    Re: 112th Milan-Sanremo [299 km]
    « Reply #18 on: March 21, 2021, 21:44 »
    I'm not a fan of his but this victory might liberate him. Thank God, Ewan lacked teammates in the finale, otherwise it would've been a disaster.

    Disaster?  :S

    Why? However, nice to see how you must line up all the pieces in the play correctly to get a sprint victory in the Milan-Sanremo. This year, #lotto Lotto-Soudal had the perfect sprinter, and #uae UAE-Emirates the perfect lead-out, but that isn't enough, not for any them. It is hard to get everything right, and winning a race that can be won in so many ways is extermely difficult.

    Quote
    The three favourites were not good enough this year, especially Mathieu van der Poel.
    He emptied his tank completely on the Tirreno-Adriatico stage last week and possibly haven't recovered very well from that, but more importantly he is the kind of genious star young comet and second coming all in one rider that is praised a little bit above their actual level. Van Aert may not be his Belgian counterpiece in that sense, the Belgians seem more balanced in their praise of him, but Remco Evenepoel is a bit of the same. Supposedly unbeatable, I have seen him falling all over the streets of Bergen, he fell in Innsbruck too, but was actually unbeatable  :S and then he screwed up on the descent from Sormano in the Lombardia, on a critical section they supposedly had rehearsed, looking unconcentrated when it happened. I mean, sure the guy is impressively strong with both rubber rings on the road but he is really struggling to keep them there in critical races. 

    Van der Poel's weakness is different from Evenepoel's: he lost in the Yorkshire World Championship because he sugar-bonked, and Mads Pedersen, Matteo Trentin and Stefan Küng were all better than him on that course. Van der Poel finished some 11 minutes down - not even the best dutch rider (Terpstra was).  He isn't unbeatable,  and long races are a bit of a challenge for him, sometimes.
    This time. however, the miscalculation I think was going so deep on that T-A stage in the rain last week, and not something he did in the Milano-Sanremo. Another skill he has yet to learn, besides nutrition for long races, is prioritization of objectives. #bora Peter Sagan learned that, after some years,  and it seems he hasn't forgotten that yet.  After what seems like a cycling vacation between two seas last week, suddenly he is there, in the right moment for the monunment. The last man in the final group across the Poggio, finishing ahead of his next-generation alter ego  ;) Still not a victory, so I guess and hope he will be back next year for another battle against the young ones and a final shot at the third monument that he can possibly win.
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  • Echoes

    • Road Captain
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    Re: 112th Milan-Sanremo [299 km]
    « Reply #19 on: March 23, 2021, 10:35 »
    Disaster?  :S

    Why? However, nice to see how you must line up all the pieces in the play correctly to get a sprint victory in the Milan-Sanremo.

    It's my own subjectivity, to be honest. I was used to Milan-Sanremo being a race of punchers and hard men. I've been watching this race since 1992 so long before the series of bunch sprints started in 1997. In 1997, I was glad because at that time I liked Zabel but nonetheless surprised. I would never have thought it was possible. One year later, he was the top favourite and Milan-Sanremo becomes a race for sprinters. Yet Alberto Elli almost thwarted all prediction with a late Stuyven-like attack. Zabel had no teammates left but incomprehensibly Gabriele Colombo chased for Zabel. In the next decade, sprint became the norm at Milan-Sanremo while few would've expected that in 1989.


    He emptied his tank completely on the Tirreno-Adriatico stage last week and possibly haven't recovered very well from that, but more importantly he is the kind of genious star young comet and second coming all in one rider that is praised a little bit above their actual level. Van Aert may not be his Belgian counterpiece in that sense, the Belgians seem more balanced in their praise of him, but Remco Evenepoel is a bit of the same.

    I haven't seen Tirreno Adriatico, so I trust you on that. That is indeed something Mathieu has a problem with. Being in his prime and with amazing talent, perhaps he thinks he's got no limit, wins everything under the sun and then all of a sudden, he seems to have complete black out. It happened in cyclocross as well. I remember him dropped very early in the 2016 Koppenberg Cross while you'd have expected him to at least mixing it up with van Aert in the lead. I even think he retired from that race but he was never in contention for the win. However don't worry, the Belgian press can be dithyrambic about Wout van Aert as well. Especially in 2016 in cyclocross ! At that time, it was not yet clear that Mathieu was superior to him or not by such a margin and Mathieu had to come back from injury so Wout dominated the first part of the season with no opponents. Everybody thought that the season would be boring because Wout would have no rivals but they forgot that Mathieu had to come back and when he came back, the season did become "boring" because Mathieu had no rival, not even Wout. :D

    This being said, in the interview, Mathieu claimed that he sprinted for the win. That's why he started his sprint early. The pictures show it. He really thought he could catch Stuyven but could not. If he had sprinted for second, perhaps he would've been second. So this explains the fact he only came 5th. But couldn't a top form van der Poel have caught Jasper Stuyven? A bit the way he did at Amstel Gold 2019?
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