A neutralisation and several route cutbacks -more than 50km in total- keep alive the Classicissima, won by Ciolek (MTN) as the Spanish champion fought until the Poggio with the top guns following Lastras's long break
Even though the winner, Germany’s Gerald Ciolek (MTN), completed the race in less than six hours, the bunch of the 104th Milano-Sanremo needed more than eight to cover the route from the capital of Lombardy to the finish on the Lungomare Italo Calvino. Snow menacing the route of the season’s first monument from days before ended up jeopardizing a race that was shortened twice -the Passo del Turchino was annulled at first, then Le Manie was also taken off- and saw the jury and the organisers neutralising the race, with teams and riders getting to the coast by bus, to end up with 245 kilometers of the 298 originally planned.
Before the stop, that happened in Ovada (117km), Pablo Lastras had already gathered more than hundred kilometers on the day’s long break, with five other riders joining him as he brought up another piece of character into a big classic -he already made part of the escape at the 2012 Ronde van Vlaanderen, amongst many others-. The attempt by the Movistar Team’s road captain was caught, after almost 200k and with the race back on, into the slopes of the Capo Berta, where the Spaniard struggled while his teammates, led by an impressive Fran Ventoso, sticked in big figures -Rojas and Madrazo with the national champion, into a first echelon; Castroviejo and Visconti a bit behind in a second group- for the decisive part of the race.
The downhill of the Cipressa, the day’s penultimate ascent, caused a seven-man attack launching, with two riders, Chavanel (OPQ) and Stannard (SKY), staying away only to get caught by the big favourites -Sagan (CAN), Cancellara (RLT), Paolini (KAT) and final winner Ciolek- into the descent of the Poggio, where Ventoso and Rojas, just few seconds behind into the first big group, were not able to bridge and were left to fight for a top-ten finish that the Cantabrian nailed with his 11th spot. Ventoso is showing his excellent form before the cobbled classics, where he will debut together with the Blue team at Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday.