Alejandro Valverde takes 20th in fast Milano-Sanremo, with no chance for attackers; Juanjo Lobato struggles to find best pace in first Monument of the season, won by Degenkolb (TGA)
The Movistar Team didn't find the best scenario for their possibilities in the 106th Milano-Sanremo, which German John Degenkolb (TGA) won into a short field of about thirty riders including two of the Blues: Alejandro Valverde and Ion Izagirre.
The telephone squad worked well until the last two climbs, with both 'Bala' and Juanjo Lobato protected by Sütterlin, Malori and a remarkable Alex Dowsett -at front until 25k left in only his second racing day of the 2015 season-. Things started going wrong in the Cipressa: a pile-up halfway through the climb boxed in Rojas and Visconti, while a later crash into the downhill held off Dowsett, fortunately with no physical consequences.
Lobato was eventually dropped before the finale due to lack of energy -"The climbs were tackled at a really fast pace and the day was difficult due to the rain, which might probably have played a big impact, too," explained sports director José Luis Jaimerena, after the race- as Valverde and Izagirre took responsibility leading up to the Poggio. However, the lack of relevant attacks avoided any moves being taken advantage of by the two Blues.