Spanish champion not backing off
Spaniard with Dayer Quintana into elite group at end of ‘Classicissima’; Démare (FDJ) takes surprising win
Former French road race champion Arnaud Démare (FDJ) beat a world-class peloton against all odds to claim victory in the 10th edition of Milano-Sanremo, the first ‘monument’ of the classics season. The legendary Italian race was extended from its planned route to 295km, due to a landslide over the road covering the last slopes of the Passo del Turchino’s descent. Despite that extra 4k, the ‘Primavera’ conserved its usual form from previous editions whenever weather was gracious: a long break, attacks into the Cipressa climb and a sprint between the biggest names of the peloton, which the Movistar Team riders tried to avoid.
While Ventoso, Amador and Dayer Quintana supported Alejandro Valverde into the finale -Carlos Betancur, debutant with the Blues today, did an excellent work early on, plus completed 260km into the main peloton-, Giovanni Visconti saved energy to jump off the front at the Cipressa, 23km from the finishing line. His attempt, in company of Stannard (SKY), Oss (BMC), Montaguti (ALM) and Sabatini (EQS), was neutralized 2km from the foot of the Poggio, with only Michal Kwiatkowski (SKY) trying to defy the bunch with a serious acceleration during that last ascent.
With neither big splits nor any other attacking chances for Alejandro Valverde, always attentive during the final descent, a stange sprint -Gaviria (EQS) crashed while seeming like the favourite; Bouhanni (COF) briefly lost his chain during the final kick- left the Spaniard in 15th place. Dayer Quintana was with him into that front group over the line.