Milan-San Remo only really comes to life in the final hour of racing. In 2019, it took until the Poggio for the favourites to come to the fore but they did so in a big way. Zdenek Stybar and Philippe Gilbert set up a furious pace for Julian Alaphilippe to launch the race deciding move bringing in attacker Alberto Bettiol (EF Education First) and drawing out a quality group of top-contenders. Alaphilippe then finished the job outsprinting the group in San Remo.
Alejandro Valverde has had a relatively quiet start to 2019 with just one win in the rainbow jersey.
A big break with four riders from Team Novo Nordisk escaped and got a maximum 10 minute advantage over the peloton.
Defending champion Vincenzo Nibali in the peloton.
There were no riders from WorldTour teams in the break.
Tom Dumoulin is building form for the Giro but can go well in one-day races.
The peloton on Passo Turchino.
Bora-Hansgrohe, Lotto-Soudal and Deceuninck-Quick Step were the main teams to control the break.
It was a pleasant spring day for the riders.
Julian Alaphilippe continued his teams scorching hot streak with the biggest win of his career.
The goated Frenchman's first Monument win came after making the race winning move on the Poggio and then winning the reduced sprint.
Oliver Naesen finished second with Michal Kwiatkowski in third.
Alaphilippe got a champagne shower on the podium.
The Deceuninck team's dominance so far arguably reduces the pressure on them in the upcoming cobbled classics.
The Belgian super team executed their plan to perfection.
La Primavera is the first Monument of the season and it was no surprise to see a rider from Patrick Lefebvre’s team win. Alaphilippe had already taken WorldTour wins at Strade Bianche and two stages victories at Tirreno-Adriatico, one a surprise win in from a bunch sprint.
The season continues moving along and in only three weeks, Paris-Roubaix will wrap up the cobbled classics before the Ardennes specialists like Alaphilippe come back to the fore for Amstel Gold, Fleche Wallone and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.