A Slovenian won Saturday’s Milan-San Remo, the first Monument of the year, but it wasn’t the one you might think. Matej Mohorič (Bahrain-Victorious) attacked on the descent of the Poggio, staying clear of a high-powered group containing Mathieu van der Poel, Wout Van Aert, Tadej Pogačar and Primož Roglič, to take the biggest victory of his career at La Classicissima di Primavera. Slovenians have won five of the six first round of the WorldTour.
Milan-San Remo rambled 293 kilometres, with the first 120 km driving south from Milan to the Ligurian coast just after the Passo del Turchino, 2.7 km of 5.4 percent. After the descent of the Turchino, there was another 90 km before the three little climbs known as Tre Capi: Mele, Cerve and Berta. The two main climbs where the riders would throw down were Cipressa (5.6 mm at an average gradient of 4.1 percent) cresting with 23 km to race, and the famed Poggio (3.6 km of 3.7 percent) peaking 5 km from the line. After a twisting 3 km descent past the greenhouses, the riders had two kilometres of finishing straight on the Via Roma.
Turchino, Capo Mele, Capo Cervo, Capo Berta, Cipressa, Poggio, a fast and technical descent, and the iconic Via Roma, after 293 kilometers.
— Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team (@qst_alphavinyl) March 19, 2022
An octet of fugitives got clear on the southern drive and tipped up over the Turchino with nearly a 6:00 lead on the peloton. Jumbo-Visma, Bahrain-Victorious, Trek-Segafredo and UAE-Emirates were all prominent at the front of the field on the way to the Tre Capi. With 100 km to race the eight riders were 7:00 ahead.
By the Tre Capi it was clear that the breakaway, still 5:00 up the road, was at least going to make it to the Cipressa intact. More teams appeared at the front of the bunch as the tension ratcheted up. By the end of the Capo Berta, there were five escapees out in front. Then Filippo Conca of Lotto-Soudal cramped up almost audibly and the breakaway carried on without him.
The quartet hit the Cipressa with a 2:09 lead and faces full of pain. Jumbo-Visma pulled the train. The breakaway cracked in two.
Davide Formolo of UAE-Emirates, back from injury after hitting a wild boar in January, took control of pace-setting the field. It was torrid and whittled down the bunch to 30.
UAE absolutely blow-torched the Cipressa.
— Daniel Friebe (@friebos) March 19, 2022
A little surprised UAE still has the horses to drive this and also hasn't tried to make Jumbo do some work.
— How The Race Was Won® (@Cyclocosm) March 19, 2022
The two remaining fugitives peaked with a 30-second gap but at the foot of the Poggio they were swept up.
At the catch, Jumbo-Visma immediately took over the front. Diego Ullisi reestablished UAE before Tadej Pogačar attacked with Wout Van Aert marking him. Pogačar went again but Movistar sewed it up. When things slowed, Primož Roglič made a dig, Mathieu van der Poel grabbing his wheel.
Soren Kragh Anderson (DSM) busted loose with Pogačar, Van Aert and van der Poel but they didn’t get far.
On the greenhouse descent Mohorič dashed clear with some sketchy moments.
Mohorič saving it down the Poggio. Says he used a mountain bike dropper post pic.twitter.com/yKFnVfCBt7
— the Inner Ring (@inrng) March 19, 2022
He had five seconds at the red kite. There was too much discord in the chase. Anthony Turgis tried to bridge over in the final kilometre to no avail. Van der Poel, in his first race of the year, was third.
2022 Milan-San Remo
1) Matej Mohorič (Slovenia/Bahrain-Victorious) 6:27:49
2) Anthony Turgis (France/Total Energies) +0:02
3) Mathieu van der Poel (The Netherlands/Alpecin-Fenix) s.t.
95) Alex Cataford (Canada/Israel-Premier Tech) +6:01