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Kwiatkowski stuns Sagan to win Milan-Sanremo

MILAN (AFP) – Poland’s Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) stunned world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) in a thrilling three-up sprint to win the 108th edition of the Italian cycling classic Milan-Sanremo on Saturday.

Kwiatkowski, a former world champion, claimed his first triumph in ‘La Classicissima’ after launching his sprint late to stun Sagan at the finish line in San Remo. Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) finished close behind in third after 291km of racing from Milan.

After surviving a solo assault over the Poggio by Sagan inside the final 6km, the recent Strade Bianche winner countered off the 27-year-old Slovakian’s rear wheel with 10 meters to go. Kwiatkowski narrowly squeezed between Sagan and Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) in a photo finish for the first Monument win of his pro career.

Milan-Sanremo, which also marks the first Monument of the season, is the longest one-day race on the WorldTour calendar and is widely regarded as the ‘Sprinter’s Classic’ within the sport.

“I’m very happy, although I actually didn’t expect to win,” said Kwiatkowski, who had been scheduled to work for teammate Elia Viviani and help set the Italian up for a winning sprint.

“I won Strade Bianche recently, and now to come and win ‘La Primavera’ is just … incredible.”

In a further statement to race organizer RCS Sport, Kwiatkowski continued to articulate his feelings about his unexpected win: “I can’t believe I’ve beaten Sagan!”

Results, top 10

  • 1. Michal KWIATKOWSKI, TEAM SKY, in 7:08:39
  • 2. Peter SAGAN, BORA-HANSGROHE, at :00
  • 3. JULIAN ALAPHILIPPE, QUICK-STEP FLOORS, at :00
  • 4. Alexander KRISTOFF, KATUSHA-ALPECIN, at :05
  • 5. Fernando GAVIRIA, QUICK-STEP FLOORS, at :05
  • 6. Arnaud DÉMARE, FDJ, at :05
  • 7. John DEGENKOLB, TREK-SEGAFREDO, at :05
  • 8. Nacer BOUHANNI, COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CRÉDITS, at :05
  • 9. Elia VIVIANI, TEAM SKY, at :05
  • 10. Caleb EWAN, ORICA-SCOTT, at :05

The race animated early with a 10-rider break forming shortly after leaving Milan: Nico Denz (AG2R La Mondiale), Mattia Frapporti (Androni-Sidermec), Mirco Maestri (Bardiani-CSF), Ivan Rovny (Gazprom-Rusvelo), Alan Marangoni (Nippo-Fantini), Umberto Poli (Novo Nordisk), Federico Zurlo (UAE Team Emirates), Julen Amezqueta (Wilier-Selle Italia) and a pair of Cannondale-Drapac riders – Will Clarke and Tom Skujins – making their Milan-Sanremo debuts.

Averaging 41.5km/h in the first hour, the 10 escapees extended the gap to nearly five minutes over the field after just 50km of racing.

The race was essentially pan-flat with Passo del Turchino serving as a mid-race ascent before the jagged final stretch to the finish, which feature the Cipressa and Poggio climbs ahead of the fast finale on the Via Roma at Sanremo.

While the gap narrowed dramatically on the Turchino to just 2:15 in the fourth hour of racing, the 10 leaders once again extended the break out to five minutes along the Ligurian coast.

With FDJ, Bora-Hansgrohe, Quick-Step Floors and Dimension Data controlling the front of the peloton, the field began to claw back time heading onto Capo Mele – the first of three small successive summits inside the final 51km before reaching the infamous final two climbs.

After dropping Poli, Frapporti and Zurlo from the original break on Capo Berta, the remaining seven leaders were quickly reeled in heading toward the Cipressa.

As expected, Sagan attacked prior to the Poggio in a successful attempt to shed the peloton, however Kwiatkowski and Alaphilippe were quickly in tow as the trio race uncontested toward the finish.

Fresh from winning two stages in commanding fashion at Tirreno-Adriatico, Sagan started Milan-Sanremo as the man to beat from a quality-packed sprint field that included 2014 champion Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin), 2015 winner John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) and Frenchman Arnaud Demare (FDJ), who stunned the field to triumph last year.

Kristoff went on to finish fourth at five seconds in arrears and at the head of a chasing bunch featuring Colombian fast man Fernando Gaviria, Demare, Degenkolb, Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni and Viviani.

But despite leaving all his pre-race rivals behind after a decisive attack on the Poggio climb 6km from the finish, Sagan suffered the misfortune of taking Kwiatkowski with him when the Pole counter-attacked with Alaphilippe.

A “long” sprint on the home straight then left the Slovakian short of juice in the final meters when Kwiatkowski appeared from behind his wheel to snatch victory at the line.

“He actually made the race,” Kwiatkowski said when asked about Sagan’s performance. “But when he escaped, I knew we absolutely had to catch him.”

Having built a decisive lead on the chasing peloton during the technical descent towards the final, flat two kilometers, Sagan led into the final kilometer.

But the Bora team rider took the risk of launching his sprint nearly 350m from the finish, giving Kwiatkowski the chance to follow his wheel and overtake him in the final meters.

The pair almost crashed as an off-balance Sagan wavered, but there was a quick handshake. Sagan and Kwiatkowski have been beating each other on and off for the best part of 10 years.

It was Sagan’s second runner-up place after his second behind Germany’s Gerald Ciolek in 2013, but in trademark fashion he brushed off the defeat. I’ve got used to second here, though I was expecting something different,” said Sagan, who is famous for pulling ‘wheelies’ while riding up the climbs of the Tour de France.

“The final went as it did. Both of them took relays with me, but I thought I had the legs to go for a long sprint.

“The results don’t matter. It’s important to give the fans a bit of a show.”

On his maiden appearance at the first ‘Monument’ of the cycling classics season, Alaphilippe came off worse for wear after over seven hours of racing.

And he was just as surprised as Kwiatkowski at finishing on the podium.

“I’m very happy, to come here and make the podium is incredible,” he said.

Listen to our discussion of Milano-Sanremo on the VeloNews podcast:

Results

  • 1. Michal KWIATKOWSKI, TEAM SKY, in 7:08:39
  • 2. Peter SAGAN, BORA-HANSGROHE, at :00
  • 3. Julian ALAPHILIPPE, QUICK-STEP FLOORS, at :00
  • 4. Alexander KRISTOFF, KATUSHA-ALPECIN, at :05
  • 5. Fernando GAVIRIA RENDON, QUICK-STEP FLOORS, at :05
  • 6. Arnaud DEMARE, FDJ, at :05
  • 7. John DEGENKOLB, TREK-SEGAFREDO, at :05
  • 8. Nacer BOUHANNI, COFIDIS-SOLUTIONS CREDITS, at :05
  • 9. Elia VIVIANI, TEAM SKY, at :05
  • 10. Caleb EWAN, ORICA-SCOTT, at :05
  • 11. Magnus Cort NIELSEN, ORICA-SCOTT, at :05
  • 12. Michael MATTHEWS, TEAM SUNWEB, at :05
  • 13. Sonny COLBRELLI, BAHRAIN-MERIDA, at :05
  • 14. Daniele BENNATI, MOVISTAR TEAM, at :05
  • 15. Francesco GAVAZZI, ANDRONI GIACOTTOLI-SIDERMEC, at :05
  • 16. Luka MEZGEC, ORICA-SCOTT, at :05
  • 17. Ben SWIFT, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, at :05
  • 18. Tim WELLENS, LOTTO-SOUDAL, at :05
  • 19. Edvald BOASSON HAGEN, DIMENSION DATA, at :05
  • 20. Marco CANOLA, NIPPO-VINI FANTINI, at :05
  • 21. Greg VAN AVERMAET, BMC RACING, at :05
  • 22. Jos VAN EMDEN, LOTTONL-JUMBO, at :05
  • 23. Matti BRESCHEL, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at :05
  • 24. Alexey LUTSENKO, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at :05
  • 25. Oscar GATTO, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at :05
  • 26. Bram TANKINK, LOTTONL-JUMBO, at :05
  • 27. Daryl IMPEY, ORICA-SCOTT, at :05
  • 28. Luis León SANCHEZ, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at :05
  • 29. Philippe GILBERT, QUICK-STEP FLOORS, at :05
  • 30. Christophe LAPORTE, COFIDIS-SOLUTIONS CREDITS, at :05
  • 31. Filippo POZZATO, WILIER TRIESTINA, at :05
  • 32. Kristian SBARAGLI, DIMENSION DATA, at :05
  • 33. Iuri FILOSI, NIPPO-VINI FANTINI, at :05
  • 34. Damiano CARUSO, BMC RACING, at :05
  • 35. MICHAEL VALGREN ANDERSEN, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at :05
  • 36. Simon GERRANS, ORICA-SCOTT, at :05
  • 37. Alberto BETTIOL, CANNONDALE-DRAPAC, at :05
  • 38. Stephen CUMMINGS, DIMENSION DATA, at :05
  • 39. Jasper STUYVEN, TREK-SEGAFREDO, at :05
  • 40. Diego ULISSI, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, at :05
  • 41. Jan BAKELANTS, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at :05
  • 42. Anthony ROUX, FDJ, at :05
  • 43. Enrico BATTAGLIN, LOTTONL-JUMBO, at :05
  • 44. Alex DOWSETT, MOVISTAR TEAM, at :05
  • 45. Michael ALBASINI, ORICA-SCOTT, at :05
  • 46. Tony GALLOPIN, LOTTO-SOUDAL, at :05
  • 47. Franco PELLIZOTTI, BAHRAIN-MERIDA, at :05
  • 48. Mattia CATTANEO, ANDRONI GIACOTTOLI-SIDERMEC, at :05
  • 49. Gianni MOSCON, TEAM SKY, at :05
  • 50. Julien SIMON, COFIDIS-SOLUTIONS CREDITS, at :05
  • 51. Geoffrey SOUPE, COFIDIS-SOLUTIONS CREDITS, at :05
  • 52. Jens KEUKELEIRE, ORICA-SCOTT, at :05
  • 53. Enrico GASPAROTTO, BAHRAIN-MERIDA, at :05
  • 54. Davide CIMOLAI, FDJ, at :18
  • 55. Matteo TRENTIN, QUICK-STEP FLOORS, at :20
  • 56. Giovanni VISCONTI, BAHRAIN-MERIDA, at :31
  • 57. Matej MOHORIC, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, at :31
  • 58. Fabio FELLINE, TREK-SEGAFREDO, at :31
  • 59. Simon ŠPILAK, KATUSHA-ALPECIN, at :53
  • 60. Matteo BUSATO, WILIER TRIESTINA, at 1:08
  • 61. Manuele MORI, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, at 1:35
  • 62. Matthieu LADAGNOUS, FDJ, at 1:35
  • 63. Jasha SÜTTERLIN, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 1:35
  • 64. Lukasz WISNIOWSKI, TEAM SKY, at 1:35
  • 65. Tom BOONEN, QUICK-STEP FLOORS, at 1:35
  • 66. Sam BENNETT, BORA-HANSGROHE, at 1:35
  • 67. Primož ROGLIC, LOTTONL-JUMBO, at 1:35
  • 68. Cesare BENEDETTI, BORA-HANSGROHE, at 1:45
  • 69. Tom DUMOULIN, TEAM SUNWEB, at 2:25
  • 70. Grega BOLE, BAHRAIN-MERIDA, at 2:28
  • 71. Eduard Michael GROSU, NIPPO-VINI FANTINI, at 3:52
  • 72. Koen DE KORT, TREK-SEGAFREDO, at 3:52
  • 73. Michael MORKOV, KATUSHA-ALPECIN, at 3:52
  • 74. Maciej BODNAR, BORA-HANSGROHE, at 3:52
  • 75. Ivan SAVITSKIY, GAZPROM-RUSVELO, at 3:55
  • 76. Yonder GODOY, WILIER TRIESTINA, at 3:55
  • 77. Daniel OSS, BMC RACING, at 3:55
  • 78. Reto HOLLENSTEIN, KATUSHA-ALPECIN, at 3:55
  • 79. Ivan SANTAROMITA, NIPPO-VINI FANTINI, at 3:55
  • 80. Martin ELMIGER, BMC RACING, at 3:55
  • 81. Marco MARCATO, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, at 3:55
  • 82. Toms SKUJINS, CANNONDALE-DRAPAC, at 3:55
  • 83. Jurgen ROELANDTS, LOTTO-SOUDAL, at 3:55
  • 84. Hugo HOULE, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 3:55
  • 85. Fausto MASNADA, ANDRONI GIACOTTOLI-SIDERMEC, at 3:55
  • 86. Pier Paolo DE NEGRI, NIPPO-VINI FANTINI, at 3:55
  • 87. Simon GESCHKE, TEAM SUNWEB, at 3:55
  • 88. Marcus BURGHARDT, BORA-HANSGROHE, at 3:55
  • 89. Nikias ARNDT, TEAM SUNWEB, at 3:55
  • 90. Jacopo MOSCA, WILIER TRIESTINA, at 3:55
  • 91. Paul MARTENS, LOTTONL-JUMBO, at 3:55
  • 92. Ian STANNARD, TEAM SKY, at 3:55
  • 93. Simon CLARKE, CANNONDALE-DRAPAC, at 3:55
  • 94. Mathias FRANK, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 3:55
  • 95. Andreas SCHILLINGER, BORA-HANSGROHE, at 3:55
  • 96. NICCOLO’ BONIFAZIO, BAHRAIN-MERIDA, at 3:55
  • 97. Salvatore PUCCIO, TEAM SKY, at 3:55
  • 98. Luke ROWE, TEAM SKY, at 3:55
  • 99. Quentin JAUREGUI, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 3:59
  • 100. Marco HALLER, KATUSHA-ALPECIN, at 3:59
  • 101. Mark CAVENDISH, DIMENSION DATA, at 5:24
  • 102. Marco FRAPPORTI, ANDRONI GIACOTTOLI-SIDERMEC, at 5:24
  • 103. Aleksei TCATEVICH, GAZPROM-RUSVELO, at 5:24
  • 104. David LOZANO RIBA, TEAM NOVO NORDISK, at 5:24
  • 105. Raffaello BONUSI, ANDRONI GIACOTTOLI-SIDERMEC, at 5:24
  • 106. Simone ANDREETTA, BARDIANI-CSF, at 5:24
  • 107. Tom VAN ASBROECK, CANNONDALE-DRAPAC, at 5:24
  • 108. Lorenzo ROTA, BARDIANI-CSF, at 5:24
  • 109. Ruslan TLEUBAYEV, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 5:24
  • 110. Simone VELASCO, BARDIANI-CSF, at 5:24
  • 111. ANDREY GRIVKO, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 5:24
  • 112. Francisco Jose VENTOSO ALBERDI, BMC RACING, at 5:24
  • 113. Juraj SAGAN, BORA-HANSGROHE, at 5:24
  • 114. Sven erik BYSTRØM, KATUSHA-ALPECIN, at 5:24
  • 115. Manuele BOARO, BAHRAIN-MERIDA, at 5:24
  • 116. Daniel FELIPE MARTINEZ POVEDA, WILIER TRIESTINA, at 5:24
  • 117. Kristijan KOREN, CANNONDALE-DRAPAC, at 5:24
  • 118. Fabio SABATINI, QUICK-STEP FLOORS, at 5:24
  • 119. Nuno MATOS, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 5:24
  • 120. Jorge ARCAS PEÑA, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 5:24
  • 121. Søren Kragh ANDERSEN, TEAM SUNWEB, at 5:24
  • 122. Tomasz MARCZYNSKI, LOTTO-SOUDAL, at 5:24
  • 123. Mickael DELAGE, FDJ, at 5:24
  • 124. Pavel BRUTT, GAZPROM-RUSVELO, at 5:24
  • 125. Silvan DILLIER, BMC RACING, at 5:24
  • 126. Gediminas BAGDONAS, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 5:24
  • 127. Gregory RAST, TREK-SEGAFREDO, at 5:24
  • 128. Luca WACKERMANN, BARDIANI-CSF, at 5:24
  • 129. Ignatas KONOVALOVAS, at 5:24
  • 130. Ivan ROVNY, GAZPROM-RUSVELO, at 5:24
  • 131. Sacha MODOLO, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, at 5:24
  • 132. Jens DEBUSSCHERE, LOTTO-SOUDAL, at 5:24
  • 133. Tiesj BENOOT, LOTTO-SOUDAL, at 5:24
  • 134. Carlos Alberto BETANCUR GOMEZ, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 5:24
  • 135. Vegard Stake LAENGEN, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, at 5:24
  • 136. Enrico BARBIN, BARDIANI-CSF, at 5:24
  • 137. Mathew HAYMAN, ORICA-SCOTT, at 5:24
  • 138. Thomas LEEZER, LOTTONL-JUMBO, at 5:24
  • 139. Julen AMEZQUETA, WILIER TRIESTINA, at 5:24
  • 140. Davide BALLERINI, ANDRONI GIACOTTOLI-SIDERMEC, at 8:34
  • 141. Stijn VANDENBERGH, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 8:34
  • 142. Charles PLANET, TEAM NOVO NORDISK, at 8:34
  • 143. Kiel REIJNEN, TREK-SEGAFREDO, at 8:34
  • 144. Borut BOZIC, BAHRAIN-MERIDA, at 8:34
  • 145. Carlos BARBERO CUESTA, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 8:34
  • 146. Roy CURVERS, TEAM SUNWEB, at 8:34
  • 147. Alexander PORSEV, GAZPROM-RUSVELO, at 8:34
  • 148. Twan CASTELIJNS, LOTTONL-JUMBO, at 8:34
  • 149. Héctor CARRETERO, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 8:34
  • 150. Mark RENSHAW, DIMENSION DATA, at 8:34
  • 151. Jacopo GUARNIERI, FDJ, at 8:34
  • 152. Nico DENZ, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 8:34
  • 153. Mirco MAESTRI, BARDIANI-CSF, at 8:34
  • 154. Manuel QUINZIATO, BMC RACING, at 8:34
  • 155. Alan MARANGONI, NIPPO-VINI FANTINI, at 8:34
  • 156. William CLARKE, CANNONDALE-DRAPAC, at 8:34
  • 157. Manuel BELLETTI, WILIER TRIESTINA, at 8:34
  • 158. Andrea PALINI, ANDRONI GIACOTTOLI-SIDERMEC, at 8:34
  • 159. Javier MEGIAS LEAL, TEAM NOVO NORDISK, at 8:34
  • 160. Truls KORSÆTH, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 8:34
  • 161. Dimitri CLAEYS, COFIDIS-SOLUTIONS CREDITS, at 8:34
  • 162. Jack BAUER, QUICK-STEP FLOORS, at 9:23
  • 163. Jakub MARECZKO, WILIER TRIESTINA, at 10:44
  • 164. Cyril LEMOINE, COFIDIS-SOLUTIONS CREDITS, at 10:44
  • 165. Marcel SIEBERG, LOTTO-SOUDAL, at 10:44
  • 166. Martijn VERSCHOOR, TEAM NOVO NORDISK, at 10:44
  • 167. Lars Ytting BAK, LOTTO-SOUDAL, at 10:44
  • 168. Juan Jose LOBATO DEL VALLE, LOTTONL-JUMBO, at 10:44
  • 169. Tom SCULLY, CANNONDALE-DRAPAC, at 10:44
  • 170. Scott THWAITES, DIMENSION DATA, at 10:44
  • 171. Nikolay TRUSOV, GAZPROM-RUSVELO, at 10:44
  • 172. Nathan BROWN, CANNONDALE-DRAPAC, at 10:44
  • 173. Florian SENECHAL, COFIDIS-SOLUTIONS CREDITS, at 14:15
  • 174. Eugenio ALAFACI, TREK-SEGAFREDO, at 14:15
  • 175. Danny VAN POPPEL, TEAM SKY, at 14:15
  • 176. Julien VERMOTE, QUICK-STEP FLOORS, at 14:15
  • 177. Alexis GOUGEARD, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 14:15
  • 178. Miles SCOTSON, BMC RACING, at 14:15
  • 179. Aleksejs SARAMOTINS, BORA-HANSGROHE, at 14:15
  • 180. Artur ERSHOV, GAZPROM-RUSVELO, at 14:15
  • 181. Jay Robert THOMSON, DIMENSION DATA, at 14:15
  • 182. Marco COLEDAN, TREK-SEGAFREDO, at 14:15
  • 183. Fabio CALABRIA, TEAM NOVO NORDISK, at 14:15
  • 184. Kenneth VANBILSEN, COFIDIS-SOLUTIONS CREDITS, at 14:15
  • 185. Bernhard EISEL, DIMENSION DATA, at 14:15
  • 186. Mattia FRAPPORTI, ANDRONI GIACOTTOLI-SIDERMEC, at 14:15
  • 187. Tom STAMSNIJDER, TEAM SUNWEB, at 14:15
  • 188. Albert TIMMER, TEAM SUNWEB, at 14:15
  • 189. Maxim BELKOV, KATUSHA-ALPECIN, at 14:15
  • 190. Hendrikus VAN IJZENDOORN, TEAM NOVO NORDISK, at 16:40
  • 191. Federico ZURLO, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, at 17:22
  • 192. Umberto POLI, TEAM NOVO NORDISK, at 17:22
  • 193. Roman MAIKIN, GAZPROM-RUSVELO, at 17:22
  • 194. Kohei UCHIMA, NIPPO-VINI FANTINI, at 17:22
  • 195. Brian KAMSTRA, TEAM NOVO NORDISK, at 17:22
  • DNF William BONNET, FDJ,
  • DNF Nicola BOEM, BARDIANI-CSF
  • DNF Paolo SIMION, BARDIANI-CSF
  • DNF Hideto NAKANE, NIPPO-VINI FANTINI
  • DNF Rick ZABEL, KATUSHA-ALPECIN

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