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Wout van Aert on Milan-San Remo finale: ‘I wasted too much energy chasing Pogačar’

Jumbo-Visma star covered attacks from Tadej Pogačar but could not chase down the attacking Mohorič on the Poggio descent.

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Wout van Aert was one of the pre-race favorites for Milan-San Remo, but could only come away with eighth on the Via Roma.

The Jumbo-Visma rider responded to a string of searing attacks from Tadej Pogačar on the uphill side of the Poggio, but couldn’t follow when winner Matej Mohorič attacked on the descent.

“Of course I am disappointed,” van Aert said at the line. “I think I wasted too much energy in responding to Tadej Pogačar’s attacks on the Poggio.”

Also read: Mohorič powers to victory on magical Poggio descent

Van Aert countered all five of Pogačar’s searing accelerations on the Poggio climb, but later missed the wheel when Mohorič came over the top of the Poggio. The Bahrain Victorious rider opened a gap and held five seconds on the chasers at the bottom of the climb.

“I wanted to slide in, but couldn’t go straight through. And once he’s got 10 yards, you know it’s dangerous. When we got down, it was over and out,” van Aert said.

Wout van Aert: ‘I shot my best arrows following Pogačar on the Poggio’

Wout van Aert was protected by Jumbo-Visma all day. (Photo: MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images)

Van Aert said there were not many in the chasing group with legs to cooperate to bring back Mohorič in the decisive closing kilometers.

“You know that there are already many who are thinking of a podium place. That is their right. However, I prefer to go down fighting. Together with Mathieu, I raced to win, but that was no longer possible,” he said. “I shot my best arrows following Pogačar on the Poggio.”

Van Aert, a winner in 2020, came across the line eighth in last position in the lead chase group.

“The whole final was fast,” van Aert said at the line. “Once Mohorič attacked on the descent, I knew it was a dangerous move. It seemed only Mathieu [van der Poel] and I were the only ones interested in chasing.

“It was very fast with the tailwind down the coast and the descent off the Poggio was very fast after the descent of Mohorič,” he said. “He got the gap, that’s it. It was a dangerous situation because we know how good he is on the downhill, and I was on the wheel of Mathieu and Pogi, and it was a difficult situation.”