MILANO-SANREMO’23: Mathieu’s Monumental Moment!
Race Report: The first monument of the season, the longest one-day race of the year and the winner is Mathieu van der Poel. With a massive jump at the top Poggio, the Dutchman dropped like a stone and couldn’t be caught. Filippo Ganna out-sprinted Wout van Aert and Tadej Pogačar.
Mathieu van der Poel won the 114th edition of Milano-Sanremo. The Dutchman broke away from Filippo Ganna, Tadej Pogačar and Wout van Aert at the top of the Poggio and then soloed to victory. Filippo Ganna came second, Wout van Aert third and Tadej Pogačar fourth.
The win for Mathieu van der Poel
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Last year’s winner – Matej Mohorič with a dropped post
The 2023 Milano-Sanremo starts in Abbiategrasso. After approximately 30 km on flat roads along the Ticino River, it merges back onto the ‘traditional’ course in Pavia. From there, the race once again takes the route that has connected Milan to the Riviera di Ponente for over 110 years, through Ovada and the Passo del Turchino, dropping into Genoa in Voltri. From there, it rolls westwards, by the sea, following the Statale Aurelia through Varazze, Savona, Albenga (avoiding the Manie climb, which only featured in the route from 2008 to 2013) and Imperia. In San Lorenzo al Mare, past the classic sequence of the Capi (Mele, Cervo and Berta), the peloton will negotiate the two climbs that have entered the race route in recent decades: the Cipressa (1982) and the Poggio di Sanremo (1961). The Cipressa is just over 5.6 km long with a gradient of 4.1%. The highly testing descent leads back down to SS 1 Aurelia.
2023 Milano-Sanremo profile
The ascent of Poggio di Sanremo begins with 9 km remaining to the finish (3.7 km, average gradient less than 4%, maximum 8% in the segment before getting to the top of the climb). The road is slightly narrower, with 4 hairpin turns in the first 2 km. The descent is testing, on asphalt switchback roads, narrow at points and with twists and turns as far as the junction with SS 1 Aurelia. The final part of the descent enters urban Sanremo. The last 2 km are on long, straight urban roads. There is a left-hand bend on a roundabout 850 m from the finish line. The last bend, leading into the home straight on the Via Roma, is 750 m from the finish line.
2023 Milano-Sanremo map
As the race left Abbiategrasso and still in neutralised zone, there was a crash. Not just any rider, but top favourite Tadej Pogačar. The Slovenian was able to continue with just some dirt on his shoulder. Soon after the start, a leading group of nine riders quickly formed.
Single chainring for Wout van Aert (52 x 10/28)
Sanremo winner and Tudor cycling team owner – Fabian Cancellara at the start
Jan Maas of Jayco AlUla was joined by his teammate Alexandre Balmer, Aloïs Charrin (Tudor), Alexandr Riabushenko (Astana Qazaqstan), Samuele Zoccarato & Alessandro Tonelli (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè), Samuele Rivi & Mirco Maestri (EOLO-Kometa) and Negasi Haylu Abreha (Q36.5). They took a lead of about 3 minutes ahead on the peloton, where Jos van Emden (Jumbo-Visma), Silvan Dillier (Alpecin-Deceuninck) and Jacopo Mosca (Trek-Segafredo) set the pace.
One of the top favourites at the start – Wout van Aert
Two double World champions and Milano-Sanremo winners – Gianni Bugno and Julian Alaphilippe
Not a great start for Tadej Pogačar, he fell in the neutralised zone
The race remained the same for a long time. Only on the Passo del Turchino was there something to report: A crash including Julian Alaphilippe. The winner of Milano-Sanremo was unscathed, but had to change bikes. Then it was a long chase for the Frenchman to return to the peloton. On the descent of the Turchino, where Maciej Bodnar crashed and had to abandon, Trek-Segafredo had lifted the speed.
Leaving the start town of Abbiategrasso
The Pogačar fans were out
The early kilometres were misty as usual
After the descent it was all quiet in the peloton. The break’s lead, which was down to 1:30 at one point, grew again to just under 3 minutes. UAE team Emirates had also come to the front to help the other teams in the pursuit. The pace picked up further as the Capo Mele, the first of the three Capi, hove into view. The difference to the escapees had shrunk to 1:10 at the foot.
This farmer had a good view
The break of the day eventually got together
The peloton didn’t give the break much more than 3 minutes
On the Capo Mele, Cherrin had to drop out from the front, but nothing happened on the climb. It was the same story on the Capo Cervo. The Capo Berta provided a little more action, as the break was thinned down to five riders and there were also riders in trouble in the peloton. Mark Cavendish and Jonathan Milan, and others, had to let go the peloton. Alex Aranburu managed to get back to the bunch after a crash.
2009 Sanremo winner – Mark Cavendish
The break was working well together, but…
No snow this year
Maestri, Rivi, Tonelli, Balmer, Maas and Zoccorato (who had been dropped) were caught by the peloton just before the start of the Cipressa, where there were more crashes. In the first crash was Sam Bennett (BORA-hansgrohe) with a handful of other riders. Later Jan Tratnik (Jumbo-Visma) who was also on the ground.
Campo Ligure getting closer to the coast
Trek-Segafredo were doing a lot of work in the peloton – Jacopo Mosca and Jasper Stuyven
At last, the Mediterranean
On the Cipressa, UAE Team Emirates took the lead. Felix Großschartner led the peloton and caused some splits, but many riders were still able to follow. Arnaud De Lie was in trouble. Just before the top, Mathieu van der Poel moved to the front and was the first to start the descent. The Dutchman, together with teammate Søren Kragh Andersen and Matteo Trentin, had a small lead, but didn’t push on. Nils Politt attacked on the run-up to the Poggio.
Still over 100 kilometres to Sanremo
Coming into the action area
Savona Sea Cruise ship
Well before the start of the last climb of the day, the German had already been pulled in. With a relatively large peloton, the climb started. Bahrain Victorious, the team of last year’s winner, Matej Mohorič, was the first to come to the front with several riders, but the other big favourites were also close. This included Tadej Pogačar, who gave the signal to Tim Wellens to put the pressure on, just over 2 kilometres from the top.
Time to lift the speed in the peloton
Van Aert and the other stars moved forward for the Capi
The peloton was together for the Cipressa
The Belgian went ‘full gas’ with Pogačar on his wheel. Halfway through the climb, Trentin dropped a gap around tenth place, after which Pogačar launched his attack. Ganna closed it, after which Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel also jumped across. Behind them a group formed with Mohorič, Kragh Andersen and Mads Pedersen. Just before the top there was a split at the front as Van der Poel shot off the front to start the descent with a small lead.
Arnaud De Lie led on to the Cipressa – Then went out the back
Van der Poel and Kragh Andersen were on the front for the descent of the Cipressa
Pogačar made his move on the Poggio – As everyone expected
The Dutchman threw himself down the twisting Poggio. His lead on the three behind widened. The victory was his. Van der Poel flew down to the Via Roma with a large margin at the finish line. Ganna got the better of Van Aert and Pogačar to take second and Van Aert was third.
Van der Poel solo to the Via Roma
The win for van der Poel – Just like his grandfather
A big effort from Ganna for a brilliant second place
3rd for Van Aert and 4th for Pogačar
2023 Milano-Sanremo winner, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck): “A special win in a special race. It’s so difficult to win here. I wasn’t hiding at Tirreno-Adriatico, I just wasn’t on my best level. We had a great week of training with all the team, they did a great job for me. It’s amazing, we will celebrate for sure”
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Deceuninck 6:25:23
2. Filippo Ganna (Ita) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:15
3. Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
4. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates
5. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 0:26
6. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
7. Magnus Cort (Den) EF Education-EasyPost
8. Matej Mohorič (Slo) Bahrain Victorious
9. Anthony Turgis (Fra) TotalEnergies
10. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
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