A cunning display of Julian Alaphilippe saw him finish on the podium at Milano-Sanremo.
Lining out at the start on the Via della Chiesa Rossa, in the shadow of Milan’s Castello Sforzesco, Julian Alaphilippe didn’t know what to expect from “La Primavera”, as this was his first outing at the 291km-long race which suits more the sprinters than the climbers and has a special way of taking the sting out of the riders’ legs while breaking their hopes and dreams.
A regular feature on the route of Milano-Sanremo since 1960, when Gastone Nencini was the first rider at the top, Poggio played a huge role in the outcome, as Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe) surged clear, putting some daylight between him and the other contenders. Julian Alaphilippe was the first to respond, before Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) joined him.
The sprint of the iconic Via Roma was an enthrailling one, and Alaphilippe concluded a close third, behind Kwiatkowski and Sagan.
“Today, my role was to cover the attacks on the Poggio, because Fernando was our road captain and we were hoping to bring him to the finish in the best possible position”, said Alaphilippe.
“So, when Sagan went, I followed. I went full gas on the Poggio and had hoped to recover a bit on the descent, but we rode really hard also there. My legs were empty at the finish and I sprinted against two very strong riders, but I don’t have any regret, despite coming close to winning this beautiful race. I am happy with this top 3 and I hope one day I will be victorious in Milano-Sanremo”.