Jasper Philipsen returns Milan-San Remo to the sprinters

Road 16/03/24 17:33 Migue A.

If the finish of the Milan-San Remo is usually one of the most exciting of each season, this 2024 edition has been, directly, heart-stopping. An amazing climb to the Poggio, the desired Van der Poel against Pogacar, and a high-tension finish in which even Tom Pidcock wanted to join the party. Almost 300 kilometers condensed into a few kilometers that explain by themselves why the Milan-San Remo is one of the 5 Monuments.

Milan-San Remo eludes Tadej Pogacar once again

Despite being the number one favorite in all predictions. All the pre-race statements conditioned their tactics to what Tadej Pocagar did, the reality is that winning Milan-San Remo continues to be ridiculously complicated and it is not enough to just be the best but to know how to play your cards at the right moment and make it work.

Tadej Pogacar once again followed the script perfectly but, one more year, he is left not only with a bitter taste but without the option to dispute the victory, although this year he continued to progress and achieved, at the last minute, a place on the podium that, surely, means very little to the Slovenian.

The race started at 10 in the morning on the streets of Pavia. Ahead 288 kilometers that began with the usual script of an escape that, in this 204th edition of the Milan-San Remo, was much more fought than usual, having to wait 18 kilometers until a leading group finally formed with a multitude of Italian representation with three cyclists from Bardiani and three from Polti-Kometa in addition to other cyclists like the rider from Movistar Team Sergio Samitier as the most relevant name along with Davide Bais, a rider who continues to grow in each race and it would not be strange for him to soon end up in a World Tour team.

Very high pace throughout the first part of the race with a Lidl-Trek team leading the peloton and not allowing the escape to take more than two and a half minutes. The favorable wind during most of this Milan-San Remo made the pace dizzying throughout the race.

However, as usual, it was not until the arrival of the Capos when the pace definitively intensified. At Capo Mele, the first of these small climbs, the UAE Team Emirates appeared at the front, for the first time in this Milan-San Remo. They set a lively pace that, after Capo Cervo and on the climb to Capo Berta, eliminated Christophe Laporte which meant extending a curious statistic: the years that the Visma-Lease a Bike structure has gone without winning a monument, precisely since Wout van Aert achieved his victory here in what is his only monument won to date.

Up ahead, the escape continued with perfect understanding that made them go further than ever, in fact, after the Capos they still maintained a minute and a half advantage which was reduced to just over a minute at the beginning of the climb to Cipressa. However, at this point, Matxin's words made sense, who, in pre-race statements, explained that the key for Pogacar to win would be if they managed to climb Cipressa in less than 9 minutes. A stratospheric time that would improve by more than 20 seconds a record of this climb dating back to the 90s. Quite something.

The peloton started the ascent and it was Isaac del Toro, added to the UAE Team Emirates lineup for this Milan-San Remo at the last minute, who set an incredible pace that, for the moment, eliminated one of Lidl-Trek's cards, the sprinter Jonathan Milan who came as one of the mainstays of the American team after his splendid Tirreno-Adriatico. However, the Mexican could not select enough and there was even a small stop in the group that gave a last breath to the escape.

A vain illusion since, in the tricky descent of Cipressa, Sergio Samitier fell when they could already feel the breath of the favorites group. Still, Davide Bais still had legs to launch a last attack and continue to be the focus of the camera in the fast approach to the Poggio.

Thus came the denouement of this Milan-San Remo, those kilometers where the intensity reaches levels that are not seen in any other race of the season. However, the Poggio started much more restrained than ever, in a tense waiting rhythm where two cyclists from Tudor were at the front while the favorites looked at each other waiting for another to make the first move.

Finally, after the first complicated curves, those in which you even have to brake despite going uphill, Tadej Pogacar put Tim Wellens under pressure in a repetition of last year's climb. His hope was that he would take him as high as possible but the Belgian, despite setting an incredible pace, could not hold on long enough and forced Pogacar to anticipate the attack, dry, devastating but so predictable that Mathieu Van der Poel, Alberto Bettiol, and Filippo Ganna could hold on initially, causing a pause that Mads Pedersen or Matej Mohoric took advantage of to enter.

Without thinking twice, the Danish Lidl-Trek rider tried to surprise with the summit almost in sight, a moment that Tadej Pogacar took to launch a very strong counterattack which, in a tremendous effort, was closed by Van der Poel right at the top. It seemed that everything was set for the duel between them, but Pogacar's descent was not as brilliant as required to win a race, one of those for victory or hospital.

First, a surprising Tom Pidcock managed to link up with the leading duo and, almost in the streets of San Remo, Mads Pedersen and Matej Mohoric also joined, leading a large group of cyclists behind them. Once again on the coastal road, Mohoric played his card with a strong attack from behind that, in any other edition, would surely have been victorious. However, the Slovenian did not count on a Mathieu van der Poel who launched himself to close the gap without a doubt, practically mortgaging all his chances of victory.

Just when neutralizing Mohoric, seconds of pause and it was Matteo Sobrero who attacked but with little conviction. But his attack was seized by a Tom Pidcock who tried to surprise, even savoring victory as he entered the final straight on Via Roma in the lead. A false illusion as Jasper Stuyven launched the sprint for Mads Pedersen, from far away. Too much to carry almost 300 kilometers in the legs so the Dane was easily overtaken by a tremendous Jasper Philipsen and, fighting side by side against him, a veteran of these events, a brilliant Michael Matthews almost managed to make a comeback, just half a wheel separated him from what would have been a great finish to his brilliant career but it was not to be. Jasper Philipsen was unbeatable in a victory that once again puts a sprinter at the top of the San Remo podium, something that had not happened since the 2016 edition, when Arnaud Démare took the win.

Tadej Pogacar closed the podium while the other big favorite, Mathieu van der Poel, after emptying himself in the final pursuits, could barely secure a tenth place. Fourth was Mads Pedersen, another of those expected to win this race someday. Also surprising in that Top10 was the presence of Julian Alaphilippe who, little by little, is regaining his level as a cyclist and who surely still has a lot of spectacle to offer us.

2024 Milan-San Remo Classification

  1. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 6h15'45''
  2. Michael Matthews (Jayco-AlUla) +00''
  3. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +00''
  4. Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek) +00''
  5. Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-EasyPost) +00''
  6. Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Victorious) +00''
  7. Maxim Van Gils (Lotto-Dstny) +00''
  8. Jasper Stuyven (Lidl-Trek) +00''
  9. Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-QuickStep) +00''
  10. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) +00''



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Jasper Philipsen remporte Milan-San Remo 2024