Mathieu Van der Poel solos to emotional Milan-Sanremo victory

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Mathieu Van der Poel solos to emotional Milan-Sanremo victory

Van der Poel celebrates his triumph
Van der Poel celebrates his triumphProfimedia
Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel (28) won the Milan-Sanremo on Saturday to claim the first Monument of the season, 62 years after his grandfather won the race.

UAE Team Emirates set the pace and their rider Tim Wellens took the lead in the final stages before handing it over to his teammate Tadej Pogacar, but he had Filippo Ganna, Wout van Aert and Van der Poel for company on the final descent.

However, Van der Poel launched his attack on the summit of the Poggio with 5.5km to go and stormed into the lead, extending it as they entered the city with the other three riders fighting it out for second place.

The Dutchman crossed the line with his arms raised after nearly six-and-a-half hours and Ganna took second ahead of Van Aert and Pogacar.

The victory was Van der Poel's third after winning the Tour of Flanders in 2020 and 2022, following in the footsteps of his French grandfather Raymond Poulidor who won the race in 1961.

"For sure (it is special), not only because he won it. It's one Monument every rider wants to win one day," Van der Poel said with a smile.

"I cannot imagine a better scenario than this one... It wasn't hard as previous years but I already felt my legs were really fresh. I knew I wanted to place an attack at the end of the Poggio. This is one race I really wanted to win."

Twice world champion Julian Alaphilippe of France was involved in a crash during a descent of the Passo del Turchino midway through the race and had to switch bikes before rejoining the peloton.

Milan-Sanremo is the longest Monument race at 294 kilometres this year. The other Monument races are the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Giro di Lombardia.

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