The peloton took on the challenge of the longest classic of the year this Saturday, la Classicissima. Milan-San Remo (1.WT, 8/08) offered the longest course of its 111 editions, with 305 race kilometers preceded by 10 kilometers before the official start. A seven man breakaway lead the race crossing Piemont. The traditional course with the Cipressa and the Poggio was only followed from Imperia.
The start of the race was characterized by the heat, so the peloton only accelerated at the approach of the Mediterrenean coast line. Unfortunately, Danny Van Poppel crashed just before the foot of the Cipressa. Luckily without Harm, but he had to give up his ambitions. Loïc Vliegen then opened the race at the foot of the Cipressa, but he was only accompanied by Jacopo Mosca. They were caught just before the downhill towards the coast and the Poggio.
The foot of the final climb was very fast, but Aimé De Gendt made a gap with Jacopo Mosca. The Belgian rider was only caught by Julian Alaphilippe and Wout Van Aert hectometers before the top. De Gendt was able to follow the peloton, and crossed the finish line in San Remo in 21st place.
Loïc Vliegen :
« I felt very good, and I maybe showed it a little too early. With only six riders per team, I expected others daring to attack as well. But unfortunately we were only two and couldn't form a nice group on the Cipressa, so we were caught at the top. I'm very happy about my discovery of this monument, and I want to come back next season with this experience at this 300 kilometer race to do better, and attack on the Poggio! »
Aimé De Gendt :
« At the beginning of the race I didn’t feel great, but it went crescendo during the race. After 220 kilometers in the saddle, it felt like I’d only done 50! I wanted to try something on the Poggio, and make sure Andrea Pasqualon was in a comfortable position. I played all or nothing. I climbed at a good pace and left something for the last two hairpins. But Alaphilippe and De Gendt flew past! So all I had to concentrate on was staying with the first group, which I managed to do. »
« I’m very happy about my first San Remo, only the sprint didn’t go as I wanted. I started sprinting on the left side of the road, but Arnaud Démare almost crashed into the barriers. I lost my chances on a top 10 or a top 15. But this 21st place exceeds my expectations! »
Hilaire Van der Schueren :
« Despite the crash of Danny Van Poppel, we accomplished a perfect race. Just before his crash at the foot of the Cipressa, Danny informed us about his good feeling. Then, Loïc Vliegen and Aimé De Gendt animated the race, on the Cipressa and on the Poggio. And we finished 21st. »
« Our preparation with two good team training camps in July bore fruit. We also did 7 hour training sessions to prepare this event. If we can be spared from bad luck, we are ready to shine during the next weeks! »
1.Wout Van Aert
21.Aimé De Gendt +0:02
34.Xandro Meurisse +0:36
41.Jan Bakelants +1:24
48.Loïc Vliegen +1:57
132.Danny Van Poppel +15:05