Almost for Sagan in Milan
Watched the last 10K of Milan San Remo and it was clear Michal Kwiakowski of Sky rode a perfect race in the break with Peter Sagan and Julian Alaphilippe of Quickstep Floors
The 2014 winner of MSR played it smart, never panicked and did not one extra watt of work in the run-in to town. Sagan has been getting lots of respect for his race savvy but on Saturday perhaps he overplayed his hand and did a bit too much by leading the break almost all the way down and onto the flat sprint finish.
While Sagan is a superb bike handler with a polished bike-throw, his lunge couldn’t quite retake his lead over Kwiakowski who timed his own effort down to the meter. Until the final 50 meters, it appeared that Sagan would take his second Monument but the Pole snatched the race away.
Nevertheless, it was Sagan who blew apart Milan San Remo halfway up the Poggio. Racing on instinct, he moved from about fifth position, quickly jumping up the right side and past the four Sky riders setting tempo on the front. It was a confident power move that only Kwiakowski and Alaphilippe would manage to follow.
In fact, for a few long moments it looked like Sagan might actually drop everyone and roll into San Remo with a massive solo victory. However, Alaphilippe dug deep and pulled Kwiakowski up to Sagan as they hit the top of the Poggio.
Then they essentially let Sagan lead them down into town as they recovered from their efforts to latch onto his wheel. The fastvakian certainly appeared confident that the odds of victory were in his favor even if Kwiakowski forced him to lead out the sprint from the front.
Tom Boonen described Milan San Remo as a seven hour race decided in two seconds. This edition was far closer and more dramatic than that: seven hours in the saddle yet decided in the final millisecond.