Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma ) was inevitably drawn into the strongest-man contest with Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) on the way up the Poggio, but it was Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious) who swooped away with the main prize over the other side. Now 115 years into its history, Milan-San Remo remains as beguiling as ever.
In the pandemic-delayed edition of two years ago, Van Aert’s inclination to go all-in served him well when he tracked Julian Alaphilippe’s decisive acceleration on the Poggio and then outsprinted him on the Via Roma. This time out, Van Aert’s instincts were similar, and he followed each of Pogačar’s four rasping attacks on the way up the final climb after the UAE Team Emirates squad had led from the Cipressa.
Despite that onslaught, however, the pre-race favourites never managed to disengage themselves fully from their pursuers. Van Aert crested the summit in a four-man group with Pogačar, Søren Kragh Andersen (Team DSM) and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), but the chasers were already upon them. Big bets don’t always come off on the Riviera.
“Tadej Pogačar’s attacks came early and were heavy; I fired my best arrows there,” Van Aert admitted after he crossed the line in eighth, two seconds down on Mohorič.
“In such a case, you might be better off sitting a little further back, like whoever wins in the end. But you never know, it could always be the right attack. I have no regrets, but I am disappointed.”
Mohorič’s talent as a descender was well […]