Belgian rider Jasper Stuyven surprised the favorites to win Saturday’s Milan-San Remo one-day classic in Italy for the first ‘Monument’ success of his career. The Trek rider attacked late and held off the sprinters with Australian Caleb Ewan second ahead of last year’s winner Wout van Aert of Belgium. The 28-year-old Stuyven took the biggest win of his career with a well-time attack with 2.5km to go, sitting on Dane Soren Kragh Andersen’s wheel as Dutchman Mathieu van Der Poel began his sprint behind. Ewan, also second in 2018, and Van Aert overtook Van Der Poel late, but Stuyven had already won.
“In the last kilometer, I tried to recover a bit before the final bend ahead of the finish,” said Stuyven.
“Then I launched the sprint. I still cannot believe I have won Milano-Sanremo.
“After the Poggio descent, I saw there were still some sprinters so I tried to go all-in and anticipate the sprint.
“It was not a strategy I decided on this morning but rather my instinct. It’s amazing, I cannot find the words!”
Slovak Peter Sagan finished fourth with van der Poel, among the favourites after his Strade Bianche win this month, in fifth.
World champion Julian Alaphilippe attacked on the Poggio climb, the last difficulty of the 299km race, but unlike the winners in the two previous races could not build up a sufficient lead, crossing in 16th place.
A group of 12 riders had led the way at the summit of the Poggio heading into the descent in the wake of British rider Tom Pidcock.
Stuyven tried his luck at the bottom of the descent and was joined in the last mile by Team DSM’s Andersen. On the final straight along Via Roma, Stuyven gave everything to preserve his slight advantage for his biggest win since turning professional in 2014. The Belgian won the Het Nieuwsblad last year, with his best ‘Monument’ finish fourth in the Paris-Roubaix in 2017.
RBA/AFP Photos: Bettini
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