Kwiatkowski wins Milan-San Remo

18 Mar 2017

Kwiatkowski wins Milan-San Remo

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Michal Kwiatkowski claimed a stunning victory at Milan-San Remo after winning an epic three-up sprint on the Via Roma.

The Pole was able to counter a stinging attack by Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) on the Poggio and descended into San Remo alongside the world champion and Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors).
The trio went toe-to-toe on the finishing straight, and while Sagan opened out the sprint it was Kwiatkowski who had the strength to edge out the victory in a thrilling finish - taking Team Sky's second Monument victory.
Elia Viviani backed up that amazing result taking ninth place in the bunch sprint behind.
After the race a thrilled Kwiatkowski said: "Winning Milan-San Remo is an incredible feeling I'm really thankful for my team-mates. They did an incredible job today. I didn't expect Sagan would go on the Poggio. It looked like it was leading to a bunch sprint. 

"In every classic it’s better to have several cards to play. After the Cipressa, the bunch looked huge and I thought there was a 95% chance of a bunch sprint. But on the Poggio, Sagan attacked. Elia told me over the radio to go after Sagan.

"I’m probably in a better position than most of the other riders to race against Sagan because we’ve competed together since we were juniors. Half of the bunch thinks he’s from another planet, but I truly believe he’s beatable. He was impressive on the Poggio but, wearing the rainbow jersey, he was in the worst situation [because he was the main target]. Alaphilippe and me put pressure on him. I was gambling a bit with his mind."
Michal Kwiatkowski

Michal Kwiatkowski

I knew from last year that winning alone was impossible but following Sagan, yes. I left a little gap to make him launch his sprint from very far out. I’m just happy how it went.

As usual the fireworks began on the Cipressa and the race was stretched to breaking point on the penultimate climb. Luke Rowe covered off a multi-ride move, with Kwiatkowski and Salvatore Puccio also well positioned.
The peloton then came back together on the approach to the Poggio, with the team able to shepherd Viviani into a superb position. With seven Team Sky jerseys in the mix heading into the closing stages, it was Rowe who hit the famed final climb first.
Lukas Wisniowski put in a superb turn on the front to set the tempo, with Kwiatkowski, Gianni Moscon and Viviani in tow.
But with 6.3km to go Sagan lit it up, with only two riders able to follow, making the famous left-hand turn with a good advantage. The trio held off the chasing pack by five seconds at the finish, with Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) winning the sprint for fourth.

After the celebrations Sport Director Gabriel Rasch told "When we won it was totally crazy in the car. We were just screaming. (Mechanic) Diego (Costa) was crying and (doctor) Jimmy (Juame Mercadel) was almost jumping out of the car. It was absolutely crazy!
"We knew Kwiato was going super well so we came into the race with two leaders in Elia and Michal. We knew that if it came to a sprint then Elia was our guy, but if someone attacked on the Poggio then Kwiato was free to follow. We pretty much worked out that Sagan was going to attack due to the bunch being so big. It worked out perfectly.
"Kwiato stayed really calm heading into the sprint. I can't believe we won it!"
Rasch also reserved praise for Viviani, who hung tough over the Cipressa and Poggio to finish in the top-10, among the lead chasing pack.
"Elia has been preparing for this the whole winter, thinking about this race. He showed today that he's made a big step up. He showed that he can survive the climbs like this, and that he can win San Remo."
Gabriel Rasch

Gabriel Rasch

When we won it was totally crazy in the car. We were just screaming!

Milan-San Remo race result:
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) 7:08:39
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) s.t.
3. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors)
4. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) +5"
5. Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) s.t.
9. Elia Viviani (Team Sky)