Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) fulfilled his favorite role in Milan-Sanremo. After winning last weekend in the Strade Bianche, he now also won the summer edition of “La Primavera”. On the line, he beat his fellow escape, Julian Alaphilippe, last year’s laureate.
Watch the denouement:
The 111th edition of Milan-Sanremo in a nutshell:
- Key moments: Julian Alaphilippe has 3 seconds on Wout van Aert at the top of the Poggio. The Frenchman misses his first corners in the dip and has to let Van Aert return. Our fellow countryman plays it masterfully in the final kilometers: he does not allow himself to be thrown off balance by the Frenchman and beats him in the sprint (straight ahead).
- Winner of the day: What can we say about Wout van Aert? Last week we already had to search for superlatives, but at the age of 25 he now also has a monument. This memorable week of August is – without bad luck – the start of a very big career.
- Loser of the day: Julian Alaphilippe cannot blame himself too much, but the Frenchman grabs next to a two in a row on Via Roma. He is in any case better than he seemed and that he promises for the next few weeks.
Sprinters drop out one by one
A new route, summer temperatures and a completely different place on the calendar: whatever ingredients the Italians use, the Milan-Sanremo recipe remains a classic.
After a very long siesta we had to wait for the eruptions on the Cipressa and the Poggio.
The pricks on the first calf-bite were just a footnote to many favorites, but sprinters Caleb Ewan and Fernando Gaviria already had their Waterloo there.
So on to the traditional springboard, although there were quite a few question marks about the stampede. Wout van Aert was suddenly completely at the back, but when he turned up he took his place in the top 5 again.
That was necessary, because thanks to a power surge from a surprisingly strong Aimé De Gendt, the pace was very fast. When Sam Bennett also capsized, team mate Julian Alaphilippe took over razor-sharp.
Van Aert releases, returns and finishes it coolly
The Frenchman thought of a bis number, but had to put up with Wout van Aert in his wheel. Still for a while, because shortly before the top, the winner of the Strade Bianche had to let go of the French spring.
Despite the very limited difference, Van Aert seemed more or less a bird to the cat thanks to Alaphilippe’s descending abilities, but the Frenchman was too boisterous in all his enthusiasm and had to correct several times.
Character head Van Aert remained flawless and was back in the wake of number 1 in no time. The duo went fraternally to the Via Roma, although an elite group was constantly panting in their necks.
Just before the rag, Alaphilippe started playing poker, but Van Aert showed himself to be a cool frog.
He caught the winner of last year neatly and after a powerful and pure sprint he was a little faster, good for the first Belgian victory since Fons De Wolf in 1981 and Andrei Tchmil in 1999.
Van Aert: “Stupid, but I have no words for it”
“I am very happy of course”, said Wout van Aert in his first interview after the finish. “I can’t believe I’m winning 2 races in a row.”
“I have no words for it. A stupid answer, I know, but now I know what it feels like to win a monument.”
On the Poggio it was biting for Van Aert. “Wait, wait, wait”, I thought at first, but I had no choice. Not even when I had to release. ”
“In the descent I came back. On the way to the finish Alaphilippe forced me up.”
“He played it smart and I still had some energy left for the sprint. I succeeded. What a resumption of the season.”
Alaphilippe: “I felt that I could not release it”
“I went full on the Poggio, in the descent I felt that I could not release him. And in the sprint he was the strongest.”
“I am left with mixed feelings, but I am happy to be back on the podium.”