In recent years, to win Milan-San Remo, the first great classic of the cycling season, it was generally necessary to achieve an excellent climb or a brilliant descent of Poggio, the steep slope located about ten kilometers from the finish. On Saturday March 18, Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel did both to win alone, fifteen seconds ahead of three other stars in the peloton: Italian Filippo Ganna (2e), the Belgian Wout Van Aert (3e) and the Slovenian Tadej Pogacar (4e).
By winning in San Remo, Mathieu van der Poel adds a third “Monument” to his list, the name given to the most prestigious one-day races, after his successes, in 2020 and 2022, on the Tour of Flanders. Symbolically, the Dutchman also won the same event as his grandfather, Raymond Poulidor, sixty-two years after him. “I was at my best todayexplained the leader of the Alpecin-Deceuninck team after his victory. I had been concentrating on this race for a long time. »
Van der Poel found himself in the lead of the race in the Poggio following the accelerations driven by Tadej Pogacar and his teammates from the UAE Emirates formation. The winner of the 2020 and 2021 editions of the Tour de France placed a first attack 8 kilometers from the finish. His second offensive, 1.4 kilometers further, broke all his pursuers, with the exception of Filippo Ganna, Wout Van Aert, and therefore Mathieu van der Poel. Then it was when you could imagine these four men reaching the finish line together that the Dutchman went on the offensive, a few hectometres from the top of Poggio, when all bodies and hearts were in the red.
Passing the phone booth, which marks the beginning of the winding descent to San Remo, he was five seconds ahead of his pursuers. Without ever letting up his efforts, the man who is also the cyclo-cross world champion has gradually made this small capital bear fruit by showing great skill in hurtling down the slope and negotiating several tight turns. “I couldn’t imagine a better scenario, pointed out Mathieu van der Poel. I wanted to attack at the end of Poggio. The way I did it exceeded my expectations. »