The mythical Saturday began at 9h40 on the Piazza Castello in Milan. It was already the 112th edition of Milan-San Remo (1.UWT, 20/3) which started in sunny circumstances. After a couple of kilometers, it was already clear which eight riders would play a main role in this first monument of the season. Taco van der Hoorn was, together with Norsgaard and Planet, the odd one in an Italian breakaway.
The octet pretty soon gained an advantage of 6’30, but it didn't take long before the teams of the favorites took control of the pace in the peloton. After the long Colle del Giovo and the rolling Via Aurelia, overlooking the Ligurian Sea, tiredness started to slip into the bodies of all riders. Four remaining early escapees started the final 55 kilometer with the three Capi, the Cipressa and the Poggio.
The pace in the peloton was high, preventing attacks. Van der Hoorn, the last remaining rider of the breakaway, was caught before the top of the Cipressa. A group of around 50 riders at the foot of the Poggio was skimmed to fifteen because of an attack of Alaphilippe. Loïc Vliegen followed in a second group, before crashing in the downhill. He came away from the crash unharmed, but had to be satisfied with a 57th place. Jasper Stuyven attacked in the final 3 kilometer and managed to stay ahead of the sprinting group. The Belgian rider defeated Caleb Ewan and Wout Van Aert. Lorenzo Rota finished 40th, in the same group as Aimé De Gendt.
Taco van der Hoorn:
« This is a special race, so it was a unique feeling to ride in the front for such a long time. Especially the final part along the beautiful Côte d’Azur will remain in my memories. We weren't given a big advantage, but thanks to our good cooperation and the backwind, we managed to stay in the front for quite a long time. At the end, I gave everything I had left. It was nice to be able to attack on the Cipressa. I expected the peloton to fly past me, but it wasn't that bad. This means that I was climbing at a decent pace, despite the tiredness. But after 270 kilometer, everyone was probably exhausted. I'm happy about my feeling in Paris-Nice and this Milan-San Remo. On to the Belgian classics! »
« I'm certainly not one of the five best riders in Milan-San Remo, but when you're on top of the Poggio within the fifteen or twenty first riders, you can still hope for a good result. You never know what happens after the downhill. If some groups come together, it is possible to achieve a place of honor in the sprint. Unfortunately, I missed the most dangerous corner in the downhill. But let's stay positive, my condition is good and I came away unharmed! »
« In general, we've done a good race with the team, but of course not everything can be perfect. Van der Poel braked hard on top of the Cipressa, making me loose quite some positions. So when the bunch split downhill, I was only in the second part. I managed to win positions on the Poggio, but it would have been better to be more in the front. »
« After a difficult Tirreno-Adriatico, this performance gives me confidence for my next races: E3 Classic, Ghent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders. The preparation towards these classics I appreciate a lot was optimal. These three weeks with the team in Italy enabled my form to evolve in the right direction. »
« While waiting for the conclusion of Milan-San Remo, there are always moments of joy and moments of bad luck. It wasn't different this time. Taco succeeded in joining the early breakaway and executing our plan. In addition, he was the strongest of the escapees. Behind, the other riders did excellent work to make sure our leaders started the Cipressa in a good position. The three riders I expected in the first group were still there. »
« We unfortunately didn't have the level to follow the first fifteen riders on the Poggio. If it was a group of twenty riders, we probably had somebody up there. Unfortunately Loïc missed a corner. It was a pity that we had bad luck in the final, but I'm satisfied. The team did what I expected from it. We worked well towards Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Nice. These races made us stronger. So our riders are ready to return to Belgium and perform in the classics. »
3.Wout Van Aert
40.Lorenzo Rota +0:29
47.Aimé De Gendt
57.Loïc Vliegen +1:28
87.Andrea Pasqualon +3:13
112.Taco van der Hoorn +7:14
154.Pieter Vanspeybrouck +10:58