Trek-Segafredo’s Jasper Stuyven attacked at the bottom of the Poggio and held off late charges from the likes of Wout Van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel to win his first career Monument. A Belgian has now won La Primavera in two consecutive years, with last season’s champion Van Aert placing third on Saturday. Lone Canadian James Piccoli (Israel Start-up Nation) finished in 128th.
🌸@Jasperstuyven wins the 112th @Milano_Sanremo presented by @eolo_it
🌸@Jasperstuyven ha vinto la 112a #MilanoSanremo presented by #EOLO pic.twitter.com/9wMya6LjV8
— Giro d’Italia (@giroditalia) March 20, 2021
The race began in the capital of Lombardy and headed southwest for 180 km until it hit the Ligurian Sea, climbing the Colle di Giovo (instead of the traditional Turchino) just before the reaching the ocean. Due west awaited the three ‘Capi’ (Capo Mele, Capo Cervo and Capo Berta) before the famous Cipressa climb (5.6 km of 4.1 percent) that crested 22 km from the finish line on Via Roma in San Remo and the usually decisive Poggio ascent (3.7 km of 4 percent, maximum 8 percent). After the Poggio’s peak four kilometres of hairpin descending past greenhouses lead to the Via Roma climax.
An almost 300-km race is likely going to elicit a breakaway. Sure enough, an octet containing plenty of ProTour riders (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè, Novo Nordisk) skipped away early and started the long slog, rolling up a maximum lead of 7:45 and holding 3:45 by the top of Colle di Giovo. Van Aert’s Jumbo-Visma and Julian Alaphilippe’s Deceuninck-Quick Step led the peloton.
There was plenty of time for the television announcers to weigh the value of van der Poel’s white shorts-white leg warmers combination.
Sun’s out, KALAS white shorts out! #AlpecinFenix #MilanoSanremo #MyKalas pic.twitter.com/UOTeZq2tWN
— Alpecin-Fenix Cycling Team (@AlpecinFenix) March 20, 2021
By the first Capi on the Ligurian Coast, the break was down to seven and its gap was 1:20. The Capi kept whittling down the escape numbers.
One of the contenders for a reduced bunch sprint, Sam Bennett, chased back on to the field after a puncture. Van der Poel hinted at an attack on the Cipressa. The four remaining fugitives only had a 20-second advantage at its foot, and they could not escape the will of the peloton. Van Aert’s teammate Sam Oomen whipped along the bunch, discouraging any attacks.
Ineos Grenadiers led the way down the Cipressa, the first of the greenhouses appearing alongside the road. Van der Poel, far down the bunch, took time to spray Bennett’s left sock with water.
Frantic positioning marked the last 2 km before the Poggio. Ineos kept up a torrid pace. Finally, Alaphilippe attacked with Van Aert grabbing his wheel. Van der Poel and Caleb Ewan came over.
The Via Roma Conclusion
Alaphilippe’s attack created a group of 11, and it made the serpentine descent. Tom Pidcock led Van Aert, Ewan, Van Aert and Alaphilippe. Stuyven made a dig with 3 km to go and immediately got a gap, the others hesitating. The Belgian was caught by Søren Kragh Andersen (Denmark/Team DSM) just after the red kite. Stuyven let Kragh Anderson lead for 500-metres and then opened up the sprint. Van der Poel, Van Aert and Ewan made a late dash, but they couldn’t catch Stuyven.
What an attack, what a win. Jasper Stuyven, that was superb 👏🙇🏻♂️
🇮🇹 #MilanoSanremo pic.twitter.com/YmM3mWFfSn
— Velon CC (@VelonCC) March 20, 2021
2021 Milan-San Remo
1) Jasper Stuyven (Belgium/Trek-Segafredo) 6:38:08
2) Caleb Ewan (Australia/Lotto-Soudal) s.t.
3) Wout Van Aert (Belgium/Jumbo-Visma) s.t.
128) James Piccoli (Canada/Israel Start-up Nation) +7:56