Cavendish Wins Milan-San Remo
Matt Cavendish (Columbia) has won Milan-San Remo.
Matt Cavendish (Columbia) has won Milan-San Remo.The Columbia man pipped Heinrich Haussler (Cervelo) at the finish line to take the 298-km classic in 6:42:45. Thor Hushovd, Haussler's teammate, finished third at 0:02.
The riders raced in sunny, mild weather. From the start, the pace was fast. Eleven riders made an early escape. They were Giampaolo Cheula (Barloworld), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha), Yuri Krivtsov (Ag2r), Christophe Le Mevel (Francaise des Jeux), Sebastian Lang (Silence), Bernhard Eisel (Columbia), Thomas Bertolini (Diquigiovanni), Sebastian Turgot (Bouygues Telecom), Maxim Belkov (ISD), Kasper Klostergaard Larsen (Saxo Bank), and Maarten Tjallingii (Rabobank). The fugitives' advantage maxed out at five minutes before Quick Step, Cervelo, and LPR went to the front.
After breasting the climb of Le Manie (204 km), the break was down to four riders: Cheula, Le Mevel, Ignatiev, and Turgot. The peloton, which Astana was leading, was a little more than 1:00 in arrears.
A regroupment occurred, and the break grew to eight riders. The octet led the peloton by 2:43 with 70 km left. Milram, Quick Step, LPR Brakes, Lampre, and Liquigas began to chase, and the bunch trailed the break by 2:18 with 45 km remaining.
On the Capo Berta (258 km), with the escapees' lead down to less than 1:30, Turgot attacked his companions. They caught him, but the peloton, paced by Acqua e Sapone, was within 1:00 of the break with 35 km left.
The break held out on the Cipressa (275 km), but the bunch reeled it in after that. The peloton split, and a lead group of 40 to 50 riders powered toward the finish. Cavendish lost ground on the climb, but he fought his way back to the front on the descent.
Francaise des Jeux led the field up the Poggio. Davide Rebellin (Diquigiovanni) attacked, but Stefano Garzelli (Acqua e Sapone) covered the move. Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) had a go, and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) joined him. Rebellin joned the move, but the peloton shut it down.
With three km left, Liquigas led the field. One km later, Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) attacked, but the bunch was having none of it. LPR Brakes moved up to the front.
In the last km, Haussler bolted into the lead. The German forged a 10-m lead, but Cavendish attacked and took him in a photo finish. After the race, Haussler said that he was attempting to lead out Hushovd but that the Norwegian could not get his wheel.
These riders will meet again during the classics season. Will the Cervelo men turn the tables on Cavendish? Will riders such as Tom Boonen (Quick Step) come to the fore? Will Lance Armstrong (Astana) begin to display some form? For the answers to these questions and others, check in at www.roadcycling.com.