Simon Gerrans Sprints to Victory in 2012 Milan-San Remo

News & Results

03/17/2012| 0 comments
by AP and Roadcycling.com
Simon Gerrans of Team GreenEdge sprints to victory in 2012 Milano-San Remo ahead of Fabian Cancellara of Team RadioShack-Nissan and Team Liquigas-Cannondale's Vincenzo Nibali. Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Simon Gerrans of Team GreenEdge sprints to victory in 2012 Milano-San Remo ahead of Fabian Cancellara of Team RadioShack-Nissan and Team Liquigas-Cannondale's Vincenzo Nibali. Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.

Simon Gerrans Sprints to Victory in 2012 Milan-San Remo

Simon Gerrans became the second consecutive Australian winner of the Milan-San Remo classic earlier today, edging Swiss standout Fabian Cancellara and top Italian hope Vincenzo Nibali in a three-man sprint finish.

Simon Gerrans became the second consecutive Australian winner of the Milan-San Remo classic earlier today, edging Swiss standout Fabian Cancellara and top Italian hope Vincenzo Nibali in a three-man sprint finish.

Last year, Matthew Goss became the first Australian winner of the 298-kilometer (185-mile) race.

Gerrans, who rides for the GreenEdge team with Goss, clocked 6 hours, 59 minutes and 24 seconds, and Cancellara and Nibali crossed with the same time.

World champion Mark Cavendish, the 2009 San Remo winner, surprisingly dropped behind on the mild Le Manie climb with 100 kilometers (62 miles) to go.

Nibali, the winner of the recent Tirreno-Adriatico race, attacked on the steepest portion of the final climb, the Poggio, and Gerrans immediately followed before Cancellara joined to form a three-man trio in the lead for the final 7.5 kilometers (4.6 miles).

Cancellara, the four-time time trial world champion and 2008 San Remo winner, soon took the lead and Gerrans and Nibali stayed on his wheel. Cancellara repeatedly signaled for Gerrans or Nibali to take a turn in front, but to no avail, and Gerrans then burst past Cancellara in the final hundred meters (yards).

Gerrans started the year by winning Australia's national road race, then followed that up with his second overall victory in the Tour Down Under later in January. He has also won one stage in each of the three major tours - the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Spanish Vuelta.

"It's an incredible day, I can't believe it," Gerrans said. "It doesn't get any better than this. This is going to take a long, long time to sink in. ... I've had good legs since the beginning of the season."

Cancellara also finished second in San Remo last year.

"I risked and lost in the end, but this second place is worth a lot," Cancellara said.

Nibali also had no regrets.

"We had the right tactics, we rode hard from the start," the Italian with the Liquigas team said. "I wanted to attack alone but Gerrans was just as strong as I was."

Belgian standout Philippe Gilbert was involved in a multi-rider crash with about 22 kilometers (13.7 miles) to go, near the top of the Cipressa climb. Gilbert got back on his bike but couldn't rejoin the leaders.

Near the end of the narrow Le Manie descent, Colombian rider Carlos Julian Quintero crashed and was taken to a local hospital with a suspected head injury.

Ji Cheng, the first Chinese rider in the race's history, attacked at the start with Vegard Stake Laengen of Norway and the pair was soon joined by seven other riders to form a nine-man breakaway that built up a lead of more than 13 minutes on the main pack.

The breakaway riders were caught with 60 kilometers (37 miles) to go.

Watch video highlights from the 2012 Milan-San Remo classic race in our Roadcycling.com video section .

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