Gerald Ciolek Made History in Milan-San Remo

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German sprinter Gerald Ciolek from South Africa’s MTN-Qubeka won the sprint from a breakaway group involving Peter Sagan, Sylvain Chavanel, Fabian Cancellara, Luca Paolini and Ian Stannard. Taloy Phinney of BMC catched the break in the last meters but was a bit late as he cross the line last.

After the snow, neutralization of a pretty long part of the route and a second start around 15:00, Milan-San Remo’s 104th edition became an instant classic. The day’s break was 7′ 10″ ahead of the peloton when the race got neutralized due to show in Passo del Turchino so in the “second start of the race”, they kept this advantage, it was like handicapped racing all of a sudden…

“We have to be ready. It was so cold. With the snow + zero degrees it was hard on the legs but mainly the hands. It was hard to brake because you couldn’t feel your hands,” told Lars Yiting Bak from the breakaway group. “We got a hot shower on the bus. Normally MSR is like 2 races because of the distance. Today it really is two races.”

After Matteo Montaguti, Diego Rosa, Filippo Fortin, Maxim Belkov, Lars Yitting Bak and Pablo Lastras got caught on the Cipressa, it was world champion Philip Gilbert‘s turn to make a break. Sylvain Chavanel later joined Gilbert along with Ian Stannard and Eduard Vorganov. On the Poggio, Chavanel attacked within the break, dragging Ian Stannard with him to the top of the hill.

Peter Sagan had to react, so he did when the slope on the Poggio hit 9%, and managed to catch Chavanel and Stannard within the final 3 kilometers. But he was not the only rider with sprinting abilities left in the front.

Gerald Ciolek outsprinted the “almost invincible” Peter Sagan and made history in Milan-San Remo today, his biggest win so far and for his new team MTN – Qhubeka; first pro-continental team from Africa.

“I think my decision says enough.This is partly a precaution, but also a statement to the organization. They knew long enough that there was so much snow on the road. What happens now is the fault of the organization’s own fault. Have you ever wanted to bicycle through the snow ridden? There are nicer things than this. I’m completely frozen,” reportedly told Tony Boonen after quitting the race.

Milan-San Remo 2013 Results

1. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka”5′ 37′ 20″
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling
3. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack Leopard
4. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
5. Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha
6. Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Procycling
7. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team
8. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha 14″
9. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
10. Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Sky Procycling
(more…)