Milan-Sanremo: Saxo Bank has a modest showing
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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Milan-Sanremo: Saxo Bank has a modest showing

by Kyle Moore at 12:03 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Milan-Sanremo
Mørkøv in main break, Sorensen best placed

Saxo BankRiding every race with something to prove and a WorldTour license to defend, Saxo Bank came away from Milan-Sanremo with what was a relatively quiet showing. Danish road champion Nicki Sorensen was the team’s best placed rider, coming home 60th in a group of 17 that was left frustrated after getting caught up behind a crash.

Saxo Bank riders Karsten Kroon and Anders Lund were also in the group with Sorensen, finishing 65th and 67th respectfully. Matteo Tosatto was 72nd at two minutes, 41 seconds, and Manuele Boaro was 74th at three minutes, 23 seconds.

Though not expected to play a major role prior to the race, Saxo Bank still had much to play for as the bunch hit the decisive climbs of the Cipressa and the Poggio, and it put several riders near the front as the kilometers ticked down. Before the climbs, they had already played their first card in Michael Mørkøv, as the Danish track rider spent over 200 kilometers in the day’s primary breakaway.

“Four of us were free to go for breakaways and let the rest of the lineup do the finale, so I gladly jumped into the first launch of the day,” Mørkøv stated about his team’s tactics.

The first big group to get away was the group that made it stick, as Cheng Ji (Project 1t4i), Juan Pablo Suarez (Colombia-Coldeportes), Dmitriy Gruzdev (Astana), Angelo Pagani (Colnago-CSF), Vergard Stake Laengen (Team Type 1), Juan Jose Oroz (Euskaltel), Pierpaolo De Negri (Farnese Vini), Oleg Berdos (UtensilNord), and Mørkøv escaped to form the day’s long break.

The move would prove fruitless, save for the 230 kilometers of television time, which Berdos maximized as last man caught.

“Our main objective was to keep the lead to the Le Manie climb and try to hang on to a new attack from the favourites,” Mørkøv continued. While attacks would come from several riders before the decisive Poggio, none would stick, and none would include Saxo Bank riders.

However, it was on the Cipressa that the day’s threat would end for several riders, including André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) as well as the Saxo Bank squad. Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) came down with a host of others, including two FDJ-BigMat riders, which caught up a big group of riders, ending the day for many who were too far back at the time.

Saxo Bank director Nick Gates was pleased with his team’s race overall, but was disappointed to get caught out.

“We can be equally happy and disappointed after the race,” Gates admitted. “We’re really happy about Michael Mørkøv’s effort in the break. He fought like a true warrior out there, but there was nothing to do about the power coming from behind.

“We’re also content about the rest of the team’s performance out there, and things looked very promising until we hit the Cipressa, where both Matteo and Karsten were sitting on Gilbert’s wheel. It is usually the right wheel to catch but they were both caught behind the crash with the Belgian and neither of them were able to close the gap in the midst of the finale.”

With the season’s first Monument in the books, Saxo Bank moves on to the Volta a Catalyuna, where it will feature Daniel Navarro and Chris Anker Sorensen.


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