Milano-Sanremo: Gerald Ciolek edges out Peter Sagan in breakaway sprint
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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Milano-Sanremo: Gerald Ciolek edges out Peter Sagan in breakaway sprint

by Ben Atkins at 1:11 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Race Reports and Results, Milan-Sanremo
German sprinter the fastest of a late six-man move in snow-affected race

gerald ciolekGerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka) took the greatest victory of his career to date as he outsprinted a highly select breakaway group to win the 2013 Milano-Sanremo. The 26-year-old German was the one pure sprinter that managed to get himself into a six-man move that formed on the final climb of the Poggio, and managed to outpace pre-race favourite Peter Sagan (Cannondale) in the dash for the line.

Sagan, who had chased down a number of attacks in the closing kilometres, held on for second place, with a late lunge from Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard) taking third place in the race for the second straight year.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Ciolek just after the finish. “This is an unbelievable success for us and just an incredible day. We just came here as a wildcard and now we’re standing here with the trophy. This is great. I knew I had to follow all the best riders on the Poggio and it worked out perfectly.

“When I chose this team, people wondered why I would join a Pro Continental team but it’s just been unbelievable," he added. "The coaching and staff on this team is so professional. I have never seen management care so much for the riders. I am happy to be on this team."

The winning group had formed in pursuit of British champion Ian Stannard (Team Sky) and Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), who had been part of a move that had broken clear on the previous climb of the Cipressa. Ciolek, Sagan and Cancellara had fought their way up to the two leaders, along with Luca Paolini (Katusha) on the final descent of the Poggio with less than four kilometres to go, then held off the chasing peloton to fight it out for the victory.

The 2013 edition of la Classicissima di Primavera had far more of a wintry feel to it, as cold, wet and snowy conditions forced a mid-race course change.

The race was shortened by more than 50km, as heavy snow on the Passo del Turchino forced the organiser to cut the section between Ovada and Cogoleto, between 117.3km and 160.8km of the original 298km course. The freezing peloton climbed into team buses to circumvent the climb, and resumed as they arrived on the relatively warmer Ligurian coast.

Conditions also forced the removal of the climb of Le Manie in the final 100km, but it was possible to take a simple detour along the coast road and the race was not interrupted a second time.

The break of the race came from Maxim Belkov (Katusha), Lars Bak (Lotto-Belisol), Matteo Montaguti (AG2R La Mondiale), Pablo Lastras (Movistar), Diego Rosa (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela) and Filippo Fortin (Bardiani-CSF Inox). The six riders escaped early in the race, and managed to build a maximum lead of 12’30”; this was down to 7’10” as they took to their team buses, which was preserved as the race was restarted.

The group worked well together during the second phase of the race, but was eventually caught with just over 30km to go. With the race back together again the attacks began once more, with the winning move managing to make it clear on the two late climbs.

Snow on the Turchino but the racing is hot from the start

The race began in cold, but largely dry conditions but, shortly after leaving Milan, it began to rain; this turned to snow as the race neared the area of the Passo del Turchino, which forced the organisers’ decision to neutralise the climb.

After several attempts to escape the peloton, Belkov, Bak, Montaguti, Lastras, Rosa and Fortin finally got away after 13km. After 40km the sextet was 10’55” clear, before Astana and Cannondale took responsibility at the head of the peloton; the gap was allowed to open to 12’30” by the 60km point, but was down to 9’15” after 94km; as the freezing riders rolled to a stop and climbed aboard their team buses in Ovada, to complete the Passo del Turchino, it was down to 7’10”.

Once the riders arrived on the Ligurian coast, they remounted their bikes and the break was allowed to go. 7’10” later - preserving the gap that had stood when they climbed off - the peloton was released and the chase began. Conditions were still cold and wet, but the snow had been left behind on the northern side of the hills.

With the removal of Le Manie - the only real obstacle before the race hit the famous seafront ‘Capi’ in the closing kilometres - gave the breakaway riders more of a chance of holding off the peloton.

Having suffered so much in the cold before the break, several riders decided not to restart the race, including Belgian and Dutch champions Tom Boonen and Niki Terpstra (both Omega Pharma-Quick Step); 2011 race winner Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) was reported as having taken the restart, but pulled out soon afterwards due to an earlier crash.

Cannondale and Astana immediately resumed their original station at the head of the peloton, with IAM Cycling, Team Sky, Lampre-Merida Garmin-Sharp and Argos-Shimano now also contributing. Gradually, the group’s advantage began to come down and, with 100km to go, it had been cut to 6’19”.

At the 80km to go point the six leader still had 4’55” as the paceline at the head of the peloton began to increase the pace. Shortly afterwards, as the lead group approached the final 75km, Fortin was unable to keep up and the breakaway was reduced to five. As the leaders began to approach the coastal ‘Capi’ they began to look around at one another; with 60km to go their lead was down to less than three minutes.

Into the final 50km the lead quintet was just 2’30” ahead, with Cannondale on the front of the peloton in force once more. On the approach to Capo Cervo, however, the pace of the chasers dropped as several teams began to look at one another to do some work on the front.

With 42km to go Team Sky took over the front of the peloton in numbers, and lifted the pace considerably.

Team Sky shuts down the break but then loses one of its big names

Onto Capo Berta, Rosa accelerated. Bak and Belkov were able to follow the 23-year-old Italian, but it spelled the end for Lastras and Montaguti. Over the top, with 39.6km to go, the three leaders were little more than a minute ahead of the Sky-led peloton, which had picked up the other two.

With 35km to go the group of three was just 37 seconds ahead, and this small gap was evaporating as Team Sky continued to set a fierce pace behind it. The peloton was now in two pieces, with the second half now almost a minute behind the first. As Bak, Rosa and Belkov passed through the town of Imperia, they looked behind them to see Team Sky’s Vasil Kiryienka right behind them; with just over 30km to go the Ukrainian breezed past the three fugitives, and the break was over.

Suddenly there was a small crash near the front of the lead peloton, which took out a number of the Team Sky riders, including Geraint Thomas; Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) was also among the fallers and, although they appeared unhurt, the riders took a long time to get moving again.

As the Cipressa began, Thomas’ former teammate Thomas Löfkvist (IAM Cycling) attacked, and was quickly joined by Maxime Bouet (AG2R La Mondiale), Damiano Caruso (Cannondale), Chavanel and Jürgen Roelandts (Lotto-Belisol).

As the peloton behind them began to catch up again, Bouet jumped again, briefly forming another group, but the remains of the peloton was not far behind.

Adriano Malori (Lampre-ISD) then set a hot pace at the front and, as he peeled off the front, the Cannondale team took over. Over the top of the climb, with 22.1km to go, there were less than 40 riders left in the lead group, with the second peloton several seconds behind.

Onto the descent Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) attacked, and the World champion quickly opened up a significant lead on the wet roads. Six riders, including Chavanel, British champion Stannard, Russian champion Eduard Vorganov (Katusha), Cancellara and Roelandts, set out in pursuit of the Belgian and soon joined him at the head of the race.

Pozzato joined shortly afterwards, to take the lead group up to eight, but Vorganov was not keen to wait for any more and accelerated with Stannard and Chavanel on his wheel. Gilbert and Roelandts gave chase, but the two Belgians were not working well together and sat up to allow the peloton to catch them up.

A break is clear but more riders are set to make it the winning move

Chavanel, Stannard and Vorganov were still clear, however, and, as they turned off the main road at the foot of the Poggio, with just under ten kilometres to go, they were 27 seconds clear of the Cannondale-led chase.

As the climb began Chavanel and Stannard both began to accelerate, which saw Vorganov dropped.

Ukrainian champion Andriy Grivko (Astana) was leading the chase behind, and launched teammate Maxim Iglinskiy off the front in pursuit of the leaders. The Kazakh was soon on the heels of Vorganov but, up ahead, Chavanel and Stannard were still heading towards the top.

The front of the group behind was now being led by Cannondale again, with Moreno Moser pacing Peter Sagan at the front. With a kilometre still to climb, Iglinskiy was 15 seconds behind the two leaders, with the remains of the peloton passing Vorganov at 30 seconds.

The peloton caught Iglinskiy as the top approached, and Paolini powered past the Kazakh rider. Sagan was following, with Pozzato, Cancellara and Ciolek behind him; Cancellara then attacked himself, and strung them out once more as they struggled to keep up.

Chavanel and Stannard were just ten seconds ahead over the top of the climb, as Sagan led the chase behind them. On the Slovakian champion’s wheel were Cancellara, Ciolek and Paolini, but the peloton was not far behind them; with 3.7km to go to four chasers caught the two leaders, but Chavanel was refusing to surrender and kept the pressure on.

Stannard led off the bottom of the hill with three kilometres to go, and had a few bike lengths in hand, but Sagan pulled across to him and attacked. The other riders allowed Cancellara to pull the group up to the Slovakian and, as it came together, Stannard attacked again with less than two kilometres to go.

Sagan was the one to close it down again, with Ciolek tucked in closely behind him, and the group was all together again as they rode under the flamme rouge.

The pace dropped as the six riders rounded the final corners and, as they hit the finishing straight they began to look at one another. Sagan was the first to open up his sprint but, as the line approached, Ciolek eased past and punched the air with one fist as he took the biggest victory of his career.

Milan-Sanremo, Italy (WorldTour)

1, Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka) 252 kilometres in 5 hours 37 mins 20 secs
2, Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling)
3, Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard)
4, Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team)
5, Luca Paolini (Katusha)
6, Ian Stannard (Sky Procycling)
7, Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing Team)
8, Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) at 14 secs
9, Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team)
10, Bernhard Eisel (Sky Procycling)
11, Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Movistar Team)
12, Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox)
13, Heinrich Haussler (IAM Cycling)
14, Enrico Gasparotto (Astana Pro Team)
15, Sébastien Turgot (Team Europcar)
16, Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Belisol)
17, Romain Bardet (Ag2R La Mondiale)
18, John Degenkolb (Team Argos-Shimano)
19, Yoann Offredo (FDJ)
20, Oscar Gatto (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia)
21, Borut Bozic (Astana Pro Team)
22, Angel Vicioso Arcos (Katusha)
23, Sebastian Langeveld (Orica-GreenEdge)
24, Xavier Florencio Cabre (Katusha)
25, Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Movistar Team)
26, Davide Malacarne (Team Europcar)
27, Gabriel Rasch (Sky Procycling)
28, Daniele Bennati (Team Saxo-Tinkoff)
29, Maxime Bouet (Ag2R La Mondiale)
30, Grégory Rast (RadioShack Leopard)
31, Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
32, Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team)
33, Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida)
34, Matteo Rabottini (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia)
35, Maxim Iglinsky (Astana Pro Team)
36, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team)
37, Thomas Lövkvist (IAM Cycling)
38, Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) at 20 secs
39, Vincent Jerome (Team Europcar)
40, Michael Rogers (Team Saxo-Tinkoff)
41, Arthur Vichot (FDJ) at 56 secs
42, Salvatore Puccio (Sky Procycling)
43, Eduard Vorganov (Katusha)
44, Maxime Monfort (RadioShack Leopard) at 2 mins 39 secs
45, Moreno Moser (Cannondale Pro Cycling) at 2 mins 42 secs
46, Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida) at 3 mins 26 secs
47, Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge)
48, Andriy Grivko (Astana Pro Team) at 3 mins 35 secs
49, Damiano Caruso (Cannondale Pro Cycling) at 4 mins 40 secs
50, Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale Pro Cycling)
51, Adriano Malori (Lampre-Merida)
52, Davide Appollonio (Ag2R La Mondiale) at 5 mins 13 secs
53, Kristian Sbaragli (MTN-Qhubeka)
54, Mark Renshaw (Blanco Pro Cycling Team)
55, Fabio Felline (Androni Giocattoli)
56, Danilo Hondo (RadioShack Leopard)
57, Jonas Aaen Jörgensen (Team Saxo-Tinkoff)
58, André Greipel (Lotto Belisol)
59, Stefan Denifl (IAM Cycling)
60, Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM Cycling)
61, Mauro Finetto (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia)
62, Ricardo Garcia Ambroa (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
63, Maarten Tjallingii (Blanco Pro Cycling Team)
64, Vicente Reynes Mimo (Lotto Belisol)
65, Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Merida)
66, Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team)
67, Jens Keukeleire (Orica-GreenEdge)
68, Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge)
69, Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack Leopard)
70, Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp)
71, Manuel Quinziato (BMC Racing Team)
72, Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team)
73, Matti Breschel (Team Saxo-Tinkoff)
74, Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Sharp)
75, Daniele Pietropolli (Lampre-Merida)
76, Davide Cimolai (Lampre-Merida)
77, Alessandro Vanotti (Astana Pro Team)
78, Grega Bole (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team)
79, Simon Geschke (Team Argos-Shimano)
80, Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Movistar Team)
81, Jorge Azanza Soto (Euskaltel-Euskadi) at 7 mins 49 secs
82 Paul Martens (Blanco Pro Cycling Team) at 8 mins 59 secs
83, Marco Bandiera (IAM Cycling) at 9 mins 20 secs
84, Johannes Fröhlinger (Team Argos-Shimano)
85, Jonathan Cantwell (Team Saxo-Tinkoff)
86, Stuart O'grady (Orica-GreenEdge) at 9 mins 22 secs
87, Fabian Wegmann (Garmin-Sharp)
88, Ioannis Tamouridis (Euskaltel-Euskadi) at 11 mins 19 secs
89, Sergey Lagutin (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team) at 11 mins 21 secs
90, Greg Henderson (Lotto Belisol) at 11 mins 29 secs
91, Marcel Sieberg (Lotto Belisol)
92, Jack Bauer (Garmin-Sharp)
93, Jens Mouris (Orica-GreenEdge)
94, Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp)
95, Alessandro Proni (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) at 11 mins 39 secs
96, Kristijan Koren (Cannondale Pro Cycling) at 11 mins 44 secs
97, Murilo Antonio Fischer (FDJ)
98, Garikoitz Bravo Oiarbide (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
99, Matteo Tosatto (Team Saxo-Tinkoff)
100, Matthieu Ladagnous (FDJ)
101, David Tanner (Blanco Pro Cycling Team)
102, Sergio Pardilla Bellon (MTN-Qhubeka) at 11 mins 46 secs
103, Jacobus Venter (MTN-Qhubeka)
104, Roy Curvers (Team Argos-Shimano)
105, Boy Van Poppel (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team)
106, Giovanni Visconti (Movistar Team)
107, Massimo Graziato (Lampre-Merida)
108, Elia Viviani (Cannondale Pro Cycling)
109, Bertjan Lindeman (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team) at 11 mins 49 secs
110, Alex Howes (Garmin-Sharp)
111, Andrea Pasqualon (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox)
112, Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox)
113, Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Movistar Team)
114, Kevin Hulsmans (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia)
115, Rick Flens (Blanco Pro Cycling Team)
116, Gustav Larsson (IAM Cycling)
117, Lars Ytting Bak (Lotto Belisol)
118, Martin Elmiger (IAM Cycling)
119, Bjorn Thurau (Team Europcar)
120, Maxim Belkov (Katusha)
121, Tomas Aurelio Gil Martinez (Androni Giocattoli)
122, Diego Rosa (Androni Giocattoli)
123, Michael Morkov (Team Saxo-Tinkoff)
124, Baden Cooke (Orica-GreenEdge) at 11 mins 56 secs
125, Martin Velits (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team) at 13 mins 9 secs
126, Tom Dumoulin (Team Argos-Shimano)
127, Thomas Voeckler (Team Europcar)
128, Andreas Stauff (MTN-Qhubeka)
129, Arnaud Demare (FDJ)
130, Jesse Sergent (RadioShack Leopard)
131, Dominic Klemme (IAM Cycling)
132, Frederik Veuchelen (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team)
133, Anthony Roux (FDJ)
134, Francesco Chicchi (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) at 15 mins 3 secs
135, Vladimir Isaichev (Katusha) at 18 mins 25 secs

Did not finish:

Manuel Belletti (Ag2R La Mondiale)
Steve Chainel (Ag2R La Mondiale)
Hugo Houle (Ag2R La Mondiale)
Ben Gastauer (Ag2R La Mondiale)
Matteo Montaguti (Ag2R La Mondiale)
Franco Pellizotti (Androni Giocattoli)
Riccardo Chiarini (Androni Giocattoli)
Jackson Rodriguez (Androni Giocattoli)
Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Androni Giocattoli)
Emanuele Sella (Androni Giocattoli)
Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Pro Team)
Francesco Gavazzi (Astana Pro Team)
Simone Ponzi (Astana Pro Team)
Sacha Modolo (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox)
Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox)
Nicola Boem (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox)
Marco Canola (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox)
Filippo Fortin (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox)
Lars Petter Nordhaug (Blanco Pro Cycling Team)
Tom Jelte Slagter (Blanco Pro Cycling Team)
Maarten Wynants (Blanco Pro Cycling Team)
Thor Hushovd (BMC Racing Team)
Klaas Lodewyck (BMC Racing Team)
Daniel Oss (BMC Racing Team)
Michael Schär (BMC Racing Team)
Maciej Bodnar (Cannondale Pro Cycling)
Paolo Longo Borghini (Cannondale Pro Cycling)
Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
Miguel Minguez Ayala (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
Robert Vrecer (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
William Bonnet (FDJ)
Mickael Delage (FDJ)
Robert Hunter (Garmin-Sharp)
David Millar (Garmin-Sharp)
Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Katusha)
Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida)
Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol)
Frederik Willems (Lotto Belisol)
Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (Movistar Team)
Pablo Lastras Garcia (Movistar Team)
Eloy Teruel Rovira (Movistar Team)
Martin Reimer (MTN-Qhubeka)
Jim Songezo (MTN-Qhubeka)
Jay Robert Thomson (MTN-Qhubeka)
Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team)
Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team)
Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team)
Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team)
Matthew Harley Goss (Orica-GreenEdge)
Giacomo Nizzolo (RadioShack Leopard)
Hayden Roulston (RadioShack Leopard)
Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky Procycling)
Vasil Kiryienka (Sky Procycling)
Kanstantsin Siutsou (Sky Procycling)
Geraint Thomas (Sky Procycling)
Koen De Kort (Team Argos-Shimano)
Cheng Ji (Team Argos-Shimano)
Matthieu Sprick (Team Argos-Shimano)
Jerome Cousin (Team Europcar)
Yohann Gene (Team Europcar)
David Veilleux (Team Europcar)
Manuele Boaro (Team Saxo-Tinkoff)
Kris Boeckmans (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team)
Mirko Selvaggi (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team)
Jonathan Monsalve (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia)


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