Sylvan Chavanel takes WorldTour lead after fighting fourth place in Milano-Sanremo
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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sylvan Chavanel takes WorldTour lead after fighting fourth place in Milano-Sanremo

by Ben Atkins at 5:49 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Milan-Sanremo
 
Former French champion reflects on “bittersweet” day in the snow and freezing rain

sylvain chavanelSylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) was one of the big protagonists in what was one of the toughest editions of Milano-Sanremo in recent memory. Responding to an attack from World champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) on the descent of the Cipressa with just over 20km to go, the former French champion found himself in a lead group of three - along with British champion Ian Stannard (Team Sky) and Russian champion Eduard Vorganov (Katusha) - on the approach to the Poggio and, having dropped Vorganov on the final climb, was away with Stannard with just four kilometres to go.

Unfortunately for both Chavanel and Stannard, however, the duo was caught by the counterattacking group of Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Gerard Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka), Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard) and Luca Paolini (Katusha). In the dash for the line, Chavanel finished fourth, behind Ciolek, Sagan and Cancellara.

With snow blocking the Passo del Turchino just before halfway, the race was unusual in that riders were had a 90-minute break in the middle as they circumvented the biggest climb of the course; this seemed to have a positive effect on Chavanel.

"It was a really hard race," Chavanel said afterwards. "Super fast, and with the stop and restart, it was pretty strange. This morning at the start I was really motivated, then when we had to start again the motivation was a little gone. But then once I got back on the bike, the pressure started again and I felt immediately good. So I decided to attack.

“I had really good legs today,” he explained. “The problem was in the last part of the Poggio I had cramps. It was really hard for me to push on my pedals due to the cramps. But I think all riders had the same problem because today we were really at the limit. It was impossible to do more than this. In the final I tried to start my sprint a little early, but the legs were empty at that point.”

Chavanel’s fourth place was the closest he has come to victory in one of cycling’s ‘Monuments’ since his second place in the 2011 Ronde van Vlaanderen.

“But OK, I was 4th. It's bittersweet when you are so close to winning a big moment as Milano - Sanremo and then you don't win,” he reflected. “I'm a little bit disappointed, but at the same time feel really good for the job I did. It shows in the last weeks my hard work is paying off. I am very happy about it.”

WorldTour number one status is something of a consolation for missing the podium

sylvain chavanelThe 60 points Chavanel gained for his fourth place do give him something of a consolation, however, as it takes him into the lead in the International Cycling Union International Cycling Union (UCI) WorldTour. His new total of 12 points lifts the former French champion up from 13th place to first, where he deposes Paris-Nice winner Richie Porte.

“I have also the surprise to be number one in the WorldTour rankings. It's quite nice, a new sensation for me and a new feeling. Only now after the race and a shower, that I realise it's not so bad to be number one in the world even for a week.”

Sagan’s second place in the race lifts the Slovakian champion from 25th to fifth, although - since MTN-Qhubeka is a Professional Continental team - Ciolek does not feature in the classification.

When Chavanel turned professional with Bonjour-Toupargel [now Team Europcar - ed] in 2000 he was touted as one of the big hopes for French cycling, and a possible future Tour de France winner. The now 33-year-old has enjoyed the best years of his career in recent seasons, however, and has become one of the most aggressive Classics riders in the peloton since joining Quick Step in 2009.

“I am so happy that I've reached my maturity at this time in my career,’ he said. “I feel really good, and I like my job and love riding my bike. As for what's next, we have another World Tour race on Friday, Harelbeke. I will try my best there. We have a strong team, and we will do our best to win the race."

Many of Chavanel’s teammates quit Milano-Sanremo as they suffered in the conditions. Belgian champion Tom Boonen, Dutch champion Niki Terpstra, and Stijn Vandenbergh didn’t take the restart, while Michal Kwiatkowski abandoned late on. Chavanel found a way to relax in the team bus, however, and was raring to go in what were some of the most extreme conditions experienced by the modern peloton.

"As for what I did during the race neutralisation, I slept," said Chavanel. "I tried to sleep to recover. Also, I think all of the riders that finished are a little bit heroic. The conditions were really extreme, so I am happy to say I've done it and finished."

UCI WorldTour standings, 17 March 2013 (after Milan Sanremo)


1 (13) CHAVANEL Sylvain, OMEGA PHARMA - QUICK-STEP CYCLING TEAM (OPQ) 120
2 (1) PORTE Richie, SKY PROCYCLING (SKY) 113
3 (2) SLAGTER Tom Jelte, BLANCO PRO CYCLING TEAM (BLA) 111
4 (3) NIBALI Vincenzo, ASTANA PRO TEAM (AST) 106
5 (25) SAGAN Peter, CANNONDALE PRO CYCLING (CAN) 92
6 (4) TALANSKY Andrew, GARMIN SHARP (GRS) 92
7 (5) FROOME Christopher, SKY PROCYCLING (SKY) 86
8 (6) MORENO BAZAN Javier, MOVISTAR TEAM (MOV) 86
9 (7) THOMAS Geraint, SKY PROCYCLING (SKY) 77
10 (8) CONTADOR VELASCO Alberto, TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF (TST) 72
11 (59) CANCELLARA Fabian, RADIOSHACK LEOPARD (RLT) 71
12 (9) PERAUD Jean-Christophe, AG2R LA MONDIALE (ALM) 71
13 (10) VAN GARDEREN Tejay, BMC RACING TEAM (BMC) 62
14 (11) KWIATKOWSKI Michal, OMEGA PHARMA - QUICK-STEP CYCLING TEAM (OPQ) 61
15 (12) IZAGUIRRE INSAUSTI Jon, EUSKALTEL EUSKADI (EUS) 61
16 (14) RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquin, KATUSHA (KAT) 58
17 (15) HERMANS Ben, RADIOSHACK LEOPARD (RLT) 52
18 (-) PAOLINI Luca, KATUSHA (KAT) 50
19 (16) HORNER Christopher, RADIOSHACK LEOPARD (RLT) 42
20 (17) KELDERMAN Wilco, BLANCO PRO CYCLING TEAM (BLA) 41
21 (-) STANNARD Ian, SKY PROCYCLING (SKY) 40
22 (18) SPILAK Simon, KATUSHA (KAT) 40
23 (19) ULISSI Diego, LAMPRE-MERIDA (LAM) 32
24 (20) IZAGUIRRE INSAUSTI Gorka, EUSKALTEL EUSKADI (EUS) 32
25 (-) PHINNEY Taylor, BMC RACING TEAM (BMC) 30
26 (21) AMADOR BAKKAZAKOVA Andrey, MOVISTAR TEAM (MOV) 22
27 (22) WESTRA Lieuwe, VACANSOLEIL-DCM PRO CYCLING TEAM (VCD) 22
28 (-) KRISTOFF Alexander, KATUSHA (KAT) 20
29 (23) PIETROPOLLI Daniele, LAMPRE-MERIDA (LAM) 20
30 (24) GREIPEL André, LOTTO BELISOL (LTB) 20
31 (40) CAVENDISH Mark, OMEGA PHARMA - QUICK-STEP CYCLING TEAM (OPQ) 15
32 (26) GOSS Matthew Harley, ORICA GREENEDGE (OGE) 12
33 (27) MACHADO Tiago, RADIOSHACK LEOPARD (RLT) 11
34 (28) NIEMIEC Przemyslaw, LAMPRE-MERIDA (LAM) 10
35 (29) KLÖDEN Andreas, RADIOSHACK LEOPARD (RLT) 10
36 (30) VELITS Peter, OMEGA PHARMA - QUICK-STEP CYCLING TEAM (OPQ) 6
37 (32) GILBERT Philippe, BMC RACING TEAM (BMC) 6
38 (34) VIVIANI Elia, CANNONDALE PRO CYCLING (CAN) 6
39 (36) GERRANS Simon, ORICA GREENEDGE (OGE) 6
40 (37) RENSHAW Mark, BLANCO PRO CYCLING TEAM (BLA) 6
41 (31) MARTIN Tony, OMEGA PHARMA - QUICK-STEP CYCLING TEAM (OPQ) 6
42 (33) ALBASINI Michael, ORICA GREENEDGE (OGE) 6
43 (35) KITTEL Marcel, TEAM ARGOS - SHIMANO (ARG) 6
44 (38) BOUHANNI Nacer, FDJ (FDJ) 6
45 (39) FERRARI Roberto, LAMPRE-MERIDA (LAM) 5
46 (-) EISEL Bernhard, SKY PROCYCLING (SKY) 4
47 (41) POELS Wouter, VACANSOLEIL-DCM PRO CYCLING TEAM (VCD) 4
48 (42) VEIKKANEN Jussi, FDJ (FDJ) 4
49 (44) MALORI Adriano, LAMPRE-MERIDA (LAM) 4
50 (45) BELLETTI Manuel, AG2R LA MONDIALE (ALM) 4
51 (46) DEMARE Arnaud, FDJ (FDJ) 4
52 (48) IGLINSKY Maxim, ASTANA PRO TEAM (AST) 4
53 (49) PETACCHI Alessandro, LAMPRE-MERIDA (LAM) 4
54 (43) MOLLEMA Bauke, BLANCO PRO CYCLING TEAM (BLA) 4
55 (47) MENCHOV Denis, KATUSHA (KAT) 4
56 (51) ROJAS GIL Jose Joaquin, MOVISTAR TEAM (MOV) 2
57 (54) BOASSON HAGEN Edvald, SKY PROCYCLING (SKY) 2
58 (55) CANTWELL Jonathan, TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF (TST) 2
59 (50) QUINTANA ROJAS Nairo Alexander, MOVISTAR TEAM (MOV) 2
60 (52) DUMOULIN Samuel, AG2R LA MONDIALE (ALM) 2
61 (53) HOWARD Leigh, ORICA GREENEDGE (OGE) 2
62 (56) CASTROVIEJO NICOLAS Jonathan, MOVISTAR TEAM (MOV) 1
63 (58) VISCONTI Giovanni, MOVISTAR TEAM (MOV) 1
64 (60) FARRAR Tyler, GARMIN SHARP (GRS) 1
65 (62) GASPAROTTO Enrico, ASTANA PRO TEAM (AST) 1
66 (64) BOZIC Borut, ASTANA PRO TEAM (AST) 1
67 (67) PONZI Simone, ASTANA PRO TEAM (AST) 1
68 (57) SANCHEZ GONZALEZ Samuel, EUSKALTEL EUSKADI (EUS) 1
69 (61) LOPEZ GARCIA David, SKY PROCYCLING (SKY) 1
70 (63) GALLOPIN Tony, RADIOSHACK LEOPARD (RLT) 1
71 (65) DEBUSSCHERE Jens, LOTTO BELISOL (LTB) 1
72 (66) SOUPE Geoffrey, FDJ (FDJ) 1
73 (68) VON HOFF Steele, GARMIN SHARP (GRS) 1
74 (69) WELLENS Tim, LOTTO BELISOL (LTB) 1
75 (70) FENN Andrew, OMEGA PHARMA - QUICK-STEP CYCLING TEAM (OPQ) 1
76 (71) MARKUS Barry, VACANSOLEIL-DCM PRO CYCLING TEAM (VCD) 1

Teams:


1 (1) SKY PROCYCLING (SKY) GBR, 320
2 (3) OMEGA PHARMA - QUICK-STEP CYCLING TEAM (OPQ) BEL, 208
3 (4) RADIOSHACK LEOPARD (RLT) LUX, 186
4 (7) KATUSHA (KAT) RUS, 172
5 (2) BLANCO PRO CYCLING TEAM (BLA) NED, 162
6 (5) ASTANA PRO TEAM (AST) KAZ, 113
7 (6) MOVISTAR TEAM (MOV) ESP, 113
8 (17) CANNONDALE PRO CYCLING (CAN) ITA, 98
9 (13) BMC RACING TEAM (BMC) USA, 98
10 (8) GARMIN SHARP (GRS) USA, 94
11 (9) EUSKALTEL EUSKADI (EUS) ESP, 94
12 (10) AG2R LA MONDIALE (ALM) FRA, 77
13 (11) TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF (TST) DEN, 74
14 (12) LAMPRE-MERIDA (LAM) ITA, 71
15 (14) VACANSOLEIL-DCM PRO CYCLING TEAM (VCD) NED, 27
16 (15) ORICA GREENEDGE (OGE) AUS, 26
17 (16) LOTTO BELISOL (LTB) BEL, 22
18 (18) FDJ (FDJ) FRA, 15
19 (19) TEAM ARGOS - SHIMANO (ARG) NED, 6

Nations:

1 (1) SPAIN, 309
2 (2) UNITED STATES, 227
3 (5) GREAT BRITAIN, 219
4 (4) ITALY, 214
5 (6) FRANCE, 203
6 (3) NETHERLANDS, 182
7 (7) AUSTRALIA, 139
8 (13) SLOVAKIA, 98
9 (15) SWITZERLAND, 77
10 (8) POLAND, 71
11 (9) BELGIUM, 60
12 (10) GERMANY, 42
13 (11) SLOVENIA, 41
14 (12) COSTA RICA, 22
15 (20) NORWAY, 22
16 (14) PORTUGAL, 11
17 (-) AUSTRIA, 4
18 (16) FINLAND, 4
19 (18) KAZAKHSTAN, 4
20 (17) RUSSIA, 4
21 (19) COLOMBIA, 2

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