Mathieu van der Poel returns to his best level and takes shocking solo win at Milano-Sanremo

Milano-Sanremo is a race of drama and surprises and it delivered this year. Mathieu van der Poel returned to his best form and took an astonishing solo victory.

Nine riders jumped the gun in the beginning of the day in order to try and race as many of the 300 kilometers as possible towards the front. They were Alois Charrin (Tudor Pro Cycling Team), Aleksandr Riabushenko (Astana Qazaqstan Team), Samuele Rivi and Mirco Maestri (EOLO-Kometa), Haylu Abrega (Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team), Jan Maas and Alexandre Balmer (Team Jayco AlUla), Samuele Zoccarato and Alessandro Tonelli (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè).

Jumbo-Visma, UAE Team Emirates, Trek - Segafredo and Alpecin-Deceuninck took turns controlling the race over the many flat kilometers. The race over the Tre Capi was rather calm and what followed wasn't too different. Despite the strong team, UAE Team Emirates' pace over the CIpressa was not the most furious.

The last survivors were caught with 28 kilometers to go. The likes of Mark Cavendish and Arnaud De Lie were among those dropped, the latter helping Lotto Dstny and dropping back in the Cipressa. A rather compact peloton made it over the summit however and teams after the descent organized to prepare their run-in to the Poggio.

Bahrain led the first section of the climb as they came in with depth, but the peloton was far from stretched. With 2 kilometers to the top for the top of the climb Tim Wellens headed to the front and quickly accelerated with Tadej Pogacar in the wheel. It was a planned move that took some by surprise. With 6.6 kilometers then Pogacar made his attack, after an UAE Team Emirates rider created a split behind which only a few riders survived.

Pogacar was followed by Filippo Ganna, Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel. Van der Poel then attacked towards the summit getting a small gap, as small groups followed down the descent then. The tailwind was incredibly beneficial for the Dutchman however, and with him having extended the gap in the descent victory looked certain.

Van der Poel won solo over the Via Roma. Filippo Ganna made a move in the final meters to take a very surprising second place, as Wout van Aert closed the podium with Pogacar just behind him.

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