An emotionally shattered Michael Matthews (AUS/Orica-GreenEDGE) on the teambus after the 107th Milano-Sanremo 2016 finish. A crash 30km before the finish ended all chances for the very confident Bling to shine. Matthews ended with a big cut in his forearm.

Daily News Digest

by Matt de Neef

March 21, 2016


In today’s edition of the CT Daily News Digest: Arnaud Demare wins a chaotic Milan-San Remo; Lizzie Armitstead wins race three in the Women’s WorldTour, the Trofeo Alfredo Binda; Demare’s monumental San Remo victory – One for the outsiders; Demare denies holding onto team car in Milan-San Remo finale; Matthews left devastated after Milan-San Remo crash; Alejandro Valverde to skip the Tour of Flanders after all; Brian Cookson hints at the possibility of a shortened Vuelta a Espana; Nine cyclists hit by a car near Shepparton, Victoria; Team Brevet breaks world 24-hour team time trial record; Incredible bike-handling skills from Peter Sagan and Fabian Cancellara; Orica-GreenEdge Backstage Pass from Milan-San Remo; A journey of discovery at the 200-mile Dirty Kanza.

Sanremo - Italy - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Arnaud Demare (FDJ)   pictured during Milano - Sanremo World Tour cycling race  - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2016

Arnaud Demare wins a chaotic Milan-San Remo

by Neal Rogers

Frenchman Arnaud Démare (FDJ) has won the first of the season’s five Monuments, Milan-San Remo, in a bunch sprint ahead of Ben Swift (Sky) and Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Soudal).

The 2011 under-23 world champion, Démare, 24, emerged as the winner of a race marred by crashes, including one that took down several pre-race favourites, including Démare and Michael Matthews (Orica-Greenedge), at the bottom of the Cipressa climb with 30km to go.

The biggest win of Démare’s career, it marked the first Milan-San Remo victory by a Frenchman since Laurent Jalabert in 1995, and the first by a Frenchman in any Monument since Jalabert at Lombardia in 1997.

“This is incredible,” Démare said. “There are days like this one in which everything works despite the occasional hiccup, like crashing at the bottom of the Cipressa. I made it across at the bottom of the Poggio and the entire way I felt fantastic. I became the under-23 world champion in similar conditions after crashing. I’m delighted to win Milan-San Remo. This is a big one and has been running for over a century. It’s extraordinary. I’m extremely happy.”

An 11-man breakaway made the early running in the 295km race, leading proceedings until 25km to go when the last of the leaders were caught on the Cipressa. Several riders attempted to break free in those closing kilometres, including former world champion Michal Kwiatowski (Sky) who launched a dangerous late move, but ultimately the race came back together for a crash-marred final sprint.

1. fr
DéMARE Arnaud
2. gb
Team Sky
3. be
Lotto Soudal

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Today’s feature image comes from Kristof Ramon and shows a dejected Michael Matthews after a crash ruined his chances of winning Milan-San Remo.

  • Laurens

    I saw Sagan when watching the race and was impressed. Seeing it again in slow-motion and real-time just adds to that!

    • Kieran Degan

      Incredible. And Fabian is equally impressive. That tail whip is nuts

      • #madskillz

        • Sean

          tag spammer

      • Rob

        Watch me whip, whip, watch me Fa-Fa

  • Nate

    So stoked for Team Brevet, fantastic news and great work!

  • jules

    I think what we’re seeing with the Demare win is a continued shift away from the anciennete cycling culture, with its opaque rules and customs, to a more modern, objective sport where BS like hanging onto cars is recognised as cheating.

    • velocite

      Interesting reflection. Certainly the remarks by the Astana and Tinkov guys were far from the Omerta.

      • Dave

        Tinkoff riders have their own special version of the Omertà, with the words ‘unless we lose’ added on.

        • velocite

          A bit sour there, Dave. But as a distant spectator, I am wondering about the possible reactions of nearby riders when they see this kind of cheating happening. Clearly there’s a degree of acceptance of sticky bidon handling and the like, but there is surely also a limit somewhere. Will the peleton be pleased with Tosatto and Capecchi, or will they be punished for blowing the whistle, if that is indeed what they did?

      • MadBlack

        I just checked the STRAVA files from Demare for MSR and compared it with Geschkes (who was riding in the front group) on the Chipressa. No obvious discrepancies there. Certainly not any speeds remotely close to 80kph, I dare say Astana are very sore losers!

        • velocite

          Someone said that the original Strava file was deleted and re-uploaded. Was it modified? Who can say? And it wasn’t just Astana, it was a Tinkov rider also. I don’t think it is satisfactory for the Race Judge to dismiss the allegation just because there was no video. Has there ever been a similar allegation made by other riders? It’s very rarity makes it worth investigating. I believe other riders should have been questioned about what they saw or did not see, and the occupants of the FDJ team car interviewed.

          • Sean

            It wasn’t modified, he just got paced up the climb by the cars – he was coming back through the convoy. The thing fattie club riders and hubbard’s forget is riders at this level can climb fast even if they’re a sprinter. A sprinter in road cycling is a completely different beast to a track sprinter or 100m sprinter.

  • velocite

    Impressive Orica backstage video. A great response by the team to such disappointment. Oughter be a good year for them, if attitude makes a difference.

  • Paul Smith

    Will be an interesting few days as people begin investigating Demare’s data and providing their commentary. Will we ever find out the truth?
    It sounds like the tow was almost as blatant as Nibali last year during the Giro (I think) before he was disqualified.

  • James

    I’d like to see the Vuelta become a 2 week tour. There are a number of one week tours and then 3 grand tours with nothing in between. A 2 week tour at the end of the season makes sense to me and also provides a good stepping stone for younger riders into a full 3 week tour. In a perfect world it’d be great to see the Worlds and Lombardy etc move forward closer to the end of the Vuelta. I don’t think the Vuelta has always been a full 3 weeks anyway, I think there have several times when it has only been around the 16-17 day mark so it’s not that big a break with tradition to cut a few days off it.

    • Dave

      I wouldn’t mind seeing the Vuelta become the biggest tour for the Pro Continental division, and working as a ‘qualifying race’ with a couple of wildcard slots for the following year’s grand tours on offer.

      • Sean

        If they did that and moved the TDU to Victoria, I reckon the calendar would be spot on.

        • Dave

          I recognise that we’re all Australians and that if the Mexicans are feeling insecure about their cycling culture we should help them out. Transferring the TDU would be a step too far, so how about we just send you Durian Rider instead?

          I’m sure this will meet your satisfaction, and I look forward to attending the next AFL Grand Final at Adelaide Oval.

          • Sean

            You had me won over at ‘I’ – there is no need to bring Durian what’s his name into the discussion.

          • Karl

            Hey, we’re in the Southern Hemisphere. Mexico should be up North.

  • Avuncular

    That pic of Matthews in the bus is the best of the weekend despite the great personal disappointment. Reminds me of Rodin’s The Thinker. But deep in despair.

  • Lach

    Quick thumbs up for Heinrich Hausslers’ 7th place in MSR.

    • Definitely! Bodes well for the rest of the Classics.

      • david__g

        I was pleased to see him up at the sharp end of the race. Now if only he’d revert back to his awful haircuts of circa 2007.

    • Rob

      Definitely. Great result that he should be proud of. How was Pippo and his kamakazi attack lol

  • Rob

    Armitstead pretty much killing it right now. Rainbow champagne showers!


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