In many ways it was your typical Milan-San Remo. There was the usual slow burn over many hours, the frenzied jostling for position ahead of the Cipressa, and a short blast of explosive action on the Poggio. But it didn’t end the way we expected.
It wasn’t the Poggio that proved most decisive; nor did we get the reduced bunch sprint that seemed likely with a kilometre to go. Rather it was a late attack from Jasper Stuyven that ended up staying away, leading to the biggest result of the Belgian’s career.
Photographers Kristof Ramon and Cor Vos were there to capture all the action and you can see their handiwork in the gallery that follows. And if you haven’t already, be sure to check out Cosmo Catalano’s
How the Race Was Won.
Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) cut an arresting figure at the teams presentation. In his 17th tilt at Milan-San Remo, Philippe Gilbert (Lotto-Soudal) was hoping to win the only Monument not on his palmares. Rolling out of Milan … … with tram tracks forcing some early concentration. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) is still working back into form after his early season was disrupted by COVID. World champion Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) was one of big pre-race favourites. So too Van der Poel. Mathias Norsgaard (Movistar) was part of a breakaway that lasted well over 250 km. The peloton descending the Colle del Giovo en route to the Mediterranean Coast. After reaching the coast the riders swung south west. Classic Milan-San Remo vibes. The intensity was increasing in the peloton as the race hit the Capo Berta. After a day in the break Charles Planet (Novo Nordisk) tried a last-ditch solo effort to stay away. Trek-Segafredo brought Jasper Stuyven towards the front in the crucial kilometres before the final climbs. After a whole day riding on the front of the peloton for team leader Wout van Aert, Paul Martens (Jumbo-Visma) cut a lonely figure on approach to the Cipressa. Luke Rowe (Ineos Grenadiers) was on pacesetting duties for young gun Tom Pidcock. As expected, Alaphilippe made his move on the Poggio … … prompting his rivals to follow as best they could. Defending champ Van Aert was the quickest onto Alaphilippe’s wheel … … but a handful of riders were able to battle across, ensuring the Frenchman wouldn’t get away. Note Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) in the background, looking the strongest he ever has on the Poggio. Down off the Poggio, the race seemed destined for a sprint but Stuyven had other ideas. He punched away with about 2.5 km to go and soon had Soren Kragh Andersen (DSM) for company. The late move looked certain to be caught, but Stuyven somehow managed to hold on … … taking an unexpected victory ahead of Ewan and Van Aert. Sagan finished fast to take fourth. The UCI’s ‘no hugging’ rule be damned. If Ewan’s second place in 2018 (behind a solo Vincenzo Nibali) didn’t already prove he can win Milan-San Remo, this year’s edition certainly did. Trek-Segafredo ended up having a stellar weekend. They didn’t just win Milan-San Remo: Elisa Longo Borghini also won Trofeo Alfredo Binda and Matteo Moschetti also won the smaller Per Sempre “Alfredo”. Jasper Stuyven, winner of the 2021 Milan-San Remo.