23 March 2019

Alaphilippe, the French touch

France’s Julian Alaphilippe of Deceunick – Quick-Step claimed his first Monument as he outsprinted Belgium’s Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale), arch-rivals Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) and Peter Sagan (Bora – Hansgrohe) in a front group of ten riders that took shape on the Poggio following attacks made by the eventual winner. He’s the third rider to win Strade Bianche and Milano-Sanremo back to back after Fabian Cancellara in 2008 and Kwiatkowski in 2017.

 

 

PODIUM

 

1 – Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) – 291km in 6h40’14”, average speed 43.625km/h
2 – Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale) s.t.
3 – Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) s.t.

 

QUOTES

 

The winner, Julian Alaphilippe, said in the press conference: I came with the goal of winning this race. I’m just as proud of my win as I am of the work of my team today. What they’ve done for me is absolutely exceptional. I rode for the victory at the end bearing their dedication in mind. I recovered in the downhill after I sped up on the Poggio but I still thought it would be complicated to win considering the quality of the riders I was away with. I made a little effort to close the gap on Matteo Trentin as I knew he was very fast. Then I stayed calm and remained next to Peter Sagan. When Matej Mohoric launched the sprint, I knew I had to take his wheel straight away. Had he taken 20 metres, it would have been game over. I capped it off the nicest way I could. It’s pure joy.”

 

Second classified, Oliver Naesen, said: “Second in Milan-Sanremo is an unbelievable result for me. It’s my first podium in a monument. It’s something I will cherish. Alaphilippe was untouchable today. He was the strongest on the Poggio. He launched the sprint from very far away with a headwind against very fast riders like Kwiatkowski, Sagan and Trentin. He’s for sure the rightful winner. I had a lot of confidence going into this race but I was confident to make the top ten. I was hoping for a podium but I didn’t really expect it. It means I’m ready for a big win because the cobbled classics in Belgium, my home country, suit me even more than Milan-Sanremo.”

 

Third classified, Michal Kwiatkowski, said: It’s a good result to be on the podium but being so close to the victory leads to thinking about what I could have done better. I dreamt to win today but Julian was the strongest rider today. I think everybody saw what he did on the Poggio. Having the legs to sprint the way he did after that is absolutely impressive. It was a nice feeling for me to be with the best riders in the front group. I’m really happy that Team Sky gave me the opportunity to go for another one.”

 

STATISTICS

 

  • Julian Alaphilippe claimed the 14th French victory in Milan-Sanremo. Only Italy (51) and Belgium (20) have a higher total. The inaugural winner of the classicissima was also a Frenchman: Lucien Petit-Breton in 1907.
  • This is Alaphilippe’s seventh victory in 2019. The WorldTour rider with the second highest tally is Alexey Lutsenko with five.
    For the fifth time in seven years, the winner is aged 26. Alaphilippe is only four days younger than Michal Kwiatkowski when the Pole won two years ago.
  • The Milano-Sanremo has had 12 different winners in the past 12 years. Alaphilippe is the 80th winner of the race in 110 editions to date.