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All or nothing

12/03/2022

Five milestones of the 2021 Milano-Sanremo: all or nothing

0 kilometres to go to Sanremo.

Here is Jasper Stuyven throwing his arms in the air as the crosses the finish line on the via Roma, after outsprinting a group of hot favourites, including Sagan, van Aert, van der Poel and Ewan. Or so it seems by looking at this photograph. The facts are quite different, though.

Here is how it unfolded.

Stuyven jumped away in the last hundred metres of the descent of the Poggio, opening a small gap by the time he reached the ‑2 km marker. Behind him, the top contenders looked at each other and hesitated. Would it make sense for them to waste vital energy to chase back on the Belgian, at the risk of bringing a bunch of rivals with them, and fading before the final sprint? Or would it be wiser to hold back a little longer, but possibly let him get out of reach?

Someone, however, didn’t overthink it. Søren Kragh Andersen jumped across to Stuyven, and stayed away with him in the final kilometre.

Trying ‘all or nothing’ was better than not trying at all, the Dane must have thought.

He led his breakaway partner flawlessly into the final 150 metres, then Stuyven kicked with enough speed and power to hit the finish line first, surprised, and win the 2021 Milano-Sanremo.

Ewan and van Aert rounded off the podium. Sagan and van der Poel took fourth and fifth, respectively. All on the same time, as in a bunch sprint.

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