Sanremo, 19 March 2022 – Matej Mohoric took a spectacular win in the 113th Milano-Sanremo riding away from the group of favourites on the descent of the Poggio. Mohoric became the first Slovenian to win La Classicissima after pushing his descent to the limit with his unprecedented use of the ‘dropper’ seat post .
In second spot was Frenchman Anthony Turgis who had also escaped on the descent while Mathieu van der Poel, who was roped in as a substitute for a sick teammate, outsprinted the rest of the contenders to take third spot on the podium.
Speaking seconds after the stage finish, Matej Mohoric said: “I’ve been thinking about this race for the whole winter. I’ve worked on being in good shape for Milano-Sanremo even though I got sick in February and I crashed at Strade Bianche. I never stopped believing I could win. My plan was to do my best descent and risk it a little bit. I went full gas. It’s amazing to win Milano-Sanremo!”
165 riders took the start in Milan with Australian Robert Stannard (Alpecin-Fenix) the only non-starter. Eight riders, Yevgeniy Gidich and Artyom Zakharov (Astana Qazaqstan Team), Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè), Filippo Tagliani and Ricardo Alejandro Zurita (Drone Hopper – Androni Giocattoli) Samuele Rivi and Diego Pablo Sevilla (EOLO-Kometa, Filippo Conca (Lotto Soudal), made an immediate break which persisted for most of the day.
At 45 km covered the break has a lead of 5’10” covering the first hour at an average speed of 45.7 km/h (28.4 mph). The gap continued to grow reaching 7’00” after 173km. The peloton then started pushing hte pace but the break still enjoyed 5’40” with 75km to go (km 218).
At the approach to Capo Berta Zaharov, Tagliani and Zurita are the first to throw in the towel. Next is Conca on the climb leaving four riders to push on. Back in the bunch Peter Sagan (Total Energies) has to change his bike after a mechanical problem and never gets back into contention.
The Cipressa at 270.5km raced scythes through the break’s gap cutting it to 42″ and leaving Tonelli and Rivi out front with Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates) driving the peloton.
Tonelli and Rivi are finally caught by the bunch at the foot of the Poggio. Tadej Pogačar of UAE Emirates is the first of the favourites to launch an attack but Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) reels him straight back in. The Slovenian stays on the front though and pushes the pace to the point he, Kragh Anderson, Mathieu van der Poel and Van Aert have a few seconds over the peloton.
It’s Mohoric who gets clear and gains 5″ by the time the road levels out. At the flamme rouge he is still riding solo but Turgis is gaining but not fast enough to thwart Mohoric’s quest for victory.
The winning margin though is only 2″ to Turgis, Van der Poel, Michael Matthews, Pogačar, Pedersen, Kragh Andersen and Van Aert. It’s 5″ then to Jan Tratnik (Bahrain-Victorious) and 11″ to Arnaud Demarre (Groupama-FDJ) and a small bunch of eight with the fractured peloton spread out over the next 21 minutes.
The winner Matej Mohoric, said: “We had a plan through the whole winter to use a seat post experienced in mountain-biking, but much lighter. Since the Poggio has a very technical descent, it suits me, so I was open to the idea, but I wanted to try it first in training. I was surprised how fast I could go. Therefore I was looking forward to the race. I crashed behind Julian Alaphilippe at Strade Bianche. I hurt my knee very badly. A ligament was inflamed. But I’m very stubborn. I didn’t give up. I was finally able to do some proper training on Wednesday and I was always telling myself that the other guys were also having problems like sickness. On the downhill of the Poggio, I was super focused the whole time. I went off-road when I attacked but I jumped back on the road. The second time I slipped both wheels and I lost lot of time there as well. On the flat I dropped my chain on last corner. Maybe I pushed too much and I should have kept some energy but I’m glad I could pull it off.”
Matej Mohoric is the first Slovenian winner of Milano-Sanremo. This is his 16th pro victory but only his second one-day race triumph after the 2018 GP Larciano, also in Italy. His win adds to a stage win in each of the three Grand Tours.
Runner-up Anthony Turgis said: “To climb on the box at the podium ceremony is already a good thing. But once again, first place was in reach. I’m a little bit disappointed but it’s a reward for the day of the team. Peter Sagan got a mechanical so some riders were asked to wait to bring him back. Then the race was very hard and a group was formed with the strongest riders. Milano-Sanremo is a superb race. The more we get close to the finish, the harder it is. I hope I can win one day.”
Third placed Mathieu Van der Poel said: “Even if I was not supposed to race, I’m still disappointed. Maybe the big favorites were in the sprint for third place, it’s a pity we couldn’t sprint for the victory today. Milano-Sanremo is a very difficult race to win. Suddenly, Mohoric had a gap. I didn’t expect he would. There was Pogacar on his wheel. We all know that Matej can do quick descents but I thought the group was big enough to close the gap. He deserves the win as well. There was also a lack of cooperation behind. We were three riders with Pedersen and Van Aert who really tried to close the gap. We need one or two teammates to close it for us. I hope I’ll come back for winning but I’m getting older and this is a missed chance again.”
Top Ten Results (Full results available here)