Milan-San Remo in pictures: how the dramatic 102nd edition of La Primavera unfolded

All the action from a day when a split in the field caused the script to be ripped up

by Simon_MacMichael   March 20, 2011  

14 Matt Goss celebrates winning the 2011 Milan San Remo LaPresse RCS Sport .jpg

Yesterday's Milan-San Remo victory by Matt Goss of HTC-Highroad came after one of the most dramatic editions of the race seen in recent years, a split in the peloton just under 100km to go ultimately proving fatal to the chances of many pre-race favourites. It was a long time before the chasing pack gave up the hunt, however, and it was only in the closing kilometres that it became clear that a lead group of 40 or so riders, including many big names, wouldn't be caught. Here's some pictures of a day's racing that will live long in the memory.

Picture credit: LaPresse/RCS Sport

Amid the usual pre-race excitement about how the day’s events would unfold and who would cross the line first in San Remo, there was a reflective tone as riders commemorated the Japan earthquake victim’s, including signing the country’s flag.


Picture credit: LaPresse/RCS Sport

Japanese national champion Takashi Miyazawa was in tears as he took centre stage alongside Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli team mate Giovanni Visconti at the start as the peloton reflected upon the terrible events in the Far East. Miyazawa would make his own commemoration by attacking shortly after the start, remaining out in front of the race with three other escapees for 190km.

Picture credit: LaPresse/RCS Sport

The 102nd edition of Milan-San Remo is under way as the riders roll out of the piazza in front of the Lombard capital’s imposing Castello Sforzesco, now home to a number of museums. The neutralised zone will end, and the 298km journey to San Remo start, on Via della Chiesa Rossa, running parallel to Leonardo da Vinci’s canal linking Milan with Pavia some 30km to the south.

Picture credit: LaPresse/RCS Sport

Less than 10km short of the race’s highest point, the 532m Passo del Turchino, the medieval bridge at Campo Ligure is one of the route’s landmarks and an established favourite with race photographers. The flat plain of the River Po is now far behind as the race approaches its halfway point.


Picture credit: LaPresse/RCS Sport

The four early escapees are still out in front, and the chasing peloton still together, as the race passes yachts moored at Varazze, one of a series of marinas dotting the coast on the Italian Riviera. There are still 125km to go, and Thor Hushovd in the rainbow jersey and team mate Tyler Farrar have little idea that their day will shortly take a turn for the worse.

Picture credit: LaPresse/RCS Sport

The race heads up the climb of Le Manie above the town of Noli, and no-one knows that the decisive action of the day has already happened with 20 or so riders, including Garmin Cervelo’s Thor Hushovd, crashing prior to the ascent with most of the field held up behind. Near the front of the main group of riders shown here is defending champion and three-time winner Oscar Freire of Rabobank, who will himself crash on a slippery descent.

Picture credit: LaPresse/RCS Sport

As the front group of around 40 riders sweep down off the climb and along the seafront at Finale Ligure, there’s still some confusion about exactly what has happened behind, but these are the riders who will eventually fight for victory in San Remo. Only Michele Scarponi will manage to bridge the gap and it will be the Lampre-ISD rider, plus seven others from this leading group, who will contest the final sprint.

Picture credit: LaPresse/RCS Sport

Two-way radios have been in the headlines of late, and here Katusha, who have 2006 winner Filippo Pozzato in the leading group, get the order to put the hammer down. BMC, who have Alessandro Ballan in the front group, and Omega Pharma-Lotto, with both Philippe Gilbert and Andre Greipel, are also keen to keep the pace high to keep the chasing bunch, just emerging from the tunnel, at bay.

Picture credit: LaPresse/RCS Sport

Diano Marina lies 42km from the finish, but with Capo Berta, the Cipressa and the Poggio still to come, it’s by no means clear whether the front group will prevail. Behind them, however, HTC-Highroad and Garmin-Cervelo appear disinclined to join the likes of Rabobank in the chase; they are represented in the front group by, respectively, Matt Goss and Heinrich Haussler.

Picture credit: LaPresse/RCS Sport

The leaders head up the climb of Capo Berta and somehow, Japanese champion Miyazawa, whose earlier breakaway was swept up, is still in the front group after more than 250km of racing; he will later drop back to the second group in a doomed attempt to try and help Visconti bridge across.

Picture credit: LaPresse/RCS Sport

Tifosi line the Cipressa as the leading group heads up the day’s penultimate major climb. Legs are starting to hurt now, and the domestiques who have done sterling work in ensuring that this small bunch maintains its gap over the pursuing group are beginning to fall back as the pace refuses to relent.


Picture credit: LaPresse/RCS Sport

Matt Goss has kept a low profile in the front group, but the Tasmanian is still there on the descent of the Poggio as the race enters its closing kilometres with BMC’s Greg van Avermaet clear by a handful of seconds. Vacansoleil’s Marco Marcato, however, will fall out of contention after crashing on the descent, with former world champion Ballan of BMC having to employ some superb bike handling skills to avoid a similar fate.

Picture credit: LaPresse/RCS Sport

HTC-Columbia’s Matt Goss celebrates as he crosses the line to win the 102nd Milan-San Remo from Fabian Cancellara, with Philippe Gilbert third after the Australian played an astute tactical battle on the approach, using the Belgian to lead him out. The 24-year-old is the first winner of the race to come from outside Europe, and Australia the 10th country to be represented in the roll of honour.

Picture credit: LaPresse/RCS Sport

Goss looks anything but a man who has just ridden almost 300km at a cracking pace to take the biggest win of his career. Reckon you could look that fresh after riding the same distance? Well, you could always try riding the Gran Fondo Milano San Remo, Italy’s longest sportive, taking place in June and which follows the same route the pros rode yesterday.
 

3 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

I was lucky enough to be there at the start in Milan. Great weather and really enjoyable to wander around the team buses at the start as the riders emerged. The minutes silence was very emotional and dignified - Takashi Miyazawa done well to keep composed and was in the first move of the day.
It was my first time at the start of a big race as I'd only ever watched the midpoint or end before and I'd thorouhly recomend it to anyone who's not been before. A few pics below.




TheHatter's picture

posted by TheHatter [808 posts]
21st March 2011 - 22:16

like this
Like (0)

on viewing the photos again is that Erik Zabel with Bo-Hagen?

TheHatter's picture

posted by TheHatter [808 posts]
21st March 2011 - 22:18

like this
Like (0)

TheHatter wrote:
on viewing the photos again is that Erik Zabel with Bo-Hagen?

it sure is. we met erik at eurobike last year on the Canyon stand, nice chap.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7034 posts]
22nd March 2011 - 10:31

like this
Like (0)