Weather-Affected Milan-Sanremo Ends in Bunch Sprint

Sun 23 Mar 2014

Daryl Impey was the best placed rider for ORICA-GreenEDGE at Milan-Sanremo on Sunday. The South African finished in 49th place, 3’50 behind the 25 strong group that contested the bunch finish. Alexander Kirstoff (Katusha) emerged as a surprise winner in Sanremo ahead of Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) and Ben Swift (Team Sky).

The longest race of the year was once again weather-affected. Sporadic drizzle and cool temperatures at the started turned into steady rain, wind, cold and hail by the time the peloton reached the cost. Mid-day sunshine and blue skies in Sanremo gave way to thunderstorms by mid-afternoon.

“No excuses,” said Sport Director Matt White. “We suffered in the cold – but so did everyone else. The weather certainly impacted the race.”

The Australian outfit began the day with high hopes, and the long journey from Milan unfolded as planned during the early action. With a seven rider breakaway up the road, ORICA-GreenEDGE looked to other teams to control and chase as they conserved energy for the finale in which they intended to look after Michael Matthews.

“Things went well in the beginning,” said White. “There were no incidents – no crashes or early withdrawals.”

“It began to go pear-shaped as soon as the action heated up,” White continued. “It wasn’t a good day in the end. As planned, Jens Keukeleire stopped in the second feed zone. By the time we hit the Cipresso, we only had Durbo [Luke Durbrige], Clarkey [Simon Clarke] and Daryl left.”

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) attacked mid-way up from the Cipresso as the peloton began to close in on Marc de Maar (UnitedHealthcare) and Maarten Tjallingii (Belkin), the last two men standing from the early breakaway. When Nibali reached the top of the Cipresso, he was within ten seconds of de Maar and Tjallingii and around 40” ahead of the peloton.

The two leaders were overtaken by both Nibali and the peloton on the run in to the Poggio. Nibali started the Poggio with a slim advantage that quickly proved short-lived. As the peloton plunged down to the finish, a handful of riders put in attacks. None eventuated into a move with sticking power.

“Durbo and Clarkey fell off pace on the Cipresso,” noted White. “Daryl was in a group that got tailed off on the Cipresso. They managed to get back on but came off again on the Poggio – and that was it.”

“Of course it’s disappointing, but if anyone had the legs today, they would have been there,” White said. “They did all they could, but it didn’t amount to much. The fitness is there and the form is there. It just didn’t come together for us today.”