Van der Poel: “Winning in this way exceeded my expectations”

Mathieu van der Poel achieved his first victory of the season on Via Roma by being the strongest in Milan-San Remo. In this way, the Dutchman a third monument to his record, the third other than Flanders (he won in 2020 and 2022), after a great attack and subsequent descent at the Poggio. On the road, he had not yet shown the best version of him in 2023, the year in which he was cyclocross world champions. “It really exceeded my expectations to win like this. The Cipressa was less heavy this year than other years due to the headwind. There I felt that the legs were still fresh. I attacked at the Poggio and I was able to hold out until the end”, said the one from Alpecin in goal in some statements collected by Wielerflits.

“I am incredibly happy. Everyone wants to win this race. In the Tirreno I was not so good, but I knew that I needed those days of racing to be at my best. I proved it”, added Poulidor’s grandson, also a winner in Sanremo in 1961. Van Aert, winner in 2020, had to settle for third place this time: “I think Mathieu showed everyone that he was super. He made a strong move at the right time. Perhaps at Cipressa it was easier than expected. There was a little more headwind, more than anticipated, due to the many turns”, he added, in a general feeling about the penultimate ascent. Ganna finished in second position: “I tried to do my best. The team trusted me from the beginning. Being second is the first of the losers. Maybe today I’m a little disappointedbut tomorrow I will value it better ”, snapped the one from Ineos.

Pogacar, who monopolized a good part of the spotlight, ended up off the podium, in fourth position, in a career in which he was the protagonist. Something similar happened to him at the Tour of Flanders in 2022. Wellens did a great job. I tried to go alone, but the attack was not strong enough. Then I tried to follow Van der Poel, but I couldn’t. I have high hopes for this career in the future. Last year I attacked four times, now only once. Today the best man won”, concludes the Slovenian, who confirmed the Tour of Flanders as another of his great objectives in this season of classics.

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