Seconds after the finish of Milan-San Remo, on the second part of the Via Roma, Julian Alaphilippe and Fernando Gaviria crossed paths and touched hands. The Frenchman was on his way to the podium after taking third in the sprint behind Michal Kwiatkowski and Peter Sagan, while Gaviria rode on to the Quick-Step Floors team bus after finishing fifth and second behind Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) in the sprint. It was a moment of mixed emotions.
The atmosphere at the team bus was one of defeat and regret. Some lamented that Gaviria’s saddle had come loose before the climb of the Cipressa. He was unable to change bikes in such a key moment in the race and so it perhaps affected his performance. However, there was also satisfaction with Alaphilippe’s third place.
The Belgian team had taken on the race as it likes to do. Perhaps Gaviria was a stronger card to play but Sagan’s attack on the Poggio completely changed the race, and his work on the descent and on the streets of San Remo ensured that the three-rider attack stayed away.
Alaphilippe was rightly proud of his ride after going close to victory in the three-rider sprint.
“It was my first participation in San Remo, so this was a good experience. We respected our role, as a team with a sprinter in Gaviria. It was my role to be vigilant on the ascent of the Poggio. To cover the attacks there. I did that, so I’m happy with my performance,” the Frenchman explained.
“The final was really hard. Sagan was very, very strong when he attacked. I gave my maximum in order to begin the descent in front. I saw we rapidly made a difference and so I wanted to recover in the descent. But Sagan attacked on every corner. When we arrived in the flat, my legs were full. I have no regrets today.”
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