Cycling | 17 maart 2018
Gambled and lost in Milano-Sanremo
Team LottoNL-Jumbo didn’t get rewarded with a good result in Milano-SanRemo. In the 294 kilometre long classic, the first monument of the year, the team gambled and lost.
For the major part it was a very wet classic in which the riders mainly waited for the Poggio. A coureagous attack by Enrico Battaglin stranded in sight of the top of the traditional final climb of the race. The 26-year-old Italian responded to the attack by Vincenzo Nibali, but couldn’t keep up with the later winner.
Afterwards, Battaglin indicated that he had reacted too late to Nibali's attack. “After 700 metres my legs exploded and I was done. If I had responded directly, I could have been able to follow him maybe, but now it was just impossible.”
Sports-director Addy Engels was disappointed with the result, but he had seen a strong team during the entire race. “Based on the result only, it was a disappointing day. We came here for a good result with Danny van Poppel as the team leader. We knew it was going to be difficult on the Poggio for Danny, but we hoped that it would work out. The Poggio was a bit too hard for him today. Jos managed to get in the front group after the Poggio and he was in a good position for the sprint, but he got pushed away. Enrico tried it on the Poggio but was then stopped during the descent due to the crash of Greipel. Because of this he wasn’t able to get in a position for a good result anymore. Today we gambled and unfortunately we lost. Better luck next time.”
Van Poppel had to let the peloton go on the Poggio, about two-hundred metres before the top. “It was beautiful. I learned a lot today, especially about how to divide my energy during such a long race. It didn’t go bad, but on the Poggio I just missed that little extra.”
Van Emden finished in the front group, but wasn't able to sprint. “Danny dropped just before the top of the Poggio. I brought him back, but he couldn’t hold my wheel. Then I went for it. I thought about attacking in the final kilometre, but there wasn’t a good possibility. I chose the wheel of QuickStep to sprint for a good result, I got pushed away and it was over.”