Stuyven raises his arms, winner in Via Roma.Marco Alpozzi – LaPresse / A
P The 112th Milan – San Remo is less than seven hours to more than 45 on average (on the coast the wind blows from behind), a tenth of a second and Jasper Stuyven. A test of resistance to boredom for 299 kilometers and a test of liveliness, quick intelligence, intuition, decision without doubts in one meter. A great counterfeit that gives him victory in Via Roma and fills the new cannibals with frustration, annihilated in the classicissima , the easiest race to run and most difficult to win.
Nibali returns the San Remo to the attackers
Las The hours become so long and monotonous that the day before cyclists tell their fear of falling asleep, and explain what they plan to do to avoid falling asleep on the long crossing of the Po plain. We get distracted by anything, says Alaphilippe, chatting with the one next to us or thinking about life, but always with one eye open, we cannot lose concentration. And in the ditch, next to the river, in the rice fields, a Fiat Topolino is parked in an amaranth color, deep red, and although there is no fog but a still cold sun, you have to think of Paolo Conte, Voghera, Stradella's accordion, and inevitably in Gianni Mura touring the Tour in his Fiat Multiplà, an ashtray in the armrest and Carletto at the wheel, and Conte's cracked voice and piano on the radio cassette player, and his melancholy is contagious, and this Sunday, the 21st, does a year that Mura died, who was a Tour and Gimondi journalist.
The tenth of a second is a meter, an exact place, a spark, is Jasper Stuyven, that when the Poggio road – the flower greenhouses finished, the lemon trees and the orange trees on its slopes, the music of the Volare by Domenico Modugno in the “ blu dipinto de blu” that those who feel invaded by spring, with the desire to jump into the blue Mediterranean , sing their descent into vertigo— connect again with the Via Aurelia and the perfume of mimosas, two kilometers scraped from the finish line on Via Roma, launches its attack. It is seen and unseen. One, two, 10 meters ahead. Goodbye. And the favorites are looked at and marked. The new cannibals fear and doubt, and end up being eaten. Alaphilippe, the only one who dared to break the peace of Poggio established by the insane speed with which Pippo Ganna made them ascend, terror made horsepower, wants to breathe. Van Aert, always at the wheel of the Frenchman, does not want to shoot because the tiny Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan has hung from his hump. Behind them, Van der Poel, always a half smile on his lips that pretend to be disinterested, calculates and waits.
It is a new situation for them. Anesthetized the Cipressa, the impossible march of Van Aert's Jumbo, and the Poggio due to the high speed imposed by those of Pidcock's and Kwiatkowski's Ineos, their superior strength, their ability, their class and their talent are no longer useful for anything. They have let the moment pass. They have stolen the fire and the race. Stuyven has done it, a Belgian who will turn 29 in April, emerged from the quarry of Johan Bruyneel in the United States, the team that Axel Merckx leads and that began with the blessing of Lance Armstrong. Originally rated Cancellara for his ability to start on the flat and maintain a speed in excess of 60 per hour for several minutes, Stuyven was never able to achieve what was expected of him. Before the classicissima, his first monument, the Belgian had only won two of the so-called semi-classic early season, cobblestones and walls – the Het Nieuwsblad and the Kuurne – and lap stages. And that was the Belgian of the Trek, the only team of his whole life, one of the bunch that followed the unbeatable stars – since last summer, in all the races in which the three stars, Alaphilippe, Van Aert and Van der Poel, always one of them won – until he had the unique intuition to attack where no runner had attacked before to win.
Gonzalo Serrano, to the attack in the country of the cannibals
There was a breakout of eight that never had more eight minutes ahead because the cannibal teams exhausted their luxury wheelers – the Tim Declercq Tractor by Julian Alaphilippe, Paul Martens by Wout van Aert and Senne Leysen by Mathieu van der Poel – to control it too tightly.
There was a Cipressa in which Van Aert put his Jumbo to 100 to avoid the expected attack of Van der Poel, who was joking in the queue.
There was a tremendous Poggio in which the Ganna locomotive, perhaps the strongest of the whole platoon, was exhausted to prevent Alaphilippe and Van Aert from jumping as decisively as they had done last year and the Frenchman also two ago
There was such a sacrifice of pawns, that at the decisive moment, when a small group created at the initiative of Alaphilippe finished the descent of Poggio and began the tactical game, Bishop Stuyven looked around and saw only kings. It was his.
"There were three very strong riders and they only talked about them," said the Belgian happy after the great victory of his life. But I had a plan. There were too many riders faster than me at the end of the Poggio, and none of them had gregarious to work with, so I would either attack or sprint to finish eighth or ninth. That didn't work for me. It was all or nothing. You had to gamble. And I played it. ”
Only at the finish line, when Stuyven had already raised his arms, did the favorites come to his wheel in a desperate sprint that left Australian Caleb Ewan second, so strong in the Poggio, Van Aert, third , and Van der Poel, fifth after Sagan. Alaphilippe lifted his foot and did not fight for a place of honor
Like last year, Alex Aranburu finished seventh after linking up with the group of favorites on the final level. He was the best Spanish. In his debut, Gonzalo Serrano finished 25th, 6s, with the same time as Iván García Cortina (30th) .
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