Fabio Aru to miss Giro d’Italia after surgery for constricted iliac artery

The Italian faces time off the bike with upcoming surgery

Italian Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) will miss the 2019 Giro d’Italia, facing surgery for a constructed iliac artery in his left leg.

The 2015 Vuelta a España winner had already begun his season, but now must sit out for up to four months.

“From a certain point of view, I can only be relieved to have highlighted the problem; on the other hand, I am angry about the bad luck that has fallen on me for the umpteenth time and that will force me to miss the Giro d’Italia again,” Aru said.

“I will work to try to put an end to this dark period as soon as possible.”

The dark period spanned the past years. Aru sat out the 2017 Giro d’Italia that began on his home island of Sardinia due to a crash in training. Last year, he suffered through the race and abandoned on stage 19. After exams, he said that he is not gluten intolerant, but his body struggles to absorb pasta and carbohydrates.

The Vuelta a España did not go well and that frustration showed when he crashed and cursed the team’s bike sponsor live on television. Then he pulled out of the running for the Italian national team heading to the World Championships.

The numbers in 2019 began to worry him and the Emirates team.

“It is a feeling that I feel when I have to go all-out, while the symptom disappears at a medium pace, so much so that in training I get the basic numbers,” Aru added.

“After the start of the season, Aru again encountered difficulties in getting up to that normal level that he and the team hoped for,” team doctor Jeroen Swart said. “Recently, Fabio developed more specific symptoms related to his left leg: he felt feelings of weakness in the limb after intense training and in race efforts.

“In view of these symptoms, further medical tests have shown a constriction of the iliac artery in his left leg. This relatively rare condition is found in professional cyclists given the position adopted on their bikes and can develop progressively over a period of several years.”

Other riders had the same problem in recent years – including Joe Dombrowski (EF Education First) – and have returned to racing. The upcoming surgery will see Aru miss upcoming races the Volta a Cataluyna, the Giro di Sicilia and his season goal, the Giro d’Italia.

“In the coming days, with a date to be determined based on the availability of the hospital, Aru will undergo angioplasty surgery at the Nuovo Ospedale di Prato, after which he will have to observe an absolute rest period of one month,” said Swart. “For something like this, the return time is estimated at three or four months.”

Aru said, “I thank the team for the closeness shown this year and a half and for working with me to find the solution to the problems that have plagued me. We really hope this is the final chapter.”

He last won in the 2017 Tour de France and wore the yellow jersey. Since joining UAE Team Emirates, his best result has been a fourth place in a Tirreno-Adriatico stage.

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Maybank Championship: Scott Hend wins after thunderstorm delays finish

Scott Hend with the Maybank Championship trophy

A thunderstorm delayed play by 100 minutes with the leaders on the 18th green at the Maybank Championship in Malaysia – before Scott Hend beat Nacho Elvira in a play-off.

Elvira’s backswing was disrupted by a thunder clap as he pitched to the last, and his shot came up 30 feet short.

Play was suspended moments later.

When it resumed, the Spaniard holed for a birdie to join Hend on 15 under, with the Australian missing his putt to win before victory at the first extra hole.

“It was thunder in a bad moment but the gods did give me one back with that putt,” said 32-year-old Elvira, who was the overnight leader going into the final round.

Hend, who had been three shots behind at the start of the day, took the lead after five birdies on the front nine during a five-under-par 67.

The 45-year-old hit two trees on his way to a birdie at the first play-off hole, as he won his third European Tour title.

“Obviously I had a bit of luck on the play-off hole,” said Hend.

“If you don’t have any luck you won’t win. I had the luck today, unfortunately for Nacho. His time will come. He’s going to win. He’s a great player.”

Four time major champion Ernie Els became the first player to record 300 top-10 finishes since the inception of the world rankings in 1986.

The 49-year-old South African carded a final-round 71 to tie for seventh place on 10 under par.

Oliver Fisher finished as the best placed Briton, with the 30-year-old Englishman’s 69 enough for a tie for fifth on 11 under.

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Sunday trading: Save £100 on a set of Giro Empire SLX shoes plus big deals on wheels

It’s Sunday, so it’s time for our latest pick of bargains from the online retailers

For this week’s instalment of Sunday trading we’ve found some seriously good deals on Giro Cycling shoes, including £100 off the excellent Giro Empire SLXs. To honour the Spring classics we’ve also found a deal on the Castelli Gabba jersey, the perfect short-sleeved wet weather top. Finally, because summer is truly only just round the corner we’ve also got a great deal on some deep section Shimano wheels.

The products featured have been chosen because we know they’re good quality and are an excellent offer at the price we’ve included (at the time of writing). Our tech team have unrivalled expertise and years of experience testing new products, so you can trust our recommendations – and we also know what represents a good deal. Where we’ve reviewed the product we’ve included a link to it so you can read more.

With each product is a ‘Buy Now’ link. If you click on this then we may receive a small amount of money from the retailer when you purchase the item. This doesn’t affect the amount you pay.

Giro Empire SLX were £289, now £188.99

Giro Empire SLX cycling shoes

Giro Empire SLX cycling shoes

Read more: Giro Empire SLX shoe review

The excellent Giro Empire SLX road shoes are currently discounted by a whopping £100 on ProBikeKit. We’re big fans of these shoes as they’re superbly comfortable, with a very supple upper and laces but a stiff carbon sole for putting down the power when it matters.

Buy now: Giro Empire SLX road shoes at ProBikeKit for £188.99

Giro Empire ACC were £259, now from £159

Read more: Giro Empire ACC review

Sticking with the Giro theme, these Giro ACC models are now discounted by up to 32%. They’re subtly different to the SLXs above due to a slightly harder upper and a different carbon sole. They still look amazing though.

Buy now: Giro Empire ACC shoes at Chain Reaction Cycles from £159.99

Shimano Dura-Ace R9100 C60 carbon wheelset was £1600, now £999

These 50mm deep carbon rim braking wheels are specifically designed to increase rigidity, stability and aerodynamics. 16 spokes on the front and 21 on the rear help increase stiffness for maximum ride speed.

Buy now: Shimano Dura-Ace R9100 C60 carbon wheelset at Merlin Cycles for £999

Castelli Gabba 3 at Tredz was £170, now £75

Read more: Castelli Gabba jersey review

The Castelli Gabba jersey has long been held up as the bad weather jersey, made famous at the Classic races. Now in its third iteration, the Gabba is constructed from the Windstopper X-Lite fabric with an updated DWR treatment for extra protection.

Buy now: Castelli Gabba 3 jersey at Tredz for £75

Buy now: Powertap P1 power meter pedals for £549.99 from Probikekit

More great deals:

Shimano Dura-Ace R9100 groupset was £1874.99 now £1049.99

Topeak Race rocket minipump was £28.99 now £19

Castelli women’s Pro Mesh sleeveless baselayer was £56 now £30.79

Topeak Aero Wedge saddle pack was from £21.99 now from £13.99

Continental GP5000 tyres pair with free inner tubes were £120 now £84.95

Specialized Body Geometry Sport mitts were £20.99 now £9.99

Shimano Ultegra R6700 10 speed chain was £31.99 now £21.99

Schwalbe G-One Evo Microskin 35mm tyre was £59 now £38.99

Tacx Bushido smart trainer was £549 now £284.99

Vermarck Lotto-Soudal bibshorts were £89.99 now £53.99

Assos Skinfoil sleeveless baselayer was £50 now £29.99

Specialized Echelon 2 helmet was £59.99 now £44.99

Endura Windchill II arm warmers were £25.99 now £20

Shimano SPD-SL cleats were £19.99 now £9.95

Endura Cairn short sleeved jersey was £34.99 now £7

Lazer Magneto M1 cycling glasses were £99.99 now from £37.99

Zipp Service Course bars were £109 now from £57.99

Shimano Ultegra R8000 cassette was £74.99 now from £49.99

Lifeline Pavo 2000 lumen front light was £170 now £69.99

Orange Seal Endurance sealant was £10.99 now £7.99

Specialized Road Comp shoes were £149.99 now £74.99

Don’t forget to look back for more fantastic Sunday Trading deals next week.

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Valspar Championship: Paul Casey, Dustin Johnson and Luke Donald in contention

Casey is seeking to defend the Valspar Championship

England’s Paul Casey will take a one-shot lead over world number one Dustin Johnson into the final round as he bids to defend the Valspar Championship.

Casey, 41, carded a three-under-par 68 in his third-round at the Florida course despite a final-hole bogey.

The dropped shot was punished as Johnson escaped a fairway bunker to birdie the last and reach eight under.

American Jason Kokrak’s hole in one on the 15th helped him sit third on seven under, a shot ahead of Luke Donald.

England’s Donald has made only 10 starts in two seasons because of a back complaint but he made birdie on the last hole to end one under for the day and remain in contention.

The former world number one has not won on the PGA or European Tour since 2012, while Casey has not secured a victory since he ended more than three years without a win at this tournament in 2018.

Elsewhere in the field, South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen moved into contention by reaching five under for the tournament after sharing the lowest round of the day with Kokrak on 66.

Casey carded a final round of six under par to win the tournament by a shot from Tiger Woods in 2018; there are currently 19 players within six strokes of his mark of nine under going into Sunday’s final round.

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Julian Alaphilippe on Milan-San Remo win: ‘This is a huge moment in my career’

The Frenchmen celebrates a major milestone having won his first Monument

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) is celebrating a “huge moment” in his career after winning Milan-San Remo on Saturday (March 23) on Italy’s Mediterranean coast.

The 26-year-old Frenchman won his seventh race of the 2019 season and the first Monument in a career that is starting to rocket.

“I’ve got my special style in different races. I like that. I’ve won some good races but never won a Monument, it’s a huge personal satisfaction,” he said. “This is huge moment in my career.”

He attacked before the top of the Poggio and was joined by others, including Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), before riding tactically in the six kilometres to San Remo.

>>> Five things we learned from the 2019 Milan-San Remo

Milan-San Remo is icing on a cake that included two stages in the Tour de France and the mountains jersey, Flèche Wallonne and the Clásica San Sebastián last year.

“I’ve still got some big dreams, I’ve not reached my best yet. I was close to a Worlds win, so I’d rather win a worlds than a Tour de France stage,” he continued.

“It’s simply a sensation of joy. It’s difficult to understand but I came here to win, it was my goal and the team’s goal, and we did it.

“I’m really proud to have won and of the way my team rode. We were solid and united in the final. Tim Declercq worked all day and then Zdenek Stybar was incredible.”



When the team’s sprinter Elia Viviani slipped away on the Poggio, it became clear that Alaphilippe was the sharp end of the Deceuninck – Quick-Step arrow. He had Stybar, but also stars like Philippe Gilbert firing on the front to soften his rivals before he attacked.

“I made a big effort on Poggio, then I tried to recover on the Poggio descent. I knew it’d be difficult to win with the rivals I faced but I stayed calm and made no mistakes, then I did a huge sprint,” he continued.

>>> Peter Sagan says he missed Milan-San Remo sprint while watching Alejandro Valverde

“The speed on Poggio decides the final of the race. If there’s a headwind, the sprinters can get over the Poggio with us. I asked my team-mates to be in top-three or max top-five at the start of the Poggio. We did that and went the speed we wanted. I tried to recover in the corners to not have to move up.

“I went from far out but then when I looked left and right, nobody was there. It was an incredible moment, as was celebrating with my team-mates after the line.”

Alaphilippe began the Monument as a star favourite following wins in Strade Bianche and two stages in Tirreno-Adriatico last week.

“I was the big favourite, people were talking about me even at Tirreno-Adriatico and so I felt it. But I trusted myself and stayed calm,” he said.

“I knew I had good form and recovered after Tirreno-Adriatico. I also knew the team was with me, so I stayed focused on what I had to do and what people expected from me. Living up to expectations is fantastic.”

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Five things we learned from the 2019 Milan-San Remo

From Alaphilippe’s first Monument to another near miss for Sagan, there’s plenty to talk about

Delighted Alaphilippe wins his first Monument

There’s no question as to who the best rider of 2019 has been so far. Just two weeks after landing one of the season’s first major Classics, Strade Bianche, Julian Alaphilippe won the season’s first Monument, Milan-San Remo on Saturday (March 23). That’s his seventh win of the season, which includes a couple more WorldTour-ranked stages at Tirreno-Adriatico, and is the highest total anyone has mustered so far.

For all his success, Milan-San Remo is the big one. It’s the Frenchman’s first ever Monument victory, having come so close in previous years by podiuming here two years ago, as well as placing second at both Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2015 and Il Lombardia in 2017.

For a non-specialist sprinter like Alaphilippe, Milan-San Remo is a very difficult race to win. The odds are generally weighted in favour of sprinters, and many world class puncheurs (like, for example, Alaphilippe’s teammate Philippe Gilbert) spend their whole careers making strong, bold attacks in vain.

Julian Alaphilippe wins the first Monument of his career at Milan-San Remo (Photo: Yuzuru SUNADA)

But the 26-year old road a textbook race, attacking on the Poggio to instigate the winning move, drifting to the back of it to preserve his energy, and only emerging at the front again to time his finishing sprint perfectly.

Whatever happens from now on, this win ensures that Alaphilippe’s season has been a success. But you expect that he’s far from finished – with the Ardennes Classics to come, this purple patch looks set to continue.

Deceuninck – Quick-Step continue invincible streak

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Deceuninck – Quick-Step once again rode a tactically perfect race, and once again came out triumphant – their fifth Classic victory already this spring.

On the Poggio, it became clear that they were all in for Alaphilippe. Zdenek Stybar and Philippe Gilbert moved to the front of the peloton to set a searing pace, and did not let up even when the team’s sprinter, Elia Viviani, began to fall adrift at the back of the peloton.

At the time, giving up such a strong card to play seemed like a considerable risk, but the team’s faith in Alaphilippe was justified when the Frenchman followed up an explosive attack with a superior sprint to win yet another Classic.



Cycling has rarely seen dominance of the kind Deceuninck – Quick-Step have enjoyed these past two seasons, and the team’s togetherness was summed up in one image at the finish – Stybar, Gilbert, Viviani and Yves Lampaert (all riders who set aside their realistic ambitions of winning themselves for the good of the team) crossing the line in unison, each with broad smiles painted on their faces.

An unusual finish

Most recent editions of Milan-San Remo tend to follow one of two clear templates – those that end in bunch finishes, and those in which a small breakaway on the Poggio succeeds.

This year, however, was unusual in terms of the size of the escape group that made it to the line to contest for victory. Alaphilippe instigated the action on the Poggio, but was followed by several other riders, and a total of seven crested the top together – him, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Michał Kwiatkowski ( Team Sky), Oliver Naesen (Ag2r La Mondiale), Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

That group got even bigger when another flurry of stragglers led by Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) bridged across on the descent, yet they remained cohesive enough to fend off the chasing peloton.

>>> Specialized and Peter Sagan collaborate on beautiful new S-Works colours

This being the third successive Milan-San Remo in which the sprinters were foiled – following three editions between 2014-16 which all ended in bunch sprints – you wonder whether the pendulum has shifted in favour of attackers over sprinters, perhaps because of smaller team sizes, or perhaps because of the wealth of quality puncheurs in the peloton at present.

Whatever the reason, the likes of Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates), Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) and Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) will need to devise a plan to control the attacks come next year’s edition.

Sagan frustrated again

One of the intriguing mysteries leading up to the race was whether Peter Sagan had the form and the fitness to at last win Milan-San Remo.

The former three-time world champion has been sick in the weeks preceding the race, and had not been his usual self in the early season races, with just one win to his name.

However, he was in the mix when the action kicked off on the Poggio, and circumstances seemed to have played perfectly into his hands as the 12-man group approached the finish. Was he finally about to claim victory in a race that had eluded him for the past decade?

Peter Sagan (right) suffered another near miss in Milan-San Remo (Photo : Yuzuru SUNADA / Pool)

That’s when things went wrong. He found himself at the front of the group on the Via Roma finishing straight, the worst possible position with all the other riders in his slipstream. After knocking off his pace, he was then slow to respond when Matej Mohorič (Bahrain-Merida) started the sprint, and was playing catch up while Alaphilippe made his explosive move, and ultimately had the settle for fourth place behind riders you’d usually expect him to beat in a sprint.

Coincidentally, one of the riders was Kwiatkowski, the same man who denied him victory at the 2017 Milan-San Remo. The Pole was third this time behind Oliver Naesen, a rider we associate more with the cobbled Classics, and who looked delighted with his unexpected second-place finish.

Earlier breaks animate race

Not a lot happens in Milan-San Remo before the breathless activity of the final half hour, so we were grateful to the riders who put their nose to the wind in the earlier stages.

Usually the Cipressa prompts attacks from hopeful outside bets, but this time no-one attempted to break out of the Astana and EF Education-First led peloton.

Things livened up on the descent, however, when Niccolo Bonifazio (Direct Energie) leaped out of the bunch. Given his credentials as a bunch sprinter, it was a surprise move, but the young Italian descended with real panache to briefly lead the race, before the inevitable upping of the pace on the run-in to the Poggio.

>>> Cost of Team Sky women’s squad would be ‘a drop in the ocean’ compared to men’s budget

For most of the day, a breakaway of ten riders lead the race, four of which were from the Novo Nordisk team. The group may never have had a chance of contesting for the victory, but it made for great publicity for the team’s mission statement to “inspire, educate and empower people affected by diabetes” – all four of their riders in the break (Joonas Henttala, Andrea Peron, Charles Planet and Umberto Poli) have type 1 diabetes.

Fausto Masnada (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) was the final survivor of the break, but his remote dream was also extinguished when the peloton swallowed him up on the Cipressa.

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Peter Sagan says he missed Milan-San Remo sprint while watching Alejandro Valverde

The three-time world champion fell short at the line again in the Italian Monument

Peter Sagan was hit by a slightly different curse of the rainbow jersey in Milan-San Remo, as he missed the sprint while watching his world champion successor Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

The Slovakian again fell short in one of the Monuments missing from his palmarès, after he made the elite group with an attack over the Poggio.

But tactics on the Via Roma worked against him, as Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck -Quick-Step) won the sprint finish from an elite group and Sagan placed fourth.

“Deceuninck – Quick-Step did a good job on the climb and then Alaphilippe just was very strong,” Sagan said after the race.

“We kept him close and after I tried to do something with Kwiatkowski and Valverde but they just controlled the situation. After it was an unpredictable situation when we went down into San Remo.”

>>> Specialized and Peter Sagan collaborate on beautiful new S-Works colours 

In San Remo’s streets, cyclocross star Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) pulled back a move by Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) and Sagan, who found himself on the front too early, became swamped.

“Matteo Trentin tried to attack in the last two kilometres and I just tried to close the gap. After another tried to attack and then Alaphilippe tried to attack, [Bahrain-Merida’s Matej] Mohorič attacked. Then we all came together,” Sagan said.



“I got a little stuck on the front for the sprint. It was a sprint from a low speed. When we opened the sprint, I was looking for Valverde and they passed me on the left and I was on the right. Alaphilippe had two bike lengths and it as hard to get him back.”

Alaphilippe won his seventh race of the season, cruising to a monumental win after recent wins in Strade Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico.

>>> André Greipel to ride 2019 Tour de France as final wildcard places announced

Sagan already has a Tour of Flanders win and from 2018, a Paris-Roubaix victory. He has come second in San Remo twice already and now fourth twice.

“What can I do?” he asked.

“Milan-San Remo is totally different to the other Classics. I was on a good day, I thought I’d be worse.”

Next for Sagan is E3 and then the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. Deceuninck – Quick-Step won this round, but can Sagan bounce back?

“Yeah,” he said. “We’ll see. I’ll try my best.”

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Miami Open: Britain’s Dan Evans loses in second round to Denis Shapovalov

Dan Evans

British number three Dan Evans was knocked out in the Miami Open second round as Denis Shapovalov recovered from going a set down to progress.

Evans, the world number 97, took the opening set 6-4 before the 20th seeded Canadian stormed the second 6-1.

The 19-year-old then saved two break points as he closed out the third 6-3 to win in two hours one minute.

Evans only reached the main draw as a ‘lucky loser’ before beating Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri to reach the second round.

Shapovalov will now meet the winner of the match between Croatia’s ninth seed Marin Cilic and Russia’s Andrey Rublev.

Meanwhile, Leonardo Mayer beat fellow Argentine Guido Pella and Portugal’s Joao Sousa progressed against American Steve Johnson.

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Unbeatable Julian Alaphilippe sprints to victory in Milan-San Remo 2019

The Frenchman was part of an elite selection that went clear on the Poggio

Julian Alaphilippe remains unbeatable as he took a sprint victory from an elite group in Milan-San Remo.

The Frenchman tore the race open with an attack on the Poggio, being followed by a selection of the strongest riders in the world.

As an 11-man group, including Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and world champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), came into the final straight, Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) opened his sprint and proved himself the strongest man, taking the first Monument of his career.

How it happened

The 2019 edition of ‘La Primavera’ followed an identical route to the previous two editions, over 291km from Milan to the Via Roma in San-Remo, 30km from the French border near Nice.

First heading south from Milan, the race hit the beautiful Liguria coastal region and turned west to follow the Mediterranean to San Remo.

Riders were faced with the familiar collection of climbs, starting with the Passo del Turchino 140km into the race, before the iconic run to the line.

In the closing 60km, the peloton raced over the Capo Mele, Capo Cervo and Capo Berta before the iconic duo of the Cipressa and Poggio.

The 7km-long Cipressa averages 4.1 per cent with a maximum of nine per cent, but has traditionally been deemed too far from the finish to act as a springboard to victory.

A 3km decent from the peak was followed by a 9km flat run to the final test of the day, the Poggio.

The 4km ascent, averaging just 3.7 per cent but hitting a maximum gradient of eight per cent has been the decisive moment in the previous two editions.

A technical descent of 3km sets up the final 3km flat run to the finish on the famous Via Roma.

In the opening kilometres a breakaway of 10 went clear and settled in for a long day out front.

Fausto Masnada (Androni Giocattoli – Sidermec), Mirco Maestri, Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani – CSF), Guy Sagiv (Israel Cycling Academy), Luca Raggio, Sebastian Schönberger (Neri Sottoli – Selle Italia – KTM), Joonas Henttala, Andrea Peron, Charles Planet and Umberto Poli (Team Novo Nordisk) made up the move.

The break pulled out a 10-minute advantage at it’s maximum, with the peloton reeling them back to 5-40 with 100km left to race.

A slight tailwind of 7km/h assisted the riders along the coast, as the peloton wound the breakaway down to 90 seconds 40km from the line.

At the front of the peloton, much of the chasing was shared by Team Sky, Mitchelton-Scott, Trek-Segafedo and Lotto-Soudal.

The closing bunch sparked a reaction from the breakaway, as Schönberger attacked on the Capo Berta to delay the inevitable for a little long.

Maestri and Raggio caught up with Schönberger and were then joined by Masnada who attacked on the technical descent from the capo.

The remaining breakaway riders, Schönberger, Maestri, Raggio. Planet and Sagiv, held onto their advantage ahead of the bunch as Masnada committed to his solo dig, his gap falling to 40 seconds 30km out.

The teams driving the peloton set a rapid pace on the approach to the Cipressa, with Sky applying pressure and Groupama-FDJ joining the action for former winner Arnaud Démare.

The remains of the breakaway were caught at the foot of the penultimate climb, with Masnada determined to stay away but finally being caught half way up the Cipressa.

With 23km on the clock, we saw the first cracks in the sprinters as Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma), on his debut at Milan-San Remo, dangled precariously at the back of the bunch but valiantly fought and was able to keep in contact over the top.

UAE Team Emirates and Deceuninck – Quick-Step made their presence felt as the race hit the top of the Cipressa,

Direct Energie sprinter Niccolò Bonifazio unleashed a huge attack on the descent, riding right on the edge and hitting the bottom 11 seconds ahead of the bunch with 17.9km to race.

The peloton split under the pace of the chase as around 30 riders formed the front group.

It came back together quickly, luckily for Caleb Ewan whose Lotto-Soudal team were caught out.

The 9km flat stretch to the foot of the Poggio looked like it would break the will of Bonifazio, but the Italian managed to extended the gap out to 22 seconds as teams were reluctant to chase 12km from home.

CCC Team, riding for Greg Van Avermaet, took control and brought the gap down to 10 seconds and Bonifazio was caught before the foot of the final climb.

Deceuninck – Quick-Step once again joined the front of the race, with Mitchelton-Scott and Lotto-Soudal riding alongside as the race hit the Poggio.

Michał Kwiatkowski, winner in 2017, moved to the front with team-mate Luke Rowe leading the race.

Zdenek Stybar took control with Julian Alaphilippe glued to his wheel.

World champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team-Emirates) were all present at the head of the race on the lower slopes.

Italian champion Viviani slipped a long way back in the peloton but looked to be holding his position 7km from the line.

Groenewegen clung on to the back of the bunch but looked in danger of being dropped.

Stybar buried himself 2km from the summit of the climb, but couldn’t discourage Alberto Bettiol (EF Education First) from attacking and pulling out a small gap.

Alaphillipe opened up and went straight past Bettiol, with Kwiatkowski and Sagan chasing.

The attacks opened up a gap with seven riders leading as Valverde, Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott), and Oliver Naesen (Ag2r La Mondiale) also made the selection at the top of the Poggio.

Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) bridged across to the front group, as Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) formed part of a chasing group that had also gone clear of the peloton.

John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) was hit by a mechanical on the descent, making his frustration evident.

Trentin attacked 2km out as the race hit the flat run to the line, with Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) closing down the gap.

Alaphilippe opened his sprint early and was able to pass Sagan who found himself boxed in.

Naesen was tied to Alaphilippe’s wheel but didn’t have the strength to come past, as Kwiatkowski gained quickly but had to settle for third.

The Frenchman crossed the line with his arms raised to win the first Monument of his career.

Results

Milan-San Remo 2019 (291km)

1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, in 6-40-14
2. Oliver Naesen (Bel) Ag2r La Mondiale
3. Michał Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky
4. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
5. Matej Mohorič (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
6. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
7. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar
9. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
10. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott, all at same time

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