The longest race in the WorldTour calendar is also one of the most unpredictable and Sunday’s Milan-San Remo did not disappoint. It brought out the best in some tweeters and the worst in others, well, one. Therefore, I have now declared this an Oleg-free zone. While there may be a reply to a tweet of his, he himself is not in this column. I think it’s time we disembark from the Tinkov crazy train.
Pre-race poses and predictions
Blimey, Cav goes all cultural on us!
Degs on his final training run, looking relaxed and happy.
Matteo Bono, who would be the last man standing – or riding – from an 11-man breakaway during the race, tells it like it is. (I think he’s selling himself short here.)
The jerseys, the good luck charms (that little puppy is gonna cause all kinds of drag, Fabs), the numbers.
The fan – no, he doesn’t have some strange bobble-thingy coming out of his head, it just looks that way. He does have some bobble-thingy glasses on, though.
The predictions! There was a lot of talk but just a few people naming the eventual winner. I’d actually had a dream about the Mighty Degs the night before – if only I’d put money on it, I’d be rich, rich beyond my wildest dreams now!
If you look closely, you can see that Gazzetta puts Vincenzo Nibali in the mix at a three-star, the same as Michael Matthews and Greg van Avermaet. One of those made the podium and another animated the race with attacks up until the end. Neither of these were Italian. We only saw him off the back, didn’t we? Maybe he was in disguise, trying to outfox the tax officials (more on that later).
The start pictures – raindrops and kisses.
“I must break you” – and Luca certainly did break a few people on Sunday. An unbelievable powerhouse.
So loving that rainbow gilet. So so cool.
What the race winner takes home.
The race, complete with bananas and striptease
It was a long day in the saddle – one that required bananas in team colours and the constant putting on and taking off of gilets, capes and leg/arm warmers.
Panache’s second tweet in this string is incredibly funny – and so saucy!
And then the obligatory “what the hell are Sky doing?” string of tweets.
The win! As Neal Rogers says in this string of tweets, make no mistake – John Degenkolb is one bad-ass rider. Yeah baby!
For some reason which escapes our understanding, British Eurosport doesn’t show the podiums any more. In a one-day race of this magnitude, you couldn’t not cut to Arctic Shoot and Ski malarkey and show the winner getting his podium kisses? Really? Home of Cycling, my ass. I am furious – I want to see the winner cry! I want to cry with the winner! I want to see that it means something. Okay, rant over. Here a bunch of pictures, some with tears, some with smiles. Most with lipstick.
The aftermath – the tantrums, the bruises, the tax man
There were some nasty, nasty crashes in this race. A couple of guys hit the wall (see Chris Juul-Jensen‘s face!) and some hit PhilGil once he spilled.
The rainbow jersey was sullied and the helmet was a write-off as KwiatKrush hit the deck in the PhilGil crash.
Getting a going-over by a WorldTour race.
An anti-rain rider. I think Paul Martens has been dipping into the Fabianese phrasebook.
One thing is for sure, Luca Paolini is one beast of a rider. Pep talk followed by pulling Kristoff to the line.
So, without explanation, bikes from Etixx and Trek were confiscated immediately after the race – for what? To check weight? To check the paint job? To check for motors? Remember what Fabs said after the Roubaix-engine shenanigans “I am the motor!” (It was announced on Monday that, no, there was nothing untoward about any of the bikes.)
The real reason we didn’t see Nibali in the race? (He had paid a hefty fine to keep himself out of jail for a tax, um, problem.)
I WON! The Instagrams from the man of the hour …
Congratulations to the Eisels on the arrival of their daughter. (Kind of hoping that the baby will make it clear that he needs to shave.)
Fabs cover. I’d know that leg anywhere.
Chickens on bikes!
A forlorn Dan Lloyd after stealing whisky from the giant’s liquor cabinet.
And Mick Jagger seems to have gone back to taking pictures of himself in deserted locations.
The last word