Milan-Sanremo 2022 : Matej Mohoric dares. Wins.

Milan-Sanremo 2022 , the first Monument of the year, a beautiful Italian day. Just shy of 300km, as we all know, the action doesn’t start until the peloton nears the Cipressa. But when the action did kick off with 30km to go, holy moly! The winner was Slovenian but definitely not the Slovenian everyone was sure was going to win. It was, in fact, a well-prepared, fearless Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious) who took the title with an audacious and at times violent descent of the Poggio. We’ll start there and work our way back to the key moments of the race.

Triple-dog dared

Talk about picking your moment! Matej Mohoric hung with the very select group of 30 who were left after the reckoning on the Cipressa until the top of the Poggio. While everyone was looking at tufted Tadej Pogacar and rivals Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel, Mohoric took his chance as they crested the climb and then it was one of the most terrifying descents to watch.

So if bouncing off stone walls, nearly riding into someone’s front room and bunny hopping over obstacles wasn’t exciting enough, Mohoric drops his chain when he was in the last kilometre but somehow (!) fixed it with hardly losing any speed to take the biggest race of his career.

Robbie McEwen said it best: it was ‘a daring and violent solo descent’.

Preparation rewarded!

Tractors on the road

Probably the most interesting thing that happened in the 270km prior to the Cipressa was the fact that Jumbo-Visma equivalent of QS’s Tractor, Jos Van Emden, rode on the front of the peloton for over 200km. Just him. He kept the break of eight on a tight leash the whole day.

Tractors come in all shapes and sizes and the Italian tractor (trattore, if you will) appeared in the form of Davide Formolo as the peloton took to the Cipressa. Riding for his teammate and pretty much everyone’s hands-down predicted winner of MSR, Tadej Pogacar, Formolo – with teeth gritted, eyes wild, and nose-strip firmly clamped on his schnoz – proceeded to whip the peloton down to the creme de la creme.

Out the back almost immediately was Ineos’s Tom Pidcock and Elia Viviani as well as any teammates of Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert, and Primoz Roglic. In no time, the peloton was down to about 20 riders, winnowed by Formolo’s blistering pace. Guys who did make the cut included Michael Matthews (Gerolsteiner Bike Exchange), Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies), Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and Soren Kragh Andersen (Team DSM).

Tufts of Power

With Baby Face Formolo making the selection, once on the Poggio, Tadej Pogacar made his move. Once, twice, three, four times he attacked, but Wout van Aert was on his wheel almost immediately, making sure Pog was not going to get his own way. Then in a surprise attacked, Soren Kragh took a flyer off the front, followed by Pog and getting a tiny gap on the binary stars of WvA/MvdP. Once over the top, Mohoric decided to take all the risks on the descent, all the way to the finish.

The chase was (kinda) on, but as they were nearing the flamme rouge, the chasing group lost motivation as they couldn’t get themselves organised. Which gave Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies) an opportunity to get away and test just how secure Mohoric’s chain was, but he couldn’t get the better of the Slovenian. He took second, 2sec behind Mohoric, and Mathieu van der Poel took the third step of the podium of his first race of the season.

For all you French speakers out there, this is how Turgis’s day went.

MvdP was disappointed that he wasn’t able to take the top step (saying something like ‘as I’m getting older’ and the guy isn’t even 30 yet) but he must be happy that he got through such a tough race and is back in the peloton this season.

Here are the full highlights

Soo the question for next year is this: what does a sprinter have to do to win MSR, because it looks like there are plenty of guys who are finding plenty of ways to winning the longest Monument.

Final results

1 Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious) 6:27:49

2 Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies) +0.02

3 Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) same time

4 Michael Matthews (Bike Exchange-Jayco) s/t

5 Tadej Pogacar (UAE Emirates) s/t

6 Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) s/t

7 Soren Kragh Andersen (Team DSM) s/t

8 Wout van Aert (Jumbo Visma) s/t

9 Jan Tratnik (Bahrain Victorious) +0.05

10 Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) +0:11

For full race review, go to cyclingnews 



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