Mathieu van der Poel wins Milan-San Remo as Sam Bennett crashes out

Irish rider collided with road furniture with 33 kilometres to go in one-day race

Dutch rider Mathieu van der Poel emulated his late grandfather Raymond Poulidor in winning Milan-San Remo on Saturday with an attack close to the summit of the Poggio climb and then a lightning-fast descent to the finish.

The Alpecin-Deceuninck rider reached the line 15 seconds clear of Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers), Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and double Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar, who has already nine victories this season to his credit but who couldn’t quite establish a decisive gap on the Poggio.

Ireland’s Sam Bennett had bad luck in the race, colliding with road furniture with 33 kilometres to go and ending up sprawled on the ground and out of contention. While he was not badly injured the fall left him sore and bruised, and came at a time the bunch was going close to flat out prior to a series of key climbs.

Bennett had hoped that he would make it over the climbs inside the final 30 kilometres close to the front and that he could then draw on his sprint to notch up a strong result. A searing attack by Pogačar on the Poggio ended the dreams of the sprint specialists in the race, but finishing in one of the first two chase groups behind the leading four might otherwise have been possible.


However, aches aside, the timing of the crash meant he had no chance of rejoining the bunch. He withdrew from the event but was able to remount and ride towards San Remo and the team bus. Fortunately he didn’t feel major discomfort. “He has some back pain but seems to be okay,” said a Bora-hansgrohe spokesman. “But we have to see how he feels tomorrow.”

Bennett was scheduled to ride the Classic Brugge-De Panne WorldTour race on Wednesday. For now that will remain on his programme, with a final decision to be made based on how he is feeling. “Nobody can say now if this affects De Panne,” said the team spokesman.

Meanwhile, Megan Armitage shrugged off her crash on Friday when she finished in the main bunch on Saturday’s second stage of the Tour de Normandie Féminin in France. The stage was won by solo attacker Cédrine Kerbaol (Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling). Armitage was part of a large main bunch racing for second place eight seconds back.

The 2.1-ranked event concludes on Sunday with an undulating 114 kilometre race to Caen.

Armitage will be frustrated by her crash on Friday as she started the race on a high after netting the final stage plus the general classification in the Vuelta Extremadura Féminas in Spain last Sunday.

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes is a contributor to The Irish Times writing about cycling