The longest race on the calendar, Milan Sanremo runs almost 300km from Milan down to the cost and towards France. The parcours aren’t particularly difficult, with only three small climbs of notability.
The Passo del Turchino comes over 130km into the race, just before the peloton begins to wind along the coast. Inside the last 30km, the relatively easy climbs the Cipressa and the Poggio will be raced extremely quickly, in the hope that some of the fast sprinters will fall off the back. The Poggio, which peaks with 6km to go, will be the last chance for classics style riders to get away and stay clear until the finish on the Via Roma.
The slowish pace of the peloton heading towards the cost allowed a 10 man breakaway to take a just under 5 minutes on the main group. A headwind along the coast brought the gap down, but the peloton not wanting to bring back the break so soon slowed their pace.
By the time the trio of Capo climbs came, Alexis Gougeard of AG2R attacked off the front in an attempt to join the early break. He was, however, shut down soon after. The breakaway dwindled, and were caught on the Cipressa. A counter attack went immediately after the Lativain Tom Skujins (Cannondale) was swept up to end the breakaway effort. A string of attacks ensued, with nothing more than tired teammates resulting from the efforts.
By the time the peloton hit the Poggio, Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) came to the front and pushed the pace incredibly hard. Sagan took over and attacked off the front as Dimplin tired out.Peter Sagan (Bora Hansgrohe) opened a gap over the peak, and was joined by Michal Kwiatkowski (SKY) and Julian Alaphilippe (Quickstep Floors) soon after. At the end of the decent, the trio had 20 seconds with 2km to go.
Inside the final km, the trio would stay way from the fast approaching peloton. Sagan led out the sprint with Kwiatkowski on his wheel. The 2014 World Champion edged out the 2015 and 2016 World Champion with a perfectly timed bike throw to win La Primavera. Five seconds back, Alexander Kristoff (Katusha Alpecin) led the peloton home ahead of Fernando Gaviria (Quickstep Floors), Arnaud Demare (FDJ), and John Degenkolb (Trek).
This is Kwiatkowski’s second win of the season, having previously won Strade Bianche two weeks ago. The win also marks Sky’s second monument win, with Wout Poels winning Liege-Bastinge-Liege last year.
The classics season will continue next Friday with E3 Harelbeke, a race won by Kwiatkowski last year ahead of Peter Sagan. The Volta a Catalunya starts on Monday., continuing the World Tour stage racing,