SANREMO, Italy (Reuters) – Slovenian Matej Mohoric stunned the pre-race favourites to win the Milan-Sanremo Monument classic following a perfect attack on the last descent on Saturday.
The Bahrain Victorious rider was still in contention after Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar accelerated on the final Poggio climb and he surged ahead at the beginning of the downhill section leading to the Via Roma.
Mohoric, who won two Tour de France stages last year, rode at breakneck speed and took all the risks, almost crashing twice, but he looked back only some 50 metres from the line, when he had made sure he would not be caught.
France’s Anthony Turgis came home second after jumping away from the chasing pack, while Dutch Mathieu van der Poel, in his first road race of the season, took third place.
“I worked all winter for this, I knew it could be my day. I took risks in the descent,” said Mohoric after the 293 kilometres of the longest professional race of the season.
“I knew I could make a big difference in the descent.”
His fellow Slovenian Pogacar, who attacked relentlessly on the Poggio, ended up fifth while Belgian Wout van Aert, the other top favourite, was too passive and finished eighth.
Briton Tom Pidcock surprisingly dropped out before the real action started, while three-time world champion Peter Sagan suffered a mechanical fault at the worst moment — just before the Cipressa, the penultimate ascent of the day.
(Writing by Julien Pretot; Editing by Clare Fallon)