In the lead-up to Saturday’s Milan-San Remo, our very own Dane Cash wrote that Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) was “yet to show top form on the road in 2023”. He was right – 15th at Strade Bianche (a race he previously won) and a best of 13th in Tirreno-Adriatico stages (where he’s previously won multiple stages) hardly spoke of a man in top form. And yet, when it comes to Mathieu van der Poel, it’s hard to put too much stock in what’s come before.
The Dutchman said on Saturday evening that he knew he wasn’t at his best at Tirreno-Adriatico and that he needed a few race days to get to his “best level”. Turns out, that plan worked perfectly – at Milan-San Remo, his “best level” was enough to get into an incredibly powerful lead group on the decisive Poggio climb, then burst away from that group just before the top.
Just look at Van der Poel go, bursting away from a two-time Tour de France champion, a two-time world time trial champion, and the sport’s best all-rounder:
Van der Poel led over the top of the Poggio then sailed back down to the coast alone to win his first Milan-San Remo. It was a masterful performance from a man whose career is defined by such performances. A win that comes 62 years after his grandfather, Raymond Poulidor, also won solo into San Remo.
With that, let’s take a look back at Saturday’s 114th edition of Milan-San Remo courtesy of some wonderful photos from Belgian photographer Kristof Ramon.
As a little bonus to finish up with, here’s the most entertaining image to come out of the whole race …