Van der Poel emulates grandfather with Milan-San Remo win

Van der Poel emulates grandfather with Milan-San Remo win

Van der Poel emulates grandfather with Milan-San Remo win

Mathieu van der Poel won Milan-San Remo on March 18 to claim the first ‘Monument’ of the season and the race his grandfather Raymond Poulidor took 62 years ago.

Alpecin-Deceuninck rider Van der Poel won after surging clear on the final Poggio climb with an attack which left some of road cycling’s biggest stars, including two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar, trailing in his dust.

The Italian race was the only Monument Poulidor won in his career but Van der Poel cut an unemotional figure following the win, in stark contrast to the tears shed when claiming the Tour de France’s famed yellow jersey in 2021, something Poulidor never achieved.

“It’s nice to win the same [race] but in general it’s just really special to win San Remo,” he told reporters after the win.

“It’s probably the easiest Monument but most difficult to win and you don’t get a lot of chances.”

Van der Poel became the first Dutch winner since Hennie Kuiper in 1985 to win Milan-San Remo after also claiming the cyclocross world title for the fifth time last month.

It was Van der Poel’s third win in a Monument after the 2020 and 2022 editions of the Tour of Flanders and his second major one-day classic victory in Italy after Strade Bianche two years ago.

It came in a race which he has criticized for its length and long stretches of flat, largely uneventful riding over the 294 kilometers which makes it the longest race of the season.

“I love the last 100km. The problem is the 200km before,” he added.

“It’s a really difficult race to win. You don’t always win if you’re strongest, so that makes it really special to win.”

Van der Poel surged away from race favorite Pogacar, Wout van Aert and Filippo Ganna after the four riders had broken away on the Poggio.

He eventually finished around 15 seconds ahead of the chasing trio on via Roma after six hours, 25 minutes and 23 seconds of riding.