Degenkolb wins Milan-San Remo race

Geraint Thomas’s brave effort to win the prestigious Milan-San Remo one-day race came to nothing as Germany’s John Degenkolb won a bunch sprint finish.

Britain’s Thomas, riding for Team Sky, opened a 20-second lead on the Poggio – the final climb of the day – but he was caught as he reached the summit.

Thomas stayed with the leaders on the 5.5km race to the end but the sprinters took control in the final kilometre.

Defending champion Alexander Kristoff led the sprint but Degenkolb edged it.

“Last year it was the biggest disappointment of my career,” said Degenkolb, who punctured late on in 2014’s race.

“This year I add my name to the list of prestigious winners, it’s the biggest win of my career.”

If the sprint finish on the Via Roma in San Remo was predictable, the efforts of Thomas were perhaps not.

He was part of a Team Sky trio, led by fellow Welshman Luke Rowe, who broke clear of the peloton with around 36km of the 293km race remaining.

Rowe and Thomas led Yorkshireman Ben Swift, who finished third in last year’s race, down a wet and treacherous descent and as other riders exercised caution, the Team Sky riders went clear.

However, they were caught, along with Italy’s Matteo Bono, the sole rider left from an earlier 11-man breakaway, on the climb of the Cipressa.

Several attacks followed as the puncheurs attempted to distance the sprinters but it was not until after the descent that gaps began to open as Daniel Oss rode clear with around 16km remaining.

He was tracked by Thomas, who had been pacing Swift, and the two quickly built a lead of 30 seconds.

However, as the peloton closed in on the Poggio, Thomas kicked again and reached the summit first but he was caught quickly as he started the technical descent.

Without the sprinting speed of a Kristoff or Degenkolb, he tried to keep the pace high on the front of the leading bunch, allowing his team-mate Swift to save energy for the final run-in.

Thomas was eventually passed as the riders went under the kilometre to go banner and Degenkolb won the frantic race for the line ahead of Norwegian Kristoff, with Australia’s Michael Matthew third.

Pre-race favourite Peter Sagan of Slovakia was fourth, while world champion Michal Kwiatkowski of Poland crashed on the descent of the Poggio.

Result:

1. John Degenkolb (Ger/Giant) 6hrs 46mins 16secs

2. Alexander Kristoff (Nor/Katusha) same time

3. Michael Matthews (Aus/Orica)

4. Peter Sagan (Svk/Tinkoff-Saxo)

5. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita/Lampre)

6. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra/Cofidis)

7. Fabian Cancellara (Swi/Trek)

8. Davide Cimolai (Ita/Lampre)

9. Tony Gallopin (Fra/Lotto)

10. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor/Team MTN)

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/32000305

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