Belgian sprinter Jasper Philipsen wins Milan-San Remo

Milan-San Remo, the first great classic of the cycling season, generally resembles a long waiting race which suddenly gets carried away in the Poggio, the last climb, located 9 kilometers from the finish

Belgian sprinter Jasper Philipsen wins Milan-San Remo

Milan-San Remo, the first great classic of the cycling season, generally resembles a long waiting race which suddenly gets carried away in the Poggio, the last climb, located 9 kilometers from the finish. Saturday March 16, the 2024 edition was no exception to the rule. But this time, a few sprinters managed to follow the punchers on the final climb, which allowed the Belgian Jasper Philipsen to win in San Remo, ahead of the Australian Michael Matthews (Jayco AlUla) and the Slovenian Tadej Pogacar ( UAE Emirates).

Philipsen, 26, green jersey for the 2023 Tour de France, succeeds his teammate from the Alpecin-Deceuninck team Mathieu van der Poel, present in the final race and 10th at the finish.

Note the honorable 9th place of Julian Alaphilippe. The Frenchman, winner of the event in 2019, finished the race in contact with the best. He even participated in the sprint despite a flat tire in the last hectometers. Criticized for months by Patrick Lefevere, the boss of his team (Soudal-Quick Step), Alaphilippe thus provides a (sporting) response to the one who has several times publicly denounced his lack of involvement.

Pogacar on the attack

In the Cipressa, another hill located around 25 kilometers from the goal, Tadej Pogacar's UAE Emirates team aimed to reduce the number of contenders for final victory by imposing a high pace. At the foot of Poggio, there were only around thirty left competing for the outposts.

In the famous Poggio, Pogacar, who dreams of winning this 288 kilometer long event and which is one of the “Monuments” of cycling, went on the attack twice. First time at 3.7 kilometers, where the gradient is steepest (8%), then at the top of the climb, just before switching to the winding descent towards San Remo.

In both cases, the Dutch world champion Mathieu van der Poel was the quickest to follow the Slovenian, winner of the Tour de France in 2020 and 2021. But the two men, who were presented as the main favorites for the event, failed to avoid the return of a group mixing sprinters (Philipsen, Matthews and the Dane Mads Pedersen) and some formidable downhillers (the Briton Tom Pidcock and the Slovenian Matej Mohoric).

With all these beautiful people arriving grouped together in the final straight, the sprinters just had to launch into their favorite exercise: pushing as hard as possible on the pedals to cross the line at full speed. In this little game, Philipsen is often the strongest, the fastest. He demonstrated it once again by throwing his bike over the line, which allowed him to beat Michael Matthews by a few centimeters. By getting involved in this final battle, Pogacar inherits third place.

This is Philipsen’s first victory in a Monument. It is also the first success of a sprinter in Milan-San Remo since the Frenchman Arnaud Démare, in 2016.