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Michael Matthews with monumental sprint for 3rd at Milano-Sanremo

After a long awaited break the peloton descended on Milano for the start of the first Monument of the year: Milano-Sanremo. Featuring a change in route with more climbing in the middle of the day and a whopping 305 kilometres to cover, it was set to be a long and hot day in the saddle.

A flurry of attacks from the gun saw a few failed breakaway attempts before a group of seven was able to get clear within the opening ten kilometres. From there the riders settled into a smooth rhythm as the kilometres ticked by. Yet, the pace increased once again and the breakaway were ultimately caught as the race hit the coastline.

Heading towards the Cipressa there was a lot of action at the front of the race, with numerous attacks. Each time the escapees got a small gap before being brought back, with the peloton together as they hit the famous Poggio climb. A steady pace was set on the lower slopes before in Milano-Sanremo tradition, the final kilometre was taken at full speed, with Van Aert and Alaphilippe getting a gap over the bunch. Michael Matthews tried to follow on the inside but was forced against the wall, injuring his hand and shoulder in the process. Nevertheless, the Aussie dug in and continued to follow the wheels over the top of the climb, staying near the front of the chasing group.

Once off of the descent, Tiesj Benoot buried himself at the head of the peloton in an attempt to close the gap to the leaders, aiming to launch Matthews for the sprint but unfortunately the gap was just too big. Despite struggling to hold his handlebars due to his injury, Matthews produced a monumentally impressive kick which saw him close in on the leaders in the finale, winning the bunch sprint for a great third place on the line.


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