Pascal Ackermann missed out on his third success in the Bredene Koksijde Classic by a matter of centimetres. The rider from UAE Team Emirates was second, behind the winner Gerben Thijssen (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) and third place Sam Welsford (Team DSM).
The Emirati team had worked actively in the final part of the race, trying to tire the bunch by imposing a high pace in the peloton, and then setting a perfect lead-out train for Ackermann in order to launch the German athlete in the best way on the final straight.
Molano set up the perfect lead-out, with Ackermann on his wheel, and he launched his teammate towards the arrival, but the Belgian Thijssen succeeded in completing an impressive manoeuvre and overtook Ackermann in the very final meters of the race.
Ackermann said, “The team did a phenomenal job today, I’m disappointed I couldn’t finish it off but Thijssen was the fastest today. The team is riding really well, as we saw yesterday with Molano so I hope we can continue to take this good team spirit and high level into the next races.”
Tadej Pogacar put in a trademark attacking display to take 4th place at the first major one-day classic ‘Monument’ of the year, Milano-San Remo.
Despite a small tumble in the neutral zone, Pogacar quickly remounted and resumed the race with just a few scuffs and proceeded with the 294km to San Remo is sunny conditions.
The temperature rose on the entry to the penultimate climb of the day, La Cipressa, at -30km and it was over the crest of the climb that UAE Team Emirates took control of the front of the race.
With the breakaway of the day brought back, Tim Wellens launched a furious attack at -9km with Pogačar close on his wheel in the lower slopes of the Poggio.
Pogacar then made his move with Van Der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) responding with a counter-attack which left Pogačar chasing in an elite group of favourites including Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Filippo Ganna (Ineos-Grenadiers).
The chasing trio collaborated well but were unable to reel back Van Der Poel who took a solo victory, with Pogacar coming home in 4th place, one place more than his 5th spot in 2022.
Pogacar said, “No regrets today. I had one goal and that was to attack after Tim Wellens’ big effort on the Poggio. Him and the guys did a perfect job to set up the attack. I wasn’t strong enough to go solo and then Van Der Poel made his big attack and opened a big gap quickly. I was pretty dead by the finish. My result was the best I could do today. I have high hopes for the coming years at this race.”
1. Gerben Thijssen (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty)
2. Pascal Ackermann (UAE Team Emirates) s.t.
3. Sam Welsford (Team DSM) s.t.
Milano-San Remo results
1.Mathieu Van Der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 6:25:23
2.Filippo Ganna (Ineos-Grenadiers) +15”
3.Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) s.t
4.Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) s.t