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Here’s what the top riders said after Saturday’s thrilling edition of Milan-San Remo.
Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck), 1st
On coming out of Tirreno-Adriatico:
“A special win in a special race. It’s so difficult to win here. I wasn’t hiding at Tirreno-Adriatico, I just wasn’t on my best level. We had a great week of training with all the team, they did a great job for me. It’s amazing, we will celebrate for sure.
“I cannot imagine a better scenario than this one. I already told the team on the Cipressa it was a headwind, but I already felt my legs were really fresh. I knew I wanted to attack at the end of the Poggio, and I got a small gap. This is one the races I really wanted to win. The way I won it today is beyond expectation. I am really happy with this one.”
Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), 3rd
On his podium ride:
“I have to be satisfied. I have no regrets about how the race went. Mathieu showed everyone he was super strong and he did the right move at the right time, so congrats to him. It was very fast. We kept the breakaway close, and it was high-speed all day. It was maybe easier on Cipressa than expected. There was more headwind than everyone thought.
“We went with a big group to the Poggio. It was a nice group in the front. I was in the company of some really strong guys. We raced to win, and that’s what Mathieu did. He was super strong.”
Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious), 8th
The defending champion on the Poggio attack:
“UAE attacked halfway up the climb and we expected that. I thought I had the legs but when Pogacar went I could not follow. I stayed with Mads Pedersen and Søren Kragh Andersen, but we did not have the legs to follow the four best riders. The wind was different, it was harder to sit on the wind with the headwind.
“My preparation was similar to last year’s San Remo, but this year, the circumstances were not in my favor.”
Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin Deceuninck)
On team tactics:
“I knew Mathieu [Van der Poel] needed Tirreno to get the best legs. I think we saw today how he was on the bike and how motivated he was. He was looking strong but you still have to do it, too. When the gap happened on the Poggio I knew they were gone. We had Søren [Kragh Andersen] and Mathieu there, so it was the perfect situation.”
Andrej Hauptman, sport director UAE Team Emirates
On role of team:
“Our tactic was to make it really hard from the Cipressa on, and we were not really in the position at the start of the Cipressa. Felix did a great job to get Tadej to the front, and then Matteo on the descent. On the Poggio, we made our plan, with Tim and then Tadej making a really strong attack. What happened is that we found today a very strong Mathieu. Chapeaux. We stayed to our plan, and I think we did our best today.”