Milan - San Remo Rider Comments
After race comments from the riders, the winner Pippo Pozzato, Allesandro Ballan,
Ale-Jet and Luca Paolini.
Ballan attacks on the Poggio. photo courtesy Lampre/Fondital
After he crossed the line, Pippo Pozzato had a quite hard time realizing
what he had accomplished. But then he came up with such words, "I'm very
pleased. It's the best moment in my career. This is the race I've always wanted
to win. I came here well aware of my form, and of the good work I had done. I've
got many fans here, several people rooting for me, and I'm very glad I could pay
them back with such a victory".
Pippo and Boonen Celebrate at the line photo c.
And talking of the helluva teamwork they did today, "Tom (Boonen) is a great
rider, but also a great man. He raced well, and told me to hang on, 'cause he
wasn't the only team leader there. There was me too. And Paolo (Bettini) did an
equally wonderful job. When you have two guys like these, a World Champion and
an Olympic Champion, helping a simple rider like myself, well, that's just
photo c. Fotoreporter Serotti
Minutes later, speaking of the race while sitting comfortably in front of the
RAI cameras, the winner said that "First I was working for Tom, setting quite a
fast pace on the Cipressa. Later, on the Poggio, I followed Ballan when he
attacked. He made a great move by breaking away like that after so many
kilometres, he showed he still had great legs. Too bad that I couldn't help him.
I wished I could, because I'm not the wheel-sucking type, but with Bettini and
Boonen in the peloton, I was obviously told to just follow the wheels of Ballan".
And in the last kilometer "I launched my attack. It was an early move. maybe too
early, as I almost ran out of steam in the final metres. But still I could hold
off the peloton, and I did get the best win I could ask for. And only at the age
of 24. I have often been criticized in the past, but today I showed that I'm not
all mouth, that if my legs are okay, I can do some good things".
photo c. Fotoreporter Serotti
On with some bittersweet words from the other "star" of the Poggio, Lampre
revelation Alessandro Ballan, "(on the Poggio) it looked like everyone
was just waiting for the bunch sprint, so I had a go at breaking away.
Unfortunately I found some help from Astarloa only, as with Boonen in his team
roster, Pozzato just couldn't do that much. That's a pity, as I think I could
get a good result today. But I'm happy anyway; and now I hope that I may keep
this good condition into the upcoming Classics of the North".
Bittersweet (but not much sweet ...) comments from the man who can be regarded
as the big loser of the day, Alessandro Petacchi, "I'm going fast in this
period, even faster than the past year, and my legs were okay today. But if you
want to win this race, you need both a good condition and a bit of luck. My
teammates have done a good job, and I have to thank them. They took over the
chase since the break went away early in the race, and rightly so because as I
was the winner last year, the burden was on our shoulders. But Quick Step's
moves messed things up. We should have saved guys like Sacchi and Zabel for the
final sprint, but with Trenti on the attack first, and Pozzato later, they were
forced to work hard earlier instead."
Podium: Luca Paolini, Filippo Pozzato, Alessandro Petacchi
Photo c. Fotoreporter Serotti
The other Italian stealing the show today, and having some bittersweet comments,
was Luca Paolini: the Lombard, a former teamate of Paolo Bettini, now
racing with the Liquigas outfit, snatched a podium spot at the line, but also
added a third place finish to his collection (including a similar result at the
2004 Worlds in Verona), "I'm satisfied with my result, because I showed that I'm
still a contender, that I can have something to say. I got this umpteenth third
place result, but this makes me even more motivated to hold on and keep going,
perhaps victory will come sooner or later".
Speaking of Liquigas' MSR performance, he said that: "we were there to give the
sprinters a hard time, we tried with Garzelli first, then it was my turn. I've
always been confident in my chances, and in the end I got this podium place. Not
a bad thing, even if the fact that Boonen launched his sprint early, and
especially his celebrations over the line, were definitely of help to me ...".
The beautiful attack of an irresistible Ballan on Poggio that changed
the race course, the 5th place obtained by Danilo Napolitano, the great work by
all the team: this was Lampre-Fondital's 97th Milano-Sanremo, a race lived as
protagonist team with the only missing of the victory.
The winner was Filippo Pozzato (Quick Step-Innergetic): he marked Ballan
during the great action on Poggio and then was skillful in catching the right
moment at 300 mts left to produce the winning action.
Ballan was very good: his action on Poggio was the best action of the day but
it wasn't enough to bring to Alessandro (8th at the end) a victory that would
have been deserved.
Also good race for the other Lampre-Fondital's cyclists: Danilo Napolitano
showed that he can be effective on long distances and on climbs, obtaining a
good 5th final placement; Matteo Carrara always raced in the heat of the race
and arrived at the finish line in 10th position; all Lampre-Fondital's other
cyclists worked with accuracy and authority, preparing Ballan's attack
No one was able to keep up with Team CSC's Fränk Schleck on the legendary Poggio
climb shortly before finish in Saturday's ProTour classic Milano-Sanremo, but on
the descent a few riders did make contact with Schleck and Filippo Pozzato of
Quick Step managed as the only one to keep the pursuing peloton behind him all
the way to the finish line.
Fränk Schleck, "I rode my chance today and even
though I didn't win or even make the podium I'm still satisfied with my
performance. It's a big race filled with traditions and it's a great feeling to
be sitting up front at the end thinking that victory might be within reach. I
got lots of support from the team along the way and I could feel I had the legs
for it. It was very close at the end, and the whole time we could feel the
sprinters breathing down our necks. Escaping was hard work with only a few
climbs, but I did absolutely everything I possibly could to make a difference
out there today,” said Fränk Schleck after the race, where Alessandro Petacchi (Milram)
and Luca Paolini (Liquigas) occupied the two remaining podium spots after
Bjarne Riis: ”Fränk did brilliantly and
it was great to see him go solo on Poggio like that. It's been a long time since
anyone's managed to escape there. He was definitely one of the big riders out
there today. We took control of the race because there was no reason to sit
around waiting for a bunch sprint to happen. It could easily have been a big
result and we did at least manage to influence the race,” said Bjarne Riis
following the race, where Fränk Schleck was best for Team CSC in 20th place.