Oscar Friere snaffles his second Primavera
Paolo Bettini leads Alessandro Ballan on the descent of the Poggio
Davis, Friere, Boonen; unpredictable or what?
Gilbert and Ricco barrel down the Poggio

The 100th anniversary edition of Milan-San Remo produced a classic race, with la Primavera proving as difficult to predict as ever. Multiple attacks from the start kept the pace above 46kph for the first two hours despite a headwind. By the top of the Turchino Pass, a break of six had built lead of more than seven minutes, which was down to three minutes at Laigueglia on the Ligurian coast thanks to a chase set up by strong teams such as Rabobank, Quickstep and Milram. Numerous crashes had already decimated the peloton, and there were more to come. World champion Paolo Bettini was delayed behind one and had to chase hard to regain the peloton, which caught the remains of the break at the foot of the Cipressa. Franco Pellizotti and Yaroslav Popovych created a small gap over the Cipressa, but were caught just after the foot of the Poggio. Philippe Gilbert and Riccardo Ricco escaped over the top of the Poggio, but were swallowed up by the sprinters’ trains of Lampre and Milram as the race reached the outskirts of San Remo. Milram gave Alessandro Petacchi a superb leadout, but Rabobank’s Oscar Friere, who had been active on the climb of the Poggio, came off the Italian’s wheel to score a convincing win to go with his 2004 victory.

1 Oscar Freire, Rabobank (Spa)

2 Allan Davis, Discovery Channel (Aus)

3 Tom Boonen, Quickstep (Bel)

4 Robbie McEwen, Predictor-Lotto (Aus)

5 Stuart O'Grady, Team CSC (Aus)

6 Erik Zabel, Milram (Ger)

7 Gabriele Balducci, Acqua & Sapone (Ita)

8 Alessandro Petacchi, Milram (Ita)

9 Vicente Reynes, Caisse d'Epargne (Spa)

10 Robert Hunter, Barloworld (RSA)

17 Jeremy Hunt, Unibet.com

42 Roger Hammond, T-Mobile

64 Steve Cummings, Discovery Channel

71 David Millar, Saunier Duval-Prodir

pictures by Fotoreporter Sirotti