“Every year the same question,” pondered Peter Sagan when asked how he intended to win Milan-San Remo ahead of this year’s race, “but I haven’t won yet so I don’t know how to answer. Maybe I’m going to be smarter on the Poggio.”
You can understand Sagan’s eagerness to learn from the 2017 edition – last year’s race saw the world champion attack on the final climb, only to drag Michal Kwiatkowski and Julian Alaphilippe along with him and have the Pole beat him on the line.
So did he play it smarter in 2018? Well the bare statistics suggest not – Vincenzo Nibali won via a stunning solo break, and Sagan finished sixth.
And yet, could Bora-hansgrohe’s world champion have actually done himself more good in the long run as a result of his ride? Clearly he wanted to win in San Remo, but he also wanted to show there would be no more free tows to the line for his rivals either. Perhaps that was the smartest move he could make.
Here’s what else the first Monument of the season taught us ahead of the rest of the Spring Classics, which continue with E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem this week.