Il norvegese Alexander KRISTOFF vince la MILANO SANREMO 2014 © Photo La Presse
Katusha earns historical victory at Milano – Sanremo
23 MAR 2014 - Today the first Russian team Katusha achieved a great historical success – Katusha’s rider Alexander Kristoff, with incredible support of his teammates, took the monumental victory at the famous classic Milano – Sanremo in Italy.
- Getting today’s success, Katusha Team proved to the whole world’s peloton that the team can get the victories at the biggest international level. During the last 5 years the Katusha Team noted a number of great achievements, and today’s victory is new bright page in Katusha’s history. It was a very beautiful victory. I congratulate the entire team and the whole Russian cycling for this amazing success! – said the founder of Katusha Team, the president of ITERA International Group of Companies, Igor Makarov.
After 294 km of racing and tremendous work from every rider of Katusha Team, Alexander Kristoff could find an ideal position for the final and won in the massive sprint ahead of all rivals.
- The team did incredible work. Katusha was absolutely amazing during the entire race - each of my teammates was great. Luca Paolini helped me a lot in the final to get a good position for the sprint. It was a very difficult and unpredictable sprint. A sprint after 300 km is different from one after 200 km. Normally I don’t lose much power even on a long stage. I saw Cavendish, who started his sprint, so I started mine, too. For the last 150 meters I had super power and was able to hold the others off. I was super happy when I saw I’d taken the win. It was the best moment in my life. Right now I’m enjoying this moment and I’m super happy. It’s the highlight of my career, - explained Alexander Kristoff.
Katusha’s riders helped and supported their leader during the whole race. With more or less 50 km to go, Pavel Brutt and Aliaksandr Kuchynski went in front of the peloton to lead it in chasing the breakaway of the day (7 riders from the beginning of the race and 4 riders at that moment). The advantage of the break began coming down and as the Cipressa climb started, it was almost caught. In that moment it was Vincenzo Nibali from Astana who attacked. The Italian rider stayed in front of the race until the beginning of the final climb on the Poggio di Sanremo, when the peloton caught him. At the Poggio and then on the descent Luca Paolini went in front to control the situation for Alexander Kristoff. With 1,5 km to go, Luca took Alex on his wheel and brought him to the front. With 500 meters to go the bunch sprint was opened up and Katusha’s rider became the winner of Milano – Sanremo 2014. Taking second and third place were Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) and Ben Swift of Sky.
- Alexander is a real warrior. He is always motivated and he never complains. He always does his job properly. And he really deserved a win like this, as well as the whole Katusha Team. We were motivated today to fight for the good result. Did we think about the victory? Why not? We had a strong team and a strong leader. I saw some tough moments on the Poggio, but then I saw Paolini taking care of Kristoff on the flats and I figured it was today or never for a big win. This victory is especially important for our team and Russian cycling. Kristoff is not a Russian rider but our team is a Russian team and this victory brings a great motivation for our youth. Taking such a victory, Katusha confirms the status of the first Russian professional team and this is the most important thing, - said general manager of Katusha Team, Viacheslav Ekimov.
Today’s victory at Milano – Sanremo is the second monumental classics victory of Katusha Team after two wins from Joaquim Rodriguez at Il Lombardia in 2012 and 2013.
After Milano – Sanremo, Katusha Team moved up to 8th place in the UCI WorldTour team’s
CANCELLARA SPRINTS TO SECOND IN MILAN-SANREMO
23 MAR 2014 - “I am really tired, it was a race of survival. Many times during the race I was cold. I have to say a big thanks to the team, it was a great team effort, and everyone did his maximum today. With, or without, the Pompeiana it was still hard. But in the end it was a sprinter’s race after all, so I guess in that way I made a good result.
“It was hard because it was a race where you had to be patient - to wait and wait. Maybe it was a little bit boring because of that. Today was not Flanders or Roubaix. I thought maybe I should go on the top of Poggio but there were too many riders that looked fresh, so I did not make a move. Same after the descent, there was no moment to go, so the best plan was to wait for a sprint. The sprint was the only solution of today.
“Of course I want to win, and not be second, or someplace on the podium like the last four years. But it was special circumstances again, lots of cold and rain and it was not difficult other than the weather to get to the end. But I am happy when I look at how I finished against the big sprinters. The sprint at the end, I played it the best I could: I used my ‘non-sprinter’ skills to finish well. Kristoff was just too far away at the end.
“The condition I have to say is definitely here. Now I want to go and take a hot shower and wash my eyes really well because I cannot see out of one of them.”
La foto del podio 2014 © Photo La Presse Gerard Ciolek primo, davanti a Peter Sagan e David Cancellara