The first monument of the season is the epic 293 km race from Milan to San Remo. The 2015 edition was won by John Degenkolb of the Giant-Alpecin team in a time of 6 hours and 46 minutes.
For Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung; Edvald Boasson Hagen finished in 10th position. 2013 winner, Gerald Ciolek, was in contention and looking strong prior to an unfortunate crash on the descent of the Poggio – less than 5 km from home. Both these riders rode intelligently to conserve energy through the race. In start contrast, their teammate, Serge Pauwels, went on the attack to allow his team leaders the opportunity to contest the finale.
Immediately as the flag dropped to signal the start of the race Serge worked hard to make the break. For the first 6 minutes he averaged 383 watts, and 51.6 kph covering 5.1km and the breakaway was formed with eleven other riders. The race was a battle of attrition for the breakaway group, with the road rising gradually over the summit of the Passo del Turchino at 143 km and then onto the coast and towards Sanremo.
With the peloton closing in, the breakaway group pushed the pace over the Capo Berta with around 40 km to the finish. This climb rises at 6% to gain 107 meters over it’s 1.6 km. Despite having ridden for over 250 km, Serge takes just 3 mins and 47 seconds to reach the top, placing him in 15th position on the Strava segment. Another MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung rider, Gerald Ciolek, took the “King of the Mountains” in the chasing peloton, with a time of 3 minutes and 32 seconds. Ciolek went on to post the fastest times for both the Cipressa and Poggio before his untimely crash – showing his form, as well as exceptional climbing ability for a rider noted for his sprinting.
With roughly 270 km completed, the break was finally caught by the peloton and Serge’s job was done for the day. Serge was out front for 6 hours and 20 mins, covering 267 km at an average power of 247 watts, and a speed of 42 kph. He expended 5600 kJ of energy, equivalent to approximately twelve Big Macs.
Serge will be talking about his Milan Sanremo effort on Friday 17 April at the Valk Hotel in Maastricht at 18:30. Make sure to come on through to meet Serge and learn more about ROTOR INpower.