Mathieu van der Poel celebrates as he crosses the finish line

Dutch cyclist Mathieu van der Poel won the prestigious Milan-San Remo 62 years after his grandfather with a late solo attack.

The 28-year-old broke away on the Poggio di San Remo summit with little more than five kilometres remaining.

Italy’s Filippo Ganna was second, 15 seconds back, pipping third-place Wout van Aert and Tadej Pogacar to the line.

Van der Poel’s maternal grandfather, French cyclist Raymond Poulidor, won the one-day Monument race in 1961.

“I cannot imagine a better scenario than this one,” said the Alpecin-Deceuninck rider, who becomes the first Dutchman to win Milan San-Remo in almost 40 years.

“This is one of the races I really wanted to win. The way I won it today, it’s beyond expectation. I’m really happy with this one.”

Poulidor, who finished on the podium of the Tour de France eight times without ever winning the yellow jersey, died in 2019 at the age of 83.

“I heard Milan-San Remo was the only Monument he won – it’s nice to win the same one,” said Van der Poel.

“This race doesn’t offer many chances. Great champions have never won here. I’m proud to have done it.”

Hennie Kuiper was the last rider from the Netherlands to win the race in 1985.

France’s two-time world champion Julian Alaphilippe was involved in a crash midway through the race during the descent of the Passo del Turchino, changing his bike before rejoining the peloton.

Van der Poel raised his arms in celebration as he approached the finish line, stopping the clock in six hours, 25 minutes 23 seconds.

“It wasn’t as hard as previous years but I already felt my legs were really fresh,” he said. “I knew I wanted to place an attack at the end of the Poggio.”

The 294km Milan-San Remo is one of five prestigious ‘Monument’ one-day races in cycling along with the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Giro di Lombardia.

Van der Poel has twice won the Tour of Flanders, in 2020 and 2022.

Britain’s Tom Pidcock – who won the Strade Bianche classic last month – missed the race after suffering a concussion in Sunday’s final stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico.

Mark Cavendish was the last British rider to win Milan-San Remo, for Colombia-HTC in 2009.

Milan-San Remo result

1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned/Alpecin-Deceuninck) 6hrs 25mins 23secs

2. Filippo Ganna (Ita/Ineos Grenadiers) +15secs

3. Wout van Aert (Bel/Jumbo-Visma) same time

4. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates)

5. Soren Kragh Andersen (Den/Alpecin-Deceuninck) +26secs

6. Mads Pedersen (Den/Trek-Segafredo) same time

7. Neilson Powless (US/EF Education-EasyPost)

8. Matej Mohoric (Slo/Bahrain Victorious)

9. Anthony Turgis (Fra/TotalEnergies)

10. Jasper Stuyven (Bel/Trek-Segafredo)

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