Jasper Stuyven wins Milano-Sanremo and claims the biggest victory of his career
He was considered an outsider for victory. But he had a plan. He waited. For 297 kilometers, in fact. And then he jumped.
Jasper Stuyven timed his winning move perfectly, powering away from a group of favorites and fast finishers at the bottom of the Poggio. The favorites hesitated, eyeing each other out of the race, while Stuyven powered away to the biggest win of his career. It was a gutsy, beautiful move.
“I just knew I had to try, all or nothing. I prefer to do this than gamble for the sprint and finish in 5th or 10th place, so I prefer to go all-in. Most of the time it’s nothing; sometimes it’s all, and today it was all. It’s incredible. I don’t realize [what I’ve done] yet. I am just incredibly happy,” said Stuyven.
One rider managed to bridge to his wheel from the group. When Soren Kragh Andersen (Team DSM) came across, it actually helped Stuyven.
“In the last kilometer, I saw Soren was coming so I tried to recover a little bit before the chicane,” explained Stuyven. “That gave me 300 meters to recover a little bit and that was necessary. I was hoping he would pull through, and he did.”
With the group in a full-on desperate sprint behind him, Stuyven gave everything he had. “And then I started the sprint,” continued Stuyven. “I had nothing left in the legs, but it was enough.”
Stuyven even had time to throw his arms high, punching the air for the grandest finish line celebration of his career.
“To be honest, there were a lot of fast guys in the group at the bottom of the Poggio, and I had the instinct that I know if I can find the gap, it’s my strength that I can have a good finale. They were hesitating and I took a lot of speed in the last part of the downhill from the Poggio, and that was only instinct,” added Stuyven.
“I was not going to go to the line with all these fast guys because you never know what you get. I actually said to a friend of mine that I was going to go all-in – all or nothing. There was no one with a teammate and that was also in my advantage. It was nice to find the moment and immediately have the gap and then just empty the legs to the line.”