Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel has secured the first major spring classic of the cycling season. At the 114th edition of Milan-Sanremo, the 28-year-old from the Alpecin-Deceuninck team prevailed solo after 294 kilometres. Two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar from Slovenia had to settle for fourth place. Second place went to Filippo Ganna (Italy) ahead of Belgian Wout van Aert.

Pogacar attacked on the last toxic climb of the day, the Poggio di Sanremo, but was unable to pull away from his closest rivals. About five kilometres before the finish, Cross Country World Champion van der Poel fought back in the downhill and could not be overtaken by his three prominent pursuers after his irresistible start.

Thus, 62 years after the triumph of his grandfather Raymond Poulidor, the classics specialist also achieved a victory at Milan-Sanremo.

The first of the five "monuments" of cycling had begun more than six hours earlier in the best conditions in Milan. On the largely flat terrain, no group managed to pull away decisively for a long time.

The German champion Nils Politt tried his salvation in the solo escape about 17 kilometers before the finish, but was swallowed up by the field a little later and could not intervene decisively in the final.