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Michal Kwiatkowski wins 2017 Milan-San Remo in a photo finish from Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan made the decisive move on the Poggio but couldn't take the sprint

Jack Elton-Walters
20 Mar 2017

Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) got the better of Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) at the last to take the win at Milan-San Remo.

It was the World Champion who made the key move of the day on the Poggio but the attack took its toll and he couldn't outsprint the Pole on the Via Roma.

Sagan's attack came after a lull in proceedings following a huge turn from Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb).

With the reduced pace the sprinters still in the lead group would have been readying themselves for what looked like an inevitable bunch kick to the line, but the Slvak had other ideas.

More devasting even than the attack that earnt Sagan the win at the 2016 Tour of Flanders, the 27-year-old put in his blistering attack and few of those left in the reduced peloton could do anything about it.

Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) and Kwiatkowski chased and eventually got on terms with Sagan but no one behind was able to come across.

Neither of Alaphilippe or Kwiatkowski was their team leader and both looked to be covering Sagan in the hope that it would all come back together for Fernando Gaviria and Elia Viviani, respectively.

When the gap went out to 17 seconds with 1.9km to go, both riders came through for a turn as team orders were adapted to the conditions on the road.

Even so, Sagan still found himself on the front with 1km left to the line - and with the peloton now in sight behind - and so was forced to lead out his rivals.

Alaphilippe looked to be out of the reckoning as the sprint opened up 250 metres from the line, but Kwiatkowski held the leading wheel and managed to come round at the last.

Sagan appeared to lunge early which may have cost him the victory, and he and the winner came together just over the line. Thankfully both stayed upright as Alaphilippe almost got on terms to take a close third place.

A long day at Milan-San Remo

Earlier in the 291km race, a 10-man breakaway went off up the road but only ever had an advantage of around four minutes.

With 45.7km left to the end of the race, Alexis Gougeard tried his luck with a move off the front of the peloton but couldn't get with 55 seconds of the break and was soon brought back.

At this stage the peloton was being boosed by the combined power of FDJ, Dimension Data and BMC Racing, all fancying the chances of their team leaders.

Not long after, and with 40km of racing to go, the breakaway started to splinter and the peloton picked off the former escapees steadily over the next 15km.

With the Cipressa coming into view it was Cofidis who took up the pace setting trying to drive into the foot of the potentially key climb.

Tom Boonen (Quick-Step Floors) did a big turn on the front in support of a teammate, the last time we may get to see him in a professional supporting role ahead of his retirement after Paris-Roubaix.

Nikias Arndt (Sunweb) took up duties at the front of the peloton and the pace put many of the sprinters, including Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) in trouble.

The 2009 winner had been near the frint of the peloton at the foot of the Cipressa, but that didn't prove to be enough slippage room as he went out the back.

Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) was one rider trying to go away, and moves included Luke Rowe (Team Sky), Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) and Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors).

Simon Geschke and Tom Dumoulin continued putting the hammer down on behalf of Sunweb, and the latter popped up again later to take the front for much of the Cipressa.

Teams tried to take control of the front but the speed reduced the peloton before the lull in pace that allowed Sagan to go away.

Milan-San Remo 2017: Result

1. Michal Kwiatskowski (Team Sky), 7-08-39
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), at same time
3. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors), st
4. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin), at 5 seconds
5. Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors), st
6. Arnaud Demare (FDJ), st
7. John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo), st
8. Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), st
9. Elia Viviani (Team Sky), st
10. Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott), st