Arnaud Démare claimed the biggest win of his career when the Frenchman sprinted to victory in the Milan-San Remo despite having crashed earlier in the 295km classic. The FDJ rider held off several big names in the final sweep into the Mediterranean resort, crossing the line ahead of Team Sky’s Ben Swift and the Belgian Jürgen Roelandts. Démare is the first French rider to win the opening monument of the season since Laurent Jalabert in 1995.
Coming off the final climb and with the peloton strung out, Sky’s Michal Kwiatkowsi burst into the lead and stayed out in front until the final two kilometres. The Pole was reeled in, though, by the Swiss veteran Fabian Cancellara before Démare powered through to win.
The Colombian Fernando Gaviria (Etixx-Quick Step) had looked in prime position to claim victory but crashed heavily and rolled across the line in tears. The world champion, Peter Sagan, was also in the mix but again failed to deliver a victory on one of the sport’s classics.
A landslide had caused the race to be rerouted, with the riders sent on to the A10 motorway, before it reverted to the usual route that hugs the Italian coast. Eleven riders formed a breakaway but Tinkoff and BMC drove the peloton which swallowed up the front-runners with 25km left.
The race was littered with crashes, one of which, with 30km remaining, took down Démare but he quickly recovered.