Matthew Goss has won the 2011 Milan-San Remo in an exciting and surprising finish to the spring classic. Goss outsprinted Fabian Cancellara and Philippe Gilbert to claim the classics prize and the biggest win of the Australian’s career.
The finish was somewhat unconventional as the pace was not controlled by the teams of the big sprinters and the win was not contended by them either. Early on, on Le Manie, the weather influenced the outcome as rain caused numerous crashes and split the peloton in two large groups. In the front group was a healthy selection of sprinters – Tom Boonen, Alessandro Petacchi, Andre Greipel, Heinrich Haussler, Peter Sagan and Matthew Goss, who found his team leader, Mark Cavendish, delayed and in the chase group. The first group also contained a strong selection of rouleurs – Philippe Gilbert, Fabian Cancellara, Alessandro Ballan, Pippo Pozzato – and climbers – Vincenzo Nibali and Michele Scarponi. The chase group, however, contained numerous big favorites such as Oscar Freire, Tyler Farrar, Thor Hushovd and Mark Cavendish. As a result, the rouleurs in the front group knew that they had a good chance of breaking the sprinters with attacks on the Poggio, and of all the sprinters only Matthew Goss could hang on.
The first attacks came on the Poggio from Yoann Offredo and Greg Van Avermeat. Nibali and Gilbert soon followed and Cancellara had the power to bridge. Matt Goss, who climbs well for a big sprinter then only had to grit it out to have the win in the bag, as he was working solo instead of for Cavendish, and he was able to power past the speedy Gilbert, and outrun the powerhouse Cancellara, to take the line first. So a sprinter won the Milan-San Remo, which should come as no surprise, but how it happened made for a hell of a classic.
Milan-San Remo Top 20
1. Matthew Goss (HTC)__________6:51:10
2. Fabian Cancellara (Leopard)
3. Philippe Gilbert (Lotto)
4. Alessandro Ballan (BMC)
5. Filippo Pozzato (Katusha)
6. Michele Scarponi (Lampre)
7. Yoann Offredo (FDJ)
8. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas)_____+03″
9. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC)______+10″
10. Stuart O’Grady (Leopard)______+12″
11. Francisco Ventoso (Movistar)__+27″
12. Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre)
13. Daniele Bennati (Leopard)
14. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar)
15. Marco Marcato (VacanSoleil)
16. Dominique Rollin (FDJ)
17. Peter Sagan (Liquigas)
18. Heinrich Haussler (Garmin)
19. Alessandro Bertolini (Androni)
20. Sylvain Chavanel (Quickstep)