After all the bike-porn hoo ha surrounding the launch of the Specialized-McLaren Venge last week (see our comprehensive post here), the light, aero road frame proved itself at the first opportunity.
Between the highly capable legs of HTC-Highroad’s Matthew Goss, it was the first bike over the line at the season’s opening monument, the Milan-Sanremo, on Saturday.
At 298km, La Primavera is the longest race in the pro calendar and, since it was moved from the same day as the Tour of Flanders (almost 50 years ago), is the first meaningful target for the peloton’s big dogs.
This year’s edition was blisteringly fast. A crash 90km from the line split the peloton in two, leaving the likes of Thor Hushovd, Tyler Farrar, Mark Cavendish and last year’s winner, Oscar Freire, stuck in a second group that, chase as it may, did not make up a two-minute deficit on the front bunch. Only Lampre’s Michele Scarponi could make the jump.
In a frantic final few kilometres, FdJ’s Yoann Offredo and Steve Chainel steamed clear, pulling BMC’s Greg Van Avermaert and Leopard-Trek’s Stewart O’Grady with them. But the quartet couldn’t maintain its 30-second advantage, and was caught by Scarponi, Philippe Gilbert, Fabian Cancellara and Goss, to set up a menacing finish.
In the midst of it all, Goss stayed calm, keeping his powder dry over the Poggio and letting his adversaries wear each other out with their attacks. And, in the final straight, he proved his legs were fresher than Cancellara’s, beating the Swiss into second place.
Photo peeped on WeilerRevue’s Facebook page.