The 105th edition of Primavera ended with a premiere. Norwegian Olympic bronze medalist Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) had the best legs after 294 kilometers and became the first Norwegian in the history of the race to secure victory. The Swiss Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) finished second. Again, one might almost say, Milan-San Remo is increasingly becoming his personal nemesis. Third was the Briton Ben Swift (Sky).
As a year ago, when snowfall determined the race, the drivers had to contend with adverse conditions this time as well. Heavy rains and low temperatures demanded everything from them.
Accordingly, the first attacks took place immediately after take-off. As at the World Championships in Tuscany last fall, it was the Czech Jan Barta from the German team NetApp-Endura who tried to defy the weather. Maarten Tjallingii (Belkin) hurried along with him. David Millar (Garmin-Sharp) also wanted to be in the group of the day. However, his attack was stopped from the field. However, the Scot's teammate, Nathan Haas, had more success. Later, when Matteo Bono (Lampre Merida), Nicola Boem (Bardiani-CSF), Antonio Parrinello (Androni Giocattoli) and Marc de Maar (UnitedHealthCare) joined the leaders, the group was perfect.
Together they managed to get a maximum lead of more than 25 minutes over the peloton. However, at the Turchino Pass, which was about halfway through the race, the lead began to shrink. As a result, the group disintegrated continuously. At the Cipressa, the penultimate climb of the day, with XNUMX kilometers to go, only De Maar and Tjalingii were left trying to defend a lead of almost two minutes.
However, they had not reckoned with Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). The reigning Giro winner broke away from the field about halfway down the climb and caught up with the two leaders on the descent. Here he showed his full strength. By the time he reached Poggio, he had not only taken the lead, but also had a 40-second lead over the remaining field around favorites Peter Sagan (Cannondale), John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) and Cancellara. In addition to this trio, André Greipel (Lotto Belisol), Philippe Gilbert and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Swift and last year's winner Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka) were also represented by other strong drivers who were interested in bringing Nibali back.
The consequence of this constellation was that a larger group with all the favorites went to the last few kilometers. Here it was Gilbert who wanted to pave the way for his teammate Van Avermaet to attack. However, this failed due to a technical defect from which Luca Paolini (Katusha) and Kristoff benefited.
In a very good position, it was the Norwegian who opened the sprint and in the end simply had the most power reserves. Cancellara was visibly upset with his second place, while Ciolek could have done better if José Lobato and Swift hadn't slotted him in at the end. This resulted in a still strong ninth place for the man from Cologne. Sagan finished tenth.
1. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) 6:55:56
2. Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) 0:00:00
3. Ben Swift (Sky) 0:00:00
4. Juan Jose Lobato (Movistar) 0:00:00
5. Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) 0:00:00