Neilson Powless finishes seventh at Milano-Sanremo
After a great team performance, the American came up just short on the Poggio
It might not show on the results sheet, but sports director Charly Wegelius said the 2023 Milano Sanremo was one of the best team performances he has ever seen from our squad.
Neilson Powless finished seventh in the first Monument of the season—a very solid result, though we were hoping for more. A moment’s hesitation cost Neilson the chance to try to go with the winning group at the top of the Poggio.
“Unfortunately the race got away from me before I knew it was going,” Neilson says. “Trentin opened up a gap slightly, so that Tadej could go. He did it so sneakily that I didn’t even realize the gap was opening. I don’t think anyone noticed till it was too big to close. As soon as there are ten meters, you have to push a lot of wind to close that. It is a shame. It is maybe just a lack of focus for me. Physically I had a really good ride on the Poggio. And I was looking for opportunities at the finish, but had to wait for the sprint. This is the first time I’ve raced the finale of Milan Sanremo, so hopefully I have learned something for next time. Today definitely gave me motivation for the upcoming classics. I had some power left in my legs, so I was pretty happy with that after such a long day.”
Neilson is not going to waste time wondering what might have been. He is already looking forward to his upcoming races. His next big goal is the Tour of Flanders. He will then turn his focus to the hilly classics in the Ardennes. Neilson is also excited to come back to Italy's spring Monument and play his cards better in the next showdown in the hills above Sanremo, because he and his teammates did everything right for 288 kilometers before that fateful split second on the Poggio’s last ramps.
“The guys did an amazing job in the last 30 or 40 kilometers, just keeping Magnus and me in position,” Neilson says. “Especially Alberto. He was pretty incredible coming into the Poggio. I think we were in the top five or six. That is pretty much the dream: being top five into the Poggio in Milano-Sanremo. It was amazing to be shepherded by him.”
By the end of yesterday's race, Magnus Cort didn’t quite have the legs that have brought him two victories so far this season.
“The last hundred kilometers were very intense,” Magnus says. “Especially in the lead up to the Cipressa and the Poggio. In the end, I was tired. I think everybody was, but the boys did a very, very nice job keeping me and Neilson out of the worst part of the stress. I was super happy for that. In the end, I was missing a little bit, but luckily we had Neilson up there in the mix to do a good result, but we can still hope for more next year. It is always hard when you are there, and the legs are not quite there, but the team rode really well. I’m a bit sorry that they did such a good job and I couldn’t really finish it off, but that is how it is sometimes.”
It is. We will learn from our mistakes, but our team's performance at Milano-Sanremo bodes very well for the rest of the classics.