Wout van Aert’s (Jumbo Visma) success in the restarted season’s one-day races is something to marvel.
With a victory at the 2020 Strade Bianche, third at Milano-Torino, and now a stunning victory in the 2020 Milan-San Remo “monument” one-day classic, the three-time cyclocross world champ looks unstoppable.
Van Aert chased down an attacking former cyclocross Worlds medalist Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck–Quick-Step) on the Poggio, the final climb with a summit 7km from the finish. After reconnecting on the descent, Van Aert led the sprint out, with a chasing peloton that included none other than current cyclocross world champ Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin Fenix) breathing down their necks.
Bike geeks might notice that Van Aert has been sprinting to victories and podiums without the stopping power of hydraulic disc brakes.
Van der Poel, for the second race in a row, finished 13th. Former cyclocross Worlds silver medalist Peter Sagan finished fourth for the second race in a row.
Watch the highlights from the 2020 Milan San Remo below.
2020 Milan-San Remo Official Video Highlights:
Here’s the two-man sprint in greater detail:
Only Van der Poel’s stunning spring campaign in one-day races in 2019 rivals Van Aert’s current season restart in terms of surprise and dominance, and it’s fitting that the two are also cyclocross rivals. The only thing we’re missing is the bike trickery of the Flying Dutchman.
If any young cyclist with road aspirations is seeing this, hopefully they also see the value in starting a career with cyclocross can pay major dividends down the road, paved or not.
We’re also still curious as to whether some of the roadies may turn to cyclocross for offseason training, at least when we’re not in a pandemic with overlapping road and cyclocross seasons.
Only time will tell.