Arnaud Démare wins Milan-Sanremo

Arnaud Démare wins Milan-Sanremo;
Karl Platt wins fifth Cape Epic

Twenty-four-year-old Arnaud Démare (FDJ and fi’zi:k Arione VS) ended France’s long wait for a Monument with victory on Saturday at Milan-Sanremo. Démare showed his sprint prowess and immense potential, beating both Team Sky’s Ben Swift (fi’zi:k Arione R1) and Jurgen Roelandts by half a bike length and into second and third, respectively.

‘This is incredible,’ Démare commented after the race. ‘There are days like this in which everything works despite the occasional hiccup, like crashing at the bottom of the Cipressa’.

Démare dusted himself off from hitting the Tarmac – as did many riders in a race characterized by crashes – and had bridged the gap to the leaders by the base of the Poggio. It was on the Poggio’s descent that Team Sky’s Michal Kwiatkowski (fi’zi:k saddles) escaped from the leading group. For a moment, it looked like the 2014 road World Champion would clinch Sky’s first Monument victory but it wasn’t to be. The peloton came together on the flat run-in, leading to a final sprint for victory. And one which Démare proved strongest, claiming France’s first Monument since 1997 and France’s first Milan-Sanremo since Laurent Jalabert’s victory in 1995.

Away from the road and 12 years after winning his first Cape Epic crown, Karl Platt, racing for Team Bulls and using fi’zi:k saddles, yesterday became only the second athlete to win the legendary mountain-bike race five times, the German rider securing a dominant victory with trusted partner Urs Huber.

Platt and Swiss rider Huber rolled across the seventh and final-stage finish line at Meerendal, South Africa, in fifth place to claim the crown by over 13 minutes.

‘This is unbelievable… unbelievable. I have no words to say,’ Platt said soon after the race. ‘I’ve been waiting a long time for this fifth win, so to actually have it now… I must be getting better with age.’ Thirty-eight-year-old Platt was alluding to his six-year wait for his fifth crown.