Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel, grandson of cyclist Raymond Poulidor, followed in the footsteps of his illustrious grandfather by winning, on Saturday March 18 2023, the grueling Milan-San Remo, the longest professional race in modern cycling.
In the wheel of "Poupou". Sixty-two years after his grandfather Raymond Poulidor, the Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel won alone, Saturday March 18, Milan-San Remo after an impressive performance in the Poggio.
The rider from Alpecin made the difference just before the summit of Poggio, five kilometers from the finish, to edge a group of three other superstars by fifteen seconds, settled in a sprint by the Italian Filippo Ganna ahead of the Belgian Wout Van Aert and the Slovenian Tadej Pogacar.This is the third victory for Van der Poel in one of the five Monuments, the most famous classics on the calendar, after his success on the Tour of Flanders in 2020 and 2022.
It is also a new nod to his grandpa, the legendary "Poupou", who died in November 2019 at the age of 83 and to whom he was very close. No tears this time, as in 2021 when he took the yellow jersey of the Tour de France which had always refused to his grandfather after his victory at Mûr-de-Bretagne. But a deep satisfaction to now appear, with his French grandfather, on the list of winners of "La Classicissima", the longest race of the year, 294 kilometers of a tedious procession before the powerful shot of adrenaline in the final.
The victory was Van der Poel’s third after winning the Tour of Flanders in 2020 and 2022, following in the footsteps of his French grandfather Raymond Poulidor who won the race in 1961.
“For sure [it is special], not only because he won it. It’s one Monument every rider wants to win one day,” Van der Poel said with a smile.
“I cannot imagine a better scenario than this one ... It wasn’t hard as previous years but I already felt my legs were really fresh. I knew I wanted to place an attack at the end of the Poggio. This is one race I really wanted to win.”