SAN REMO, Italy – Michal Kwiatkowski of Poland edged out Peter Sagan in a tense finish to win the Milan-San Remo classic on Saturday.
It looked as if Sagan was going to become the first world champion to win the race since 1983 but Kwiatkowski snatched victory for Team Sky in the last meters.
“After 2013 and 2014 when I’ve been unlucky, winning Milano-San Remo is an incredible feeling,” Kwiatkowski said.
“I didn’t expect Sagan to attack on the Poggio. After he did, I expected a bunch sprint but he maintained a high speed at the front. I focused only on my own sprint. I can’t believe I’ve beaten Sagan!”
Julian Alaphilippe was third at the end of the 291-kilometer (181-mile) route from Milan to San Remo.
Alexander Kristoff won the bunch sprint for fourth place, five seconds behind the front three.
Sagan attacked near the top of the final climb up the Poggio. Alaphilippe and Kwiatkowski made contact with him just before the descent and the trio held onto their small advantage.
GENT, Belgium (AP) Olympic road champion Greg Van Avermaet won his second race in three days Sunday, beating fellow Belgian Jens Keukeleire in a two-man sprint finish to take the Gent-Wevelgem classic.
World champion Peter Sagan of Slovakia, who won last year’s race, finished third.
The 249-kilometer (154.7-mile) race through Belgium included two ascents of the steep, cobbled Kemmelberg hill, one of the iconic climbs of the spring classics season.
Last year’s race was overshadowed by the death of Belgian rider Antoine Demoitie after a fall.
Sagan fell Friday in the E3 Harelbeke, which Van Avermaet also won to add to his victory last month in Het Nieuwsblad.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Alejandro Valverde of Spain won his second Tour of Catalonia on Sunday.
Valverde secured the victory by finishing first in the 139-kilometer (86-mile) seventh stage, perfectly timing his final sprint at a hilltop overlooking Barcelona.
He finished the weeklong race more than one minute ahead of Alberto Contador and Marc Soler, who closed out the all-Spanish podium.
Valverde won despite receiving a one-minute time penalty Wednesday after race officials ruled that some Movistar riders pushed one another in Tuesday’s team time trial.
The 36-year-old Valverde had won two other stages.
Valverde also won the race in northeastern Spain in 2009, the same year he clinched the Spanish Vuelta for his only Grand Tour title.
Three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome fell out of contention during Saturday’s stage.