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Mathieu van der Poel: You don’t have to be the best to win Milan-San Remo

For observers, Milan-San Remo is as much a ritual as a bike race, with the passage over the Turchino doubling as a metaphor for the changing of the seasons. For participants, the reality of the long haul from the chill air of Lombardy to the warm embrace of the Riviera can be rather more prosaic.

“The first part is pretty boring,” Mathieu van der Poel confessed to reporters at Tirreno-Adriatico last weekend, adding that he had no particular method for relieving the tedium of the early hours of the longest day of the cycling calendar.

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