Australia's Gerrans wins Milan-San Remo classic
Simon Gerrans became the second consecutive Australian to win the Milan-San Remo classic Saturday, edging Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara and Italy's Vincenzo Nibali in a three-man sprint finish.
Gerrans, who rides for the GreenEdge team, finished in 6 hours, 59 minutes, 24 seconds. Cancellara and Nibali crossed with the same time. Last year, Matthew Goss became the first Australian winner of the 185-mile race.
"It's an incredible day, I can't believe it," Gerrans said. "It doesn't get any better than this. This is going to take a long, long time to sink in. ... I've had good legs since the beginning of the season."
World champion Mark Cavendish, the 2009 San Remo winner, surprisingly dropped behind on the mild Le Manie climb with 62 miles to go.
Colombian rider Carlos Julian Quintero crashed during a descent and was taken to a hospital with suspected head trauma and broken collarbone. Italian state TV RAI reports that Quintero briefly lost consciousness.
Quintero, who rides for the Colombia-Coldeportes squad, was seen lying on the road, tended to by paramedics at the bottom of the Le Manie descent with 53 miles left in the race.
Belgian standout Philippe Gilbert was involved in a multirider crash with about 14 miles to go. He got back on his bike but couldn't rejoin the leaders.
Matteo Trentin of the Omega Quickstep team fell 150 yards before the finish, leaving him scraped and bruised.
Ji Cheng, the first Chinese rider in the race's history, attacked at the start with Vegard Stake Laengen of Norway. The pair was soon joined by seven other riders to form a nine-man breakaway that built a lead of more than 13 minutes on the main pack. The breakaway riders were caught with 37 miles to go.
For the race's 103rd edition, 200 riders started and 149 finished. Gerrans averaged 27 mph under mostly sunny skies.