March 17, 2013 – Gerald Ciolek of Germany, riding for South African team MTN-Qhueka, won the first cycling classic of the season, the Milan-Sanremo, triumphing in a race curtailed by heavy snow.
The poor conditions forced the event to be temporarily halted after 117km.
Organisers elected to restart the race for the final 126.5km from Cogoleto, meaning participants would still need to tackle the succession of hills along the Ligurian coast after proceedings were initially halted after 117km.
Ciolek saw off the pre-race favorite, Slovakia’s Peter Sagan, and Swiss star Fabian Cancellara, after the 245km test as the weather shortened the longest race of the season by 53km, crossing the line in 5hr 37min 20sec.
The race had to be stopped initially at Ovada, at the foot of the Turchino climb which had become unmanageable and the racers had to transfer to their buses before matters could resume.
The 2011 winner Matthew Goss and Vincenzo Nibali abandoned the struggle.
The leading group were caught some 30km from the line and Belgian champion Philippe Gilbert chose his moment to launch a challenge before Sylvain Chavanel, Britain’s Ian Stannard and Russia’s Eduard Vorganov made their own bid at Poggio, 10km out, as they opened up a 27sec lead.
But as the finish line loomed Cancellara, with Sagan on his wheel, went for broke with Ciolek, who just nudged through in the final 30 meters.
“I was on Sagan’s wheel – and that was the best place to be,” said the 26-year-old German, tasting his first Classic success.