Julian Alaphilippe celebrated victory ©Getty Images

France’s Julian Alaphilippe emerged the winner of Milan-San Remo following a sprint finish at the International Cycling Union (UCI) WorldTour race.

Alaphilippe was among the pre-race favourites for the first of the five monuments of the season, having produced an impressive turn of speed to win a bunch sprint in the sixth stage of Tirreno-Adriatico.

He played a key role in the decisive move of the 291 kilometre one-day race, with the Frenchman forming part of an attack shortly after the penultimate Cipressa climb.

Three-time world champion Peter Sagan of Slovakia also formed part of the move, alongside defending champion Vincenzo Nibali of Italy.

Poland’s former world champion Michal Kwiatkowski, Spain’s Alejandro Valverde, Italy’s Matteo Trentin and Slovenia’s Matej Mohorič also placed themselves in contention on the Poggio, the climb which precedes the final descent into San Remo.

Trentin and Mohorič attempted to move clear towards the finish, but the duo ultimately fell short.

The final sprint was launched by Sagan but the Slovakian star was passed by Alaphilippe in the closing metres.

The Frenchman, who rides for Deceuninck-QuickStep, crossed the line in six hours, 40min and 14sec.

Julian Alaphilippe triumphed in a close sprint finish ©Getty Images
Julian Alaphilippe triumphed in a close sprint finish ©Getty Images

He finished ahead of Oliver Naesen of Belgium and Kwiatkowski, who recorded the same time as the winner.

Sagan ended in fourth place, with Mohorič fifth.

The UCI WorldTour is set to continue with the Volta a Catalunya stage race, which begins on March 25.

The Women’s WorldTour continues tomorrow with the Trofeo Alfredo Binda one-day race in Italy.

Riders are set to tackle a 131 kilometre route from Gavirate in the Lombardy region to Cittiglio.

Poland’s Katarzyna Niewiadoma won last year’s race ahead of Dutch riders Chantal Blaak and Marianne Vos.