On March 23rd, the adrenalized and much anticipated start to the spring Classics will kick off in Italy. On Sunday ORICA-GreenEDGE and IAM Cycling will line up in Milan to start the 298 kilometre journey to Sanremo.
Milan-Sanremo, also known in Italy as La Primavera, is one of the five Monuments of cycling alongside the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Giro di Lombarida. These pillars of cycling are the oldest and most prestigious of the one-day races.
Last year the peloton faced heinous weather conditions that included snow and freezing temperatures, bringing several riders to tears alongside the road. Although Mother Natures isn’t predicted to be as cruel this year, RCS Sport has already been dealt one weather-related blow prior to the start. One month ago the race organisation had to make the disappointing call to remove the ascent to Pompeiana due to irreparable road damage caused by poor weather conditions. With the exclusion of the Pompeiana climb, all fingers point to a bunch kick in Sanremo.
Organisers are facing another potential course change in the eleventh hour. Possible landslides around Sportorno have forced RCS to consider an alternative route for rider safety.
For ORICA-GreenEDGE and IAM Cycling, Milan-Sanremo is a very special race. Simon Gerrons captured a glorious and ‘monumental’ win for the Australian outfit in its inaugural year. Sylvain Chavanel for his first year under the IAM Cycling's colors wants to show his best aggressive skills.
The combination of wind and rain will be the biggest factors influencing the outcome in Sanremo. Headwinds will make it harder for a break to get away. Tailwinds mean a faster race and a better chance for riders to get away.
Wet roads, particularly on the descents of the Cipressa and Poggio, could cause splits in the bunch as the more courageous riders test the mettle of the peloton down the twisty roads. It will be difficult for any team to organise a chase as the fury is unleashed in the closing kilometres.
On paper, Sanremo looks like it is the easiest race to win. In actuality, it is the hardest race to win and the easiest to lose. To win this race, a team must keep things under control from the start. Then in the final 100 kilometres, riders must be completely focused. As the race heats up on Turchino Pass, riders must be at the front not to win the race, but to ensure they don’t lose it.
ORICA-GreenEDGE for Milan-Sanremo:
IAM Cycling for Milan-Sanremo: