With 11-weeks until the first Monument of the year, Milan-San Remo, there is danger that organizers will cancel the race for the first time since 1945. Landslides on the famed Poggio, the famous 4-km climb that peaks 5 km from the finish and was first introduced in 1960, have threatened the status on the race’s 111th edition.
In December, heavy rains on Italy’s Ligurian Coast led to landslides that closed the Via Duca d’Aosta, home of the Poggio climb. Although partially reopened, the road isn’t in shape for the race. Alberto Biancheri, the mayor of San Remo, said in a recent meeting “that the Milan-San Remo cannot be held anymore”. It would take an estimated C$14 million to repair and shore up the road, and Biancheri’s dire prediction might be a way of getting race organizer RCS Sport to pay the bill.
Another solution to the problem of the Poggio is to reroute the race so that the Cipressa is the final climb 15-km from the finish, something that will be to the benefit of the pure sprinters.
Last year Julian Alaphilippe was part of a dozen-strong group that escaped on the Poggio. The French buccaneer then outsprinted Oliver Naesen and Michal Kwiatkowski for the win.
The Milan-San Remo is the eighth scheduled race of the 2020 WorldTour. The first contest, the Santos Tour Down Under, gets underway on January 21.