Saturday is the first Monument of the 2019 season, La Classicissima, the 110th Milan-San Remo. One way to view the classic Italian race is on FloBikes.
It’s been said that not much happens in Milan-San Remo until around the final 20-km. That’s where the first of two key hills begins, the Cipressa. Soon after comes the Poggio. Neither climb seems all that daunting: Cipressa is 5.6-km of 4.1 percent and the Poggio, which crests with 4.5-km until the finish on the Via Roma, is 3.5-km at 3.8 percent.
But there are two factors that make them tough. First, the riders have already raced for 265-km when Cipressa tilts up. Second, it’s the infernal pace that these climbs are taken. In 2017 winner Michal Kwiatskowski, Peter Sagan and Julian Alaphilippe took the Poggio at speeds up to 37-km/hr.
The kilometres, the Cipressa and the Poggio all streamline the peloton. Over the past 20-years, the average size for a group contesting the win is 19. Not exactly a bunch sprint, but solo wins like Vincenzo Nibali’s last season and Fabian Cancellara’s in 2008 are rare.
It’s hard to predict the winner of Milan-San Remo, as it’s neither fish nor foul. Will it go to a sprinter, a Classics fellow, an all-arounder?
Bora-Hansgrohe has two likely lads in Peter Sagan and Sam Bennett, the latter recently on fire at Paris-Nice and currently with four 2019 wins in pocket.
The hot pure sprinters are Caleb Ewan (Australia/Lotto-Soudal), second last year to Nibali, Elia Viviani (Italy/Deceuninck-Quick Step) and Fernando Gaviria (Colombia/UAE-Team Emirates).
Julian Alaphilippe (France/Deceuninck-Quick Step) is getting better and better and it would be folly to rule him out. Norway’s Alexander Kristoff, the 2014 titlist, has been spurred on by UAE-Team Emirates bringing in another sprinter in Gaviria and bears watching.