The peloton closes to within four minutes now. It's time to climb: Capo Mele ahoy! It's the first of the tre capi climbs, the Capo Mele, and the advantage of the eight leaders is down to as they start the 1. We can expect the whittling down of the peloton to start imminently - if not physically, then mentally.
Pidcock made his San Remo debut last year and was very much in the mix as he tried his luck on the descent of the Poggio before finishing 15th. Mikkel Honore goes down The rangy Dane hits the deck at speed after a touch of wheels exiting a small roundabout near the back end of the peloton.
He's part of a makeshift Quick-Step team that has to make do without the winner Julian Alaphilippe, who pulled out this week with bronchitis. In his place, the Dutchman Fabio Jakobsen makes his Monuments debut. He's got the form - but does he have the legs to get over the climbs?
The tre capi climbs are coming up and so we're about to hit the business end of this race. Team DSM are also present - a team of lone rangers rather than favourites, although they have that man Soren Kragh Andersen, who was heavily involved in last year's finale. The gap is down to Blimey, the indefatigable Dutchman has now been pulling the peloton for over km of this race.
But which of his teammates will deliver - Van Aert or Roglic? Or will it be a win for Pogacar, an outsider, or one of the sprinters such as Jakobsen, Pedersen, Philipsen, Sagan, Bouhanni or Coquard? Covi, I hasten to add, is Carlton Kirby's tip for today. Twice a winner this season, he's not the obvious choice from UAE - but you never know Could Pogacar really win this? Would you bet against him?
The double Tour de France winner is also a double Monument winner following his victories last year in Liege and Lombardia. He returns to Milano-Sanremo for the first time since , when he finished 12th in his debut, off the back of victories in his first three races of the season UAE Tour, Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico. The question is: when does Pog attack? The Poggio may not be long or steep enough for him to drop his rivals which means the year-old may well have to roll the die a little earlier on the Cipressa - a winning move from which has not been since, gosh, the days of Bugno?
Perhaps Pogacar will channel his inner Pantani who split the peloton with his own uphill attack on the Cipressa in The Dane was a late addition to Trek's roster following the withdrawal of defending champion Jasper Stuyven with illness. When I got the call on Thursday evening, I had to switch on and try to be really focused for the race.
I did good results in my first Monument once Flanders; runner-up in so sometimes going into a race without expectations can have its benefits. My role? Follow and sprint. They have Phil Bauhaus if things come down to the sprint and Matej Mohoric, who is capable of getting over - and down - the Poggio very fast.
It's worth adding that Bahrain are the team with the most top 10s in the last five editions: six in total. But now the road is hugging the Med, the eight escapees have managed to stretch out their lead once again. For the first time today it creeps above seven minutes. His best finish here is third in and, given his advanced years and narrowing armoury, it would take something extraordinary for the year-old to complete his grand slam today in what is his 61st appearance in a Monument.
But what a story it would be Alpecin-Fenix with two options The early recall of Mathieu van der Poel from injury gives Alpecin-Fenix options today. Jasper Philipsen is their man for the sprint but the year-old only came th in his San Remo debut in and hasn't raced since. Van der Poel's inclusion is captivating. He hasn't yet raced this season because of ongoing issues with his back following his crash in the Olympics over the summer.
It would be a tall order for him to win on his return - and yet his fellow cyclocross pal Wout van Aert won his first race of the season, so who knows? We spoke to Van der Poel this morning ahead of the start and asked him when he decided he would take part: Just two days ago. I came home from training and I had a few calls from the team.
We had some people who pulled out with sickness and they asked if I wanted to come back early. Who do Ineos Grenadiers have for today's finale? In short, the British team have options galore, even if they wouldn't be described as favourites. Polish veteran Michal Kwiatkowski, winner in , will have a free role, while British duo Ethan Hatyer and Tom Pidcock are options for the sprint or a Poggio attack respectively.
Elia Viviani is also one for the sprint, as is Ben Swift who has twice finished on the podium in San Remo. Luke Rowe and Filippo Ganna make up the engine room for Ineos. You'd expect their role will be in stringing things out between the Cipressa and Poggio - but you wouldn't bet against Ganna having a pop himself at some point, given his versatility. Meanwhile, here's Brad on a Bike with some of his San Remo memories We're still in the saving-energy phase of this race but it will start to get serious once they hit the Ligurian coast and the tre capi climbs come along.
Who can win if it comes down to a sprint? The last five editions have been won by attackers so it looks like the days of a Mark Cavendish bunch sprint win on the via Roma are well and truly over. But you never know. Say the expected fireworks on the Cipressa and the Poggio never materialise, who are the fast finishers with staying power who could take the win?
First of all, you'd have to fancy Fabio Jakobsen or Mads Pedersen - two San Remo debutants who have been in solid form this year. That man Sagan can't be discounted, now can Michael Matthews despite both of their respective deteriorations. Frenchman Arnaud Demare infamously won in following an alleged tug up the Cipressa - and he says his condition is good even if the results are not coming. And among the top tier fastmen there's also Jasper Philipsen of Alpecin-Fenix, who has numerous wins this season.
Of course, you'd be crazy to bet against Wout van Aert in a bunch sprint, too. That said, I seriously doubt today's race will end up in a sprint. Given the class of some of the puncheurs and attackers, surely that scenario is off the table Can Sagan ride back to relevance again?
Fourth on five occasions and runner-up twice, the year-old's chances of winning on the via Roma are getting slimmer and slimmer as this new generation of all-round talents continues its meteoric rise to the top. Sagan was once the kind of rider who you'd back on punchy climbs like the Poggio - and his sprinting ability gave him an extra special 'top dog' status in La Primavera. He's been fourth on his previous three appearances in Milan-San Remo so that goes to show Sagan still has what it takes to get in the mix.
But he's also lost some of his uphill zip and he's no longer the fast finisher of old. And set against the likes of Alaphilippe, Van Aert, Pogacar, Roglic and even the veteran Valverde, he's unlikely to come out on top. Another fourth today? Sounds about right. Onto the Passo del Turchino The breakaway has passed through the town of Ovada and the gradient now starts to ramp up a little now that they've completed the apron of the Passo del Turchino. It's still a gradual, gentle grind - but once they get to the top and go through the tunnel, they will get that first glimpse of the glistening Mediterranean sea on the other side.
The gap is and the fluorescent yellow shoulders of Intermarche-Wanty-Gober are very present on the front of the pack. They have the experience of Alexander Kristoff should things come down to a slugfest reduced sprint as well as the ebullient youth of Biniam Girmay, who has showed some good legs this year. Four former winners in the race There are four former winners in this starting peloton of riders: Wout van Aert , Michael Kwiatkowski , Arnaud Demare and Alexander Kristoff Of course, it would have been more had Jasper Stuyven , Julian Alaphilippe and John Degenkolb not withdrawn with sickness.
Vincenzo Nibali opted not to put this race on his programme while Mark Cavendish did not get the call-up at Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl despite Alaphlippe's absence. Cav has been in good form - winning Milano-Torino midweek - but so too has his teammate Fabio Jakobsen, who makes his monuments debut today. Here's a reminder of how Jasper Stuyven won last year's race - zipping clear after the descent of the Poggio before being joined by Soren Kragh Andersen who races today for Team DSM ahead of a nail-biting finish on the via Roma.
Highlights: Stuyven's late attack shocks the big boys at Milan-San Remo km remaining: Jumbo and BikeExchange on the front It's the yellow-clad teammates of Primoz Roglic and Wout van Aert who are controlling the tempo on the front of the peloton, which trails the eight leaders by ahead of the Turchino.
It's the towering figure of Jos van Emden who's tapping out the pace. The Australian is riding his 11th edition of La Primavera and has twice finished third. The form since his switch from Sunweb is, admittedly, rather off. But this race is a great leveler and you never know what may happen. Last year's race was also on TV from start to finish but the route took in a different climb before dropping down to the coast ahead of the usual finish.
Who is here? Despite the raft of illness-related withdrawals, it's still a classy start-list not least with the unexpected eleventh hour addition of Mathieu van der Poel. The Dutchman was not meant to start his road season until later this month but decided to fast-track his return after some positive sensations in training. Prior to Van der Poel stealing the headlines, all talk was about the inclusion of Slovenian duo Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic - riders we usually associate more with Grand Tours and hilly classics.
To heighten the excitement of this sports event with even more passion, make online sports bets at Bwin. Bet on one of the longest cycling races With a distance of km or about 7 hours in the saddle , this is the longest one-day professional race in modern cycling. The Milan-San Remo is considered a sprinters' race, but the course profile is not nearly as simple as some would have you believe. Once past Alessandria, there is a tangible change in topography, and the route begins to climb towards the famous Passo del Turchino.
Then the climb to La Manie arrives quickly before the Tre Capi three peaks. What comes next requires little introduction. After Cipressa, Poggio is a small town with a great reputation. The legendary climb is often the finale of Milan-San Remo. The most challenging aspect is that it comes after about km of racing, which is why the Poggio is both famous and feared.
The Poggio was added in in an attempt to hurt the sprinters and give a fighting chance to the 'baroudeurs' or breakaway specialists.
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The Milan-San Remo or the ‘Spring Classic’ as it’s commonly referred to as is an annual kilometer ( miles) cycling race in Northern Italy that takes place between Milan and . Mar 11, · In fact, the odds on him were at Bovada just before the race. In , his odds are much better, but he still isn’t thought of as a serious candidate for the title. If he . Jan 27, · Tadej Pogacar to win the Milan San Remo + Bet now Philippe Gilbert At + to win, the year-old Gilbert is very much a “longshot” to win. So in other words, .