Mario Cipollini celebrated his 40th birthday on Thursday and tipped former team mate and fellow Tuscan Daniele Bennati (Lampre) to win Milan-San Remo in sprint on Saturday.
Cipollini retired in 2005 after 17 years and 189 victories as a professional but still rides his bike and has been scrutinizing the form all the favourites for Milan-San Remo, while celebrating his 40th birthday with his family.
?I think it?ll be an unusual edition because nobody has really dominated the early season races,? Cipo told Gazzetta dello Sport on Thursday.
?Nobody knows what Bettini can do after his crashes at Tirreno-Adriatico. Something?s not quite right with Petacchi, while Boonen didn?t win a sprint at Paris-Nice and retired. Zabel is always a threat and so is Freire but only if he?s on form. Perhaps Daniele Bennati is the one who has that little bit extra something. If I was still racing and had my group of riders we could have had some fun with him??
Cipollini admitted he is now enjoying his retirement and is slowly adapting to a normal lifestyle, where his daughters are more important than training and racing, and his well-known Playboy antics.
?It?s not easy when you retire. At first you feel like you?ve got a lot of freedom but then you miss having clear objectives to aim for,? he says.
?Fortunately I?ve discovered joys in life such as picking up my daughters from school and taking them swimming or to dance school. When they give you a smile, you feel at peace with the world. I?m enjoying being a full-time dad.?
Cipollini will be one of the guest at a special dinner in San Remo on Saturday night to celebrate the centenary edition of the Italian race. Almost ever living winner of the spring classics will be present, including Italy?s Cesare Del Cancia who won in 1937, and seven-time Eddy Merckx.
There will be full coverage from Milan-San Remo on Saturday by Cycling Weekly‘s man in Italy, Stephen Farrand.