The 'all you need to know' on the Italian one-day race that is the first Monument of the year
The first Monument of the year, Milan – San Remo takes place on March 17, 2018.
The UCI WorldTour race is the longest of the one day spring classics, providing a showcase of some of the best riders in the world over 291km.
Milan – San Remo route
Despite being known as the ‘Sprinters’ Classic’, the Italian race would not be as prestigious as it is were it a straightforward procession to a bunch sprint, and instead the race is characterised by its tortuous length, thrilling conclusion and delicate balancing act between sprinters and attackers.
The introduction of La Manie in 2008 gave the advantage to attacking puncheurs, as a difficult, significantly-positioned climb to gain an advantage over those hoping for a bunch sprint. It contributed to a handful of more selective editions – Fabian Cancellara won from a solo break in 2008 and Simon Gerrans from a group of three in 2010, and in both 2011 and 2013 a group of seven contested the finish, won by Matt Goss and Gerald Ciolek respectively.
When La Manie was dropped in 2014, the organiser’s initial intention had been to make the route even harder by replacing it with the Pompeiana in a slot far closer to the finish. But that climb was deemed unsafe due to the possibility of landslides, so that since 2014 the race has featured neither climb.
Now the dynamic of the route has shifted comprehensively back to the sprinters. After Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) won the sprint from a sizeable peloton in 2014, the finish was moved back to its traditional finishing straight of Via Roma, and another sprinter was triumphant in the form of John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) in 2015 and Arnaud Démare (FDJ) in 2016.
For the bold and the brave the Cipressa provides a potential launchpad for an attack at just over 20km from the finish, but for the more realistic, it’s the Poggio.
At 4km in length and 3.7% in gradient, the climb is notorious for being relatively straightforward compared with most iconic climbs, but its fame derives from its position in the race.
On the back of around 280km of racing the riders are exhausted upon reaching it, and, peaking at 5.5km from the finish, any rider who goes over the top first with a gap has a chance of zooming down the descent and holding off the sprinters for victory on the Via Roma.
Milan-San Remo 2018: Teams
All 18 UCI WorldTour teams are eligible to ride the 2018 edition of Milan San Remo. Seven wild card teams have also been selected.
- AG2R La Mondiale (Fra)
- Astana Pro Team (Kaz)
- Bahrain-Merida (Bah)
- BMC Racing Team (USA)
- Bora-Hansgrohe (Ger)
- FDJ (France)
- Lotto Soudal (Bel)
- Mitchelton-Scott (Aus)
- Movistar (Esp)
- Quick-Step Floors (Aus)
- Team Dimension Data (RSA)
- Team EF Education-First – Drapac P/B Cannondale (USA)
- Team Katusha Alpecin (Swi)
- Team Lotto NL-Jumbo (Ned)
- Team Sky (Gbr)
- Team Sunweb (Ger)
- Trek-Segafredo (Ita)
- UAE Team Emirates (UAE)
Wild card teams:
- Bardiani CSF
- Confidis Solutions Credits
- Israel Cycling Academy
- Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
- Team Novo Nordisk
- Willier Triestina-Sella Italia
Watching Milan-San Remo on TV
The race will be broadcast on Eurosport. In 2017, the race was shown on Eurosport 2, with highlights available on Sunday and Monday.
Elsewhere in the world, you could catch it live on Sporza (Dutch) and RTBF (French); Italy’s Rai Sport 2 and SBS in Australia will also show footage.
Milan-San Remo 2017 race
At the end of a generally uneventful 108th running of the race, Kwiatkowski was one of only two men (along with Julian Alaphilippe of Quick-Step Floors) who were able to respond to a surprise attack on the Poggio by world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe).
The trio had a gap of around 10 seconds by the top of the climb, which they were able to double by the bottom of the descent thanks to Sagan’s smooth and fast descending style.
By the time they entered the final kilometre it was clear that the winner would come from these three riders, but the best sprinter, among them – Sagan – was in a poor position on the front.
Nonetheless the Slovak was confident enough to lead the sprint out, and although it looked for a while as if he would be able to hold on to win the longest race in the calendar, Kwiatkowski was able to come around the outside to win by less than half a wheel, with Alaphilippe in third.
The peloton was led in by Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin), crossing the line five seconds behind the leading riders.
Milan-San Remo : Recent winners
2017: Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky
2016: Arnaud Démare (Fra) FDJ
2015: John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Alpecin
2014: Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha
2013: Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka
2012: Simon Gerrans (Aus) GreenEdge
2011: Matt Goss (Aus) HTC-Highroad
2010: Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank
2009: Mark Cavendish (GBr) Columbia-Highroad
2008: Fabian Cancellara (Sui) CSC
2007: Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank