Filippo Ganna to be given opportunities at Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix this year

Italian rouleur says he wants to prove he is more than "just" a time triallist and track specialist

Filippo Ganna
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Filippo Ganna is to be given the freedom to explore his own chances at the Classics this year, as the Italian seeks to break out of his assumed role.

The double world time trial champion wants to prove that there is more to his cycling than simply racing against the clock. He has form, showing his power on the sterrato stage of last year's Giro d'Italia, blowing the race apart

To that end, he will be given opportunities by his Ineos Grenadiers team at Paris-Roubaix and Milan-San Remo, two races where his ability to harness serious watts should be incredibly useful.

“I have discussed it with the team,” the Italian told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “This year I will also have my own chances, I will have more carte blanche, with the team at my disposal. A calendar has been designed for me to make the most of my abilities.”

"There will be great opportunities to show that I am not ‘just’ a time triallist or a track cyclist," he argued.

All but two of Ganna's 16 road victories have come against the clock, the exceptions being a breakaway win in the 2020 Giro and a stage of the Etoile de Bessèges last year.

He has also won multiple team and individual pursuit medals on the track, and is part of the current world and Olympic champion team pursuit squad.

Towards the end of last year his coach, Dario Cioni, told Cycling Weekly that he hoped that Ganna would pursue more than just time trials in his career.

"A lot of people push him towards being like [Fabian] Cancellara or [Miguel] Indurain because of the similarities," he said. "But I just think Filippo is Ganna, and while I want him to be remembered as the best time triallist of all time - which I think he will be - it will be even better if he also won Roubaix, won San Remo, maybe Flanders, or maybe even a Grand Tour."

Cancellara might well be the model for Ganna. The Swiss rider was a four-time world time trial champion between 2006 and 2010 while also focusing on the Classics. With his power and skill, he won Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders three times, and also Milan-San Remo in 2008. 

Ganna won Paris-Roubaix Espoirs, the under-23 version of the Hell of the North, in 2016. However, it has not necessarily been a predictor of future Roubaix success, the last man to win both being Marc Madiot in 1979 and 1985, respectively.

To help with Roubaix, he has been doing more gym work: "To cope with Paris-Roubaix, I am working on my abs and the upper part of my body more than usual. When that is done, I still have to lose a few kilos in the run-up to the Tour.”

Milan-San Remo is more of a tactical race, less about sheer power than Roubaix, so the Italian will be hoping that his new role will allow him to stay with the best over the Cipressa and the Poggio. His best finish in his four previous attempts has been 74th.

There are also still rumours about the Italian attempting the Hour Record, but when and where are yet to be confirmed.

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Adam Becket
Senior news and features writer

Adam is Cycling Weekly’s senior news and feature writer – his greatest love is road racing but as long as he is cycling on tarmac, he's happy. Before joining Cycling Weekly he spent two years writing for Procycling, where he interviewed riders and wrote about racing, speaking to people as varied as Demi Vollering to Philippe Gilbert. Before cycling took over his professional life, he covered ecclesiastical matters at the world’s largest Anglican newspaper and politics at Business Insider. Don't ask how that is related to cycling.