Van Avermaet takes on La Classicissima after winning overall at Tirreno-Adriatico, while Gilbert attempts to recover from an infection picked up at Paris-Nice
By Thomas Dodd
Following his overall victory in the Tirreno-Adriatico on Tuesday, where he won stage six, the 29-year-old will captain an eight-man team for Saturday’s 291km race.
Van Avermaet will be looking for his second one-day win of the season after winning at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad last month.
Ahead of Saturday’s start he said: “My victories at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Tirreno-Adriatico give me a lot of confidence.
“I know I’m in good shape so it will be all about tactics on the day.
“It’s a long race but that’s what I love and where I really get to show what I’ve got.”
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BMC teammate Philippe Gilbert will not be on the start line in the Italian capital after being ruled out with a respiratory infection picked up at Paris-Nice, and is likely to miss the Tour of Flanders on April 3 as well.
BMC DS Valerio Piva said: “We were hoping that Philippe would have enough time to recover and be fit and healthy to race, but after another medical examination yesterday we have decided it is not in his best interests to race.”
Meanwhile German sprinter André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) will also miss the 107th edition of the Milan-San Remo after failing to recover from injuries sustained in a crash at the Tour of Algarve in February.
Greipel’s team Lotto-Soudal confirmed he will be out of action for at least ten days.