If Michal Kwiatkowski doesn’t manage to successfully defend his Milan-San Remo title then it won’t be for lack of preparation, after the Team Sky rider braved heavy snow and freezing temperatures to complete his recon of the race.
Starting from his base in Roquebrune-Cap Martin just to the east of Monaco, Kwiatkowski rode around 60km along the coast and across the border into Italy, before beginning his recon in the town of San Lorenzo al Mare at the base of the Cipressa climb, which comes with just over 20km to go in the race.
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Despite what must have been a nice easterly tailwind as he turned around and started to head back along the coast, Kwiatkowski’s Strava stats shows that he covered the climb a full five minutes slower than he managed in the Milan-San Remo peloton 12 months ago.
With the snow falling, you can’t blame Kwiatkowski for taking it easy on the descent, which he covered 13kmh slower than in the race as he presumably also took his time to re-familiarise himself with the road.
The Polish rider also took his time up the Poggio, ascending the three kilometre climb at 23.5kmh, more than three minutes slower than he went up it while chasing down Peter Sagan’s attack on his way to victory (and also taking the KOM).
After these efforts, Kwiatkowski seems to have given himself a café stop to warm up, before heading out for the final 20km home as the mercury hit -2ºC and the snow fell.
While there is still nearly three weeks to go until Milan-San Remo, which takes part on March 17, forecasters are predicting that there will be no repeat of the snowy conditions which hit Kwiatkowski’s recon and the race itself in 2013, when 50km and two major climbs had to be taken out of the route due to heavy snowfall.
At the moment the forecast is for temperatures around 10ºC with very light winds but the chance of rain, although this could of course all change closer to the date.