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 Saturday March 23, 2019.
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.
A women’s version – Primavera Rosa – took place between 1999 to 2005, but was cancelled by the UCI in 2006. The first edition, in 1999 was won by Italian Sara Felloni and the last, in 2005, by German Trixi Worrack.
Milan-San Remo 2019 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 per cent 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.
Watching Milan-San Remo on TV
The race will be broadcast live on Eurosport 2, from 1.30pm until 4.30pm.
There will be a highlights package, also on Eurosport 2, at 10.30pm.
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.
You can follow the action via Twitter, via the handle @Milano_Sanremo.
Milan-San Remo 2019 start list
The complete start list is yet be be published, but teams have put forward some names. This includes 2018 winner, Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida), 2016 winner Arnaud Démare (FDJ) and 2015’s victor John Degenkolb (Trek – Segafredo).
Deceuninck – Quick Step
AG2R La Mondiale
VAN DER SANDE Tosh
Astana Pro Team
VAN AVERMAET Greg
LE GAC Olivier
Team Dimension Data
BOASSON HAGEN Edvald
EF Education First
JANSEN Amund Grøndahl
VAN AERT Wout
VAN POPPEL Danny
VAN EMDEN Jos
Team Katusha – Alpecin
VAN BAARLE Dylan
Trek – Segafredo
BYSTRØM Sven Erik
Cofidis, Solutions Crédits
Team Novo Nordisk
Neri Sottoli – Selle Italia – KTM
Israel Cycling Academy
Bardiani – CSF
Androni Giocattoli – Sidermec
Milan-San Remo : Recent winners
2018: Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
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