Milan-San Remo 2021: Route and start list

The 'all you need to know' on the Italian one-day race that is the first Monument of the year

Milan – San Remo 2019 (Marco Bertorello/AFP via Getty Images)
(Image credit: AFP via Getty Images)

The longest Monument of the year, Milan-San Remo takes place on Saturday March 20, 2021. The Italian race is back in its original spot after taking place in October last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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 almost 300km.

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.

The 2021 edition comes less than sixth months after the last, the coronavirus pandemic pushing the 2020 race back to August, with Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) outsprinting the 2019 winner Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) to victory in the summer heat.

Those two riders head up the list of favourites for this year's race, as well as Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), who recently won Strade Bianche in commanding form.

While the 2020 Milan - San Remo was memorable due to its date change, this year the edition will be remembered for being televised in full, from start to finish.

Many may consider broadcasting all of the 300km to be overkill, such is the length of the race that the finish town of Sanremo doesn't bother closing its roads to traffic until its more than halfway done, but the coronavirus pandemic is once again behind the reason for this unprecedented change.

With Italy heading back into lockdown as coronavirus cases trend upwards once more, authorities hope that broadcasting one of the country's most beloved races will encourage people to say inside and watch it on television rather than heading outside to watch it pass by. And for those not fortunate enough to live along the route, the hope is that people will be encouraged to stay inside to watch the rollout from Milan, given the chance doesn't often present itself to viewers.

The other favourites for the day include Michael Matthews (BikeExchange), who finished third last year with a bloodied hand after crashing into a wall, while Alaphilippe has two team-mates more than capable of delivering victory for Deceuninck - Quick-Step. Sam Bennett is showing himself to be one of, if not the pre-eminent sprinters in 2021, while Davide Ballerini has also announced himself to the WorldTour at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and the Tour de La Provence.

Aussie sprinter Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) is another fast finisher capable of taking the win if it comes down to a bunch sprint, as is Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) who won in 2016. Ineos Grenadiers have two riders with an outside chance, the Italian Filippo Ganna as well as Brit Tom Pidcock, who has impressed with top-five finishes at Strade Bianche and Kuurne-Brussels-Kurrne in his debut WorldTour season.

Milan-San Remo 2021 route

The route has been revealed and it is back to its normal finale with the final 60km of the 299km route taking in the Capo Mele, Capo Cervo, Capo Berta, the Cipressa and the Poggio di Sanremo.

Image from RCS

One change is that the Colle del Giovo has been added instead of the usual Passo del Turchino as the famous climb is blocked by a landslide that will not be cleared before the race takes pleace. There will be around 112km to go once they go over the top of Giovo as they return to the traditional route to the line that finishes on the Via Roma in San Remo.

Image by RCS

Milan-San Remo route history

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 since 2014, the race has featured neither climb.

Wout van Aert wins the 2020 Milan-San Remo (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Now the dynamic of the route has shifted comprehensively back to the sprinters.

After Alexander Kristoff (then 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 (then Giant-Alpecin) in 2015 and Arnaud Démare (Groupama-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.

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.

Only two British riders have emerged victorious at the race with Tom Simpson being the first back in 1964 for Peugeot-BP-Engelbert team, the next came several years later in 2009 when Mark Cavendish (then Team Columbia-High Road) took victory in a bunch sprint. British champion, Ben Swift (Ineos Grenadiers) has come close on various occasions.

Irish star, Sean Kelly, has taken victory twice, his first coming in 1986 and the latter coming close to the end of his career in 1992. Sam Bennett (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) who has already equalled the great 'King' Kelly's achievement of winning the green jersey at the Tour de France, will be hoping to add his name to the list of winners in 2021.

Milan-San Remo 2021 start list

Team Jumbo-Visma

VAN AERT Wout

MARTENS Paul

PFINGSTON Christoph

AFFINI Edoardo

OOMEN Sam

ROOSEN Timo

VAN EMDEN Jos

Deceuninck - Quick-Step

ALAPHILIPPE Julian

BENNETT Sam

BALLERINI Davide

LAMPAERT Yves

ASGREEN Kasper

STYBAR Zdenek

DECLERCQ Tim

UAE Team Emirates

GAVIRIA Fernando

COVI Alessandro

KRISTOFF Alexander

FORMOLO Davide

TRENTIN Matteo

BYSTRØM Sven Erik

RICHEZE Max

Ag2r La Mondiale-Cotroën

VAN AVERMAET Greg

NAESEN Oliver

VAN HOUCKE Gijs

DEWULF Stan

VENDRAME Andrea

GOUGEARD Alexis

SCHÄR Michael

Trek-Segafredo

STUYVAN Jasper

NIBALI Vincenzo

SIMMONS Quinn

MOSCA Jacopo

CICCONE Giulio

SKUJINS Toms

MULLEN Ryan

Bora-Hansgrohe

ACKERMANN Pascal

SCHACHMANN Max

SAGAN Peter

OSS Daniel

BENNEDETTI Cesare

BODNAR Maciej

BURGHARDT Marcus

Israel Start-Up Nation

CIMOLAI Davide

HOFSTETTER Hugo

NEILANDTS Krists

WÜRTZ SCHMIDT Mads

BRÄNDLE Matthias

DE MARCHI Alessandro

ZABEL Rick

Groupama-FDJ

DÉMARE Arnaud

SINKELDAM Ramon

MOLARD Rudy

GENIETS Kevin

KONOVALOVAS Ignatas

SCOTSON Miles

GUARNIERI Jacopo

Team BikeExchange

MATTHEWS Michael

STANNARD Robert

DURBRIDGE Luke

HEPBURN Michael

JUUL-JENSEN Chris

MEZGEC Luka

KONYCHEV Alexander

Team Qhubeka-Assos

NIZZOLO Giacomo

GOGL Michael

CLARKE Simon

CAMPENAERTS Victor

VINJEBO Emil

WIŚNIOWSKI Łukasz

LINDEMAN Bert-Jan

Cofidis, Solutions Crédits

VIVIANI Elia

LAPORTE Christophe

SABATINI Fabio

MARTIN Guillaume

VANBILSEN Kenneth

VIVIANI Attilio

PÉRICHON Pierre-Luc

Ineos Grenadiers

KWIATKOWSKI Michał

GANNA Filippo

HAYTER Ethan

VAN BAARLE Dylan

PIDCOCK Tom

ROWE Luke

MOSCON Gianni

Astana-Premier Tech

ARANBURU Alex

MARTINELLI Davide

FELLINE Fabio

BOARO Manuele

GRUZDEV Dmitriy

IZAGIRRE Gorka

SOBRERO Matteo

Bahrain Victorious

COLBRELLI Sonny

MOHORIČ Matej

WRIGHT Fred

HAUSSLER Heinrich

CARUSO Damiano

ARASHIRO Yukiya

TRATNIK Jan

Lotto-Soudal

EWAN Caleb

GILBERT Philippe

DEGENKOLB John

KLUGE Roger

DE BUYST Jasper

FRISON Frederik

WELLENS Tim

EF Education-Nippo

HIGUITA Sergio

CORT Magnus

CAICEDO Jonathan

BETTIOL Alberto

LANGEVELD Sebastian

SCULLY Tom

BISSEGGER Stefan

Movistar Team

GARCÍA CORTINA Iván

NORSGAARD Mathias

TORRES Albert

SERRANO Gonzalo

MAS Lluís

OLIVEIRA Nelson

VILELLA Davide

Team DSM

BARDET Romain

TUSVELD Martijn

KRAGH ANDERSEN Søren

DENZ Nico

SÜTTERLIN Jasha

PEDERSEN Casper

COMBAUD Romain

Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux

VLIEGEN Loïc

DE GENDT Aimé

PASQUALON Andrea

ROTA Lorenzo

KOCH Jonas

VAN DER HOORN Taco

VANSPEYBROUCK Pieter

Alpecin-Fenix

VAN DER POEL Mathieu

VAKOČ Petr

VERGAERDE Otto

SBRAGLI Kristian

VERMEERSCH Gianni

DE BONDT Dries

LEYSEN Senne

Total Direct Energie

BONIFAZIO Niccolò

BOASSON HAGEN Edvald

TERPSTRA Niki

TURGIS Anthony

MANZIN Lorrenzo

PETIT Adrien

SIMON Julien

Arkéa-Samsic

BOUHANNI Nacer

CAPIOT Amaury

BARGUIL Warren

MCLAY Daniel

SWIFT Connor

RUSSO Clément

PICHON Laurent

Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec

PELLAUD Simon

VIEL Mattia

BAIS Mattia

CHIRICO Luca

RUMAC Josip

TAGLIANI Filippo

VENCHIARUTTI Nicola

Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè

BATTAGLIN Enrico

MARENGO Umberto

FIORELLI Filippo

ZANA Filippo

VISCONTI Giovanni

TONELLI Alessandro

SAVINI Daniel

Team Novo-Nordisk

PLANET Charles

BRAND Sam

KAMSTRA Brian

LOZANO David

PERON Andrea

POLI Umberto

KUSZTOR Péter

Watching Milan-San Remo on TV

The race is broadcast on Eurosport and GCN Race Pass, with live coverage as well as a highlights package.

Our full guide on how to watch Milan - San Remo can be found here.

Elsewhere in the world, you can 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 : Recent winners

2020: Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma

2019: Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck–Quick-Step

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

Previous editions: 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009

Tim Bonville-Ginn
Tim Bonville-Ginn

Tim Bonville-Ginn is one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter.


Bonville-Ginn started working in cycling journalism while still at school and university for a voluntary site based on Twitter before also doing slots for Eurosport's online web team and has been on location at the Tour de Yorkshire, Tour of Britain, UCI World Championships and various track events. He then joined the Cycling Weekly team in late February of 2020.


When not writing stories for the site, Bonville-Ginn doesn't really switch off his cycling side as he watches every race that is televised as well as being a rider himself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager.


He rides a Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on his local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being his preferred terrain.