Milan - San Remo hangs in balance after Poggio climb requires €10 million repair

The mayor has said the situation is so serious he thinks cancellation would be more likely than altering the route

Julian Alaphilippe leads the peloton up the Poggio at Milan - San Remo 2019 (Luca BettiniI/AFP via Getty Images)
(Image credit: AFP via Getty Images)

The first Monument of the 2020 season, Milan - San Remo, faces a route alteration or even cancellation as repairs to the famous Poggio climb continue.

The mayor of San Remo, Alberto Biancheri, has said heavy rainfall and landslides have caused €10 million worth of damage and repairs are still ongoing with only three months to go until the one-day race.

Biancheri apparently said in a recent meeting that the race "could not be held" as landslides have blocked the roads of the Poggio since December.

The severe response is due to the €10 million price tag attached to the repairs which would encourage local authorities to drag out the work, according to Belgian newspaper La Dernier Heure.

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Therefore, race organiser RCS Sport, who also run the Giro d'Italia, will apparently to try resolve the issue by stumping up the cash themselves so that riders can role out of Milan on March 21 to contest the first big prize of the 2020 season.

Biancheri also cast doubt on the seemingly straightforward resolution of modifying the course just for this edition, a decision that would undoubtedly cause celebration amongst the peloton's sprinters.

However, another report has emerged with a tourism official saying that at the moment the situation has improved, but the condition of the roads must be "constantly monitored".

"It's all true," Alessandro Sindoni who works on the area's tourism council told Tuttobici. "The geological situation of that area has always been critical, since the nineteenth century. For a few days we were forced to stop the traffic of the residents, but now the situation has returned to normal, although it is clear that it must be constantly monitored. 

"Will we be at risk? Right now, no, but we must hope that the weather conditions will help us," Sindoni added.

Deceuninck - Quick-Step's Julian Alaphilippe won the 2019 edition of La Primavera after making the front group that went clear on the Poggio. The Frenchman had attacked on this last climb of the Monument to rip the race apart before sprinting for victory ahead of Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) and Movistar's Alejandro Valverde.

One rider who will be determined to take the 2020 Milan - San Remo title is Alaphilippe's former team-mate Philippe Gilbert. Now at Lotto-Soudal, the Belgian rider will be looking to secure victory in order to count all five Monuments amongst his impressive palmarès.

The 37-year-old won a first Paris-Roubaix title in 2019 to bring him within one more victory of sealing a clean sweep of the five Classics.

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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.

Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).

I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.