The cycling season is well underway now with the first of five Monuments set to be decided this weekend at Milan-San Remo, with some of the biggest names in the sport set to fight it out for the title.
Taking place this Saturday (March 20) the race known as 'La Classicissima' takes on 299km of roads between the city of Milan and San Remo on the Mediterranean coast. The is race famous for its views across the Med and its tricky climbs in the final 50km, making it a race everyone wants to win.
Some of the world's best are on the start list to try and take the crown, including defending champion Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), but who are the bookmakers tipping as the favourites for the Italian Monument?
Unsurprisingly the top three favourites are Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) with superstar sprinter, Sam Bennett (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) rounding out the top four.
Who's the number one favourite though?
You probably won't be shocked to hear that Oddschecker shows Mathieu van der Poel as the number one favourite at 7/2. This comes as no surprise after winning a stage in the crosswinds at the UAE Tour, an epic display at Strade Bianche as well as two dominant displays at Tirreno-Adriatico, including a 50km solo move.
Next on the list is the defending champion, Van Aert, at 21/5, who comes into the race off the back of an amazing Tirreno-Adriatico where he also took two stage wins, beating Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) in a sprint and the likes of Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) in a time trial. The Belgian also finishing second overall behind Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates).
World champion and former winner, Alaphilippe, at 10/1 also comes into the race on great form with a stage win at Tirreno-Adriatico as well as some other impressive displays including a second place at Strade Bianche behind Van der Poel.
Alaphilippe's team-mates Bennett, at 18/1, and Davide Ballerini, at 23/1, also coming into the race on superb form, Bennett taking two stage wins at Paris-Nice and Ballerini taking three wins this season including Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
One rider that will surely go on the attack as he tries to complete the set of five Monuments is Philippe Gilbert (Lotto-Soudal), who will give you a pretty good return with odds at 66/1.
Other notable riders on the list of favourites include Michael Matthews (BikeExchange) at 24/1, the Australian coming into the race with some solid form on the hills and sprints. Caleb Ewan abandoned Tirreno-Adriatico with gastroenteritis but is still up there with odds at 27/1, while another former winner Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) is at 35/1.
Time trial world champion, Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) is probably one of the long-shot outsiders, but still has odds at 41/1 with team-mate Tom Pidcock at 43/1; better odds than fast-men Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) at 69/1 and Christophe Laporte at 79/1.
Milan-San Remo 2021 odds (Winner- Oddschecker)
Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix - 7/2
Wout van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma - 21/5
Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck - Quick-Step - 10/1
Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck - Quick-Step - 18/1
Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck - Quick-Step - 23/1
Michael Matthews (Aus) Team BikeExchange - 24/1
Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto-Soudal - 27/1
Arnaud Démare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ - 35-1
Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers - 41/1
Tom Pidcock (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers - 43/1
All odds correct at the time of publication
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.
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