Two-time world champion Paolo Bettini describes Milan-San Remo as a “lottery”, and that’s exactly what it is.

At 291km long in 2016, the race is by far the longest in the calendar, meaning that it’s often not the fastest rider who wins, but the one who can survive the seven hours in the saddle.

A relatively flat route comes to life in the final 25km, with an ascent of the Cipressa followed swiftly by the climb of the Poggio and the 3.5km descent to the finish line on the Via Roma.

>>> Cycling Weekly’s preview of Milan-San Remo

Bettini, who took a memorable victory in 2003, describes the different approaches for riders who want to win Milan-San Remo.

The traditional Classics specialists could attack from 25km on the Cipressa, according to Bettini, while the fast men and riders like Fabian Cancellara tend to wait for the Poggio before making their move.

The 2016 edition will take place on Saturday, March 19, with a new champion set to be crowned due to John Degenkolb’s absence with injury.

Cancellara will be looking to win his second San Remo title, having finished on the podium in four of the last five years, while sprinters Alexander Kristoff and Mark Cavendish are also targeting a second career win.