Milano-Sanremo. La Primavera. The first of the Monuments. The longest day.
The Italian one-day classic is eagerly anticipated and carefully analyzed.
Cannondale-Drapac brings a spirited young squad to Milan for the 108th running of the Italian one-day classic. The team of eight hopes to be in the mix when the race hits the Poggio.
“Milano-Sanremo is a race of many outcomes,” said sport director Fabrizio Guidi. “The last few years, it was a sprint but it’s never certain. We can’t predict it. There arrives 40 riders or three. It is always some surprise. For me, that is a key point of the race.
“I think we have riders to put up their hands for all the outcomes,” Guidi added. “We can be a surprise factor on Saturday.”
The course for the 2017 La Primavera is unchanged from the previous year. The first half of the 291-kilometer race is flat and fast. The Passo del Turchino comes around the mid-point of the race – at 142 kilometers – and marks the highest point of the race. It’s too early to factor into the action that will follow.
It’s in the final 60 kilometers that the race truly captivates. There are five short climbs that span this period: Capo Mele, Capo Cervo, Capo Berta, the Cipressa and the Poggio. The first three may thin down the field. The final two serve as inspiration for race-winning moves and selections.
“I’m really looking forward to doing the 300 kilometers,” said Milan-Sanremo first-timer Toms Skujins. “It might sound silly, but I’ve never raced that long of a distance. However, I’m most looking forward to opening the spring classics with the first Monument of the year. It’s a huge race around the world and always a pleasure to spectate. I’m stoked be a part of the actors this time around.”
Skujins is joined by Alberto Bettiol, Nate Brown, Simon Clarke, Will Clarke, Kristijan Koren, Tom Scully and Tom Van Asbroeck. Clarke recently finished in sixth place in Larciano and in tenth place on the first road stage at Tirreno-Adriatico while supporting Rigoberto Uran to eighth overall. Bettiol’s work at Tirreno was integral in Uran’s general classification and stage results.
“It’s a good team, with some more experienced than the others,” said Guidi. “It’s a challenging race for everyone. We want an aggressive interpretation of the race. For sure, we’re not the team to control. Our interest is to be active and have riders like Alberto and Simon who are ready at the end.”
Skujins will carry a Velon tracking device from northern Italy down to and along the Mediterranean coastline. His data – speed, acceleration, heart rate and power – will be shown in real-time on the Velon website and the Velon app for iOS and Android as well as during the television broadcast. The Milano-Sanremo data capture is part of the newly inked deal with RCS.
“Having Velon onboard at any race is awesome for the spectators,” said Skujins. “Just having that extra amount of info on what’s going on in the bunch makes watching on the telly a bit more exciting. The tracker is such a small thing to carry, but it provides a lot more excitement for my supporters, who can see in real time how hard I’m working and what it takes to be in the race.”
Visit the official Milan-Sanremo website.
Find Milan-Sanremo results here.
Follow @Milano_Sanremo, the official Twitter account.
Use #MSR to follow the race live on Twitter.
Watch the finish of Milan Sanremo from 1:30pm CET on RAI Sport. Eurosport coverage begins at 2:15pm. The race should end around 5:15pm.
Cannondale-Drapac for 2017 Milan-Sanremo:
Alberto Bettiol (ITA)
Nate Brown (USA)
Simon Clarke (AUS)
Will Clarke (AUS)
Kristijan Koren (SVN)
Tom Scully (NZL)
Toms Skujins (LVA)
Tom Van Asbroeck (BEL)