Friday, March 16, 2012

Milan-San Remo!

This Saturday, we've got the first of the five Monuments of 2012, Milan-San Remo. It's known in Italy as La Primavera, which mean The Spring, because it takes place in spring (all very complicated, I know).

That awkward moment when you celebrate winning Milan-San Remo before you've actually won...and then you don't win.

While the UCI sets a limit of 280km for one-day races, MSR gets special consideration and is permitted to go to 298km. It's a race where very little happens for the first 280km and then, like, a lot happens.

More specifically, shit often goes down on the Poggio (Italian for knoll or hill), which is a small knoll, hill thing that the cyclists ride up quite quickly. It's not overly steep (3.7%) or long (3.7km) but in the past it has provided the platform for strong riders who feel good to get a small break and then go on to win.

The video below gives a good description of the important bits of the course. It features three-time winner Óscar Freire and four-time winner Erik Zabel. It's hard to know what Freire's on about but fortunately Zabel sticks to German so there are subtitles for him.

In the beginning, they both refer to the famous finish in 2004 when Zabel raised his hands to celebrate victory only to have Freire lunge for the line and snatch the win.

Who will win this year? Not sure. Obviously. Many will have their money on 2009 winner Mark Cavendish. I'd love to see Philippe Gilbert win, but he doesn't quite seem to have hit his stride yet. Cancellera's (2008) looking good too. I can't see last year's winner, Aussie Matt Goss repeating the feat. Then there are many others...

If it's not televised in your part of the world, you'll be able to stream it from Cyclingfans. It's scheduled to finish at around 5pm San Remo time (11pm GMT), so get in a bit before that to see it all go down...

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