Milan-San Remo Cycling Race Preview

Everything is ready for Milan-San Remo cycling race, the first of the 2022 season, slated to begin Saturday, March 19th.
It will mark the 112th edition of the Milan-San Remo, also known as the Spring Classic, where Wout Van Aert, Caleb Ewan, Tadej Pogačar and many more compete in one of the most exciting cycling events of the season.

Milan-San Remo Information

The 112th edition of Milan–San Remo is scheduled for Saturday, March 19th, and is the first Monument of the cycling season, La Primavera, or The Spring. It is the longest, one-day race on the professional cycling calendar, one of the season’s most prestigious and most demanding events.

The race takes place on a route of 293 kilometers (182 miles), culminating with the Cipressa-Poggio combo before a technical downhill into San Remo. It was first held in 1907, and every year since except for 1916 (World War I) and 1944-1945 (World War II).

Interestingly, all but six of the first 26 races were won by Italian cyclists. However, since 2007, there’s been only one Italian champion of Milan-San Remo (Vincenzo Nibali, 2018). Only 14 riders won it more than once throughout the race’s history.

Eddy Merckx leads the all-time standings with seven wins, with Costante Girardengo (six) and Gino Bartali and Erik Zabel (four each) next on the list. Italy (51 wins) leads the nations, ahead of Belgium (22), France (14), Germany (seven) and Spain (five).

Who Are The Favorites?

Milan-San Remo was long known as the “sprinters classic,” but that tag has long been outdated. The last five editions of the race were not won by sprinters, but rather attackers, so when we discuss favorites, it’s only fair to look at the latter.

If we look at the last five races, the Poggio proved to be too demanding for many. Last year, Alaphilippe’s attack was followed by Van Aert, before Van der Poel came with nine more riders.

The group then plunged towards San Remo, and before they reached the city, Jasper Stuyven took the lead. Kragh Andersen rejoined them and pushed hard, but couldn’t catch the Belgian.

Stuyven stayed cool and kicked again in the final 100 meters, holding off the chasers to claim his maiden victory at Milan-San Remo. He defeated Ewan, who sprinted into second place, ahead of the 2020 champion, Wout Van Aert.

Looking back at the 2020 race, Van Aert outperformed Julian Alaphilippe. Three years ago, it was Alaphilippe who claimed the “W” after a decisive move on the Poggio. Peter Sagan, Trentin, Van Aert, Valverde, Naesen and Kwiatkowski all were close behind.

Back in 2018, Nibali created a sizable gap before the top of the Poggio, allowing him to zoom down to the descent and claim his maiden victory. A similar thing happened in 2017, when Kwiatkowski outsprinted Sagan and Alaphilippe after holding them off in the descent of the Poggio.

History as a guide, those who excel in descent are riders to watch at the La Primavera. However, it’s tough to look past those who can crest the Poggio solo.

As such, it’s not surprising to see Van Alert, Ewan Pogačar as the main three favorites. Do not look past Alaphilippe, Andersen and Jasper Philipsen as outsiders.

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