Milano - San Remo

Milan-San Remo Race Guide

Preview of the 102nd edition

By Richard Simpson   Last updated: 19th March 2011

One of the five prestigious 'Monuments' of cycling, Milan-San Remo is a one-day Classic like no other - an imposing test that many riders strive their entire careers to triumph in.

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This first Classic of the season is also the longest, measuring an imposing 298km, and that distance alone ensures 'La Classicissima' is never a race for the faint hearted.

Team Sky's squad go into the race in fine form with five of the eight riders that took part in Tirreno-Adriatico in action again, seeing Kurt-Asle Arvesen (rider number 205), Edvald Boasson Hagen (202), Juan Antonio Flecha (204), Thomas Löfkvist (207) and Ian Stannard (208) being joined by Paris-Nice trio Michael Rogers (206), Bradley Wiggins (201) and British champion Geraint Thomas (203).

Here we take a look at the route for the 102nd edition of this great race:

The action begins at 9:45am local time and the peloton heads out of Milan in a southerly direction and onto the plains of Lombardia. The flat terrain should allow most of the riders to ease their way into the day without too many problems, although expect to see some early breakaways as the teams battle it out for air-time.

The road begins to ramp up for the first time at Campo Ligure (128.7km) and continues to do so all the way to the legendary summit of the Passo del Turchino (a 23km ascent with an average gradient of 1.5%). This 532m climb is no longer as decisive as it used to be, but its tunnel remains one of the iconic sections of the season for race fans around the world.

Once the riders emerge from the darkness they descend all the way down to the coastline in Genoa and then continue south west along the Ligurian Sea.

For the fourth year in succession Le Mànie (318m) has been included to give the riders a short, sharp shock just after they pass through Savona (204km). At 4.5km the ascent might not be the longest, but when you factor in an average gradient of 6.7%, it will definitely test the legs of the peloton.

With that done and dusted the next 60km are dominated - as usual - by the three quickfire ascents know as the Capi. The minor peaks of Mele (3km at 2%), Cervo (3km at 2.4%), and Berta (2.5km at 5.1%) will eat away steadily at the riders' energy reserves and their affects could well have a bearing later in the day.

The action will really hot up as the peloton reaches the penultimate climb on the Cipressa (5.7 km at 4.1%). Crashes are commonplace as the riders jostle for position at the front and many brave soles in the past have used it as their springboard for a late breakaway attempt 20km from the finish line.

The brief flat section that follows will give the sprinters one last chance to steady themselves before the exertions to come, while their team-mates will attempt to claw back any riders that have raced free before they make it to the Poggio.

This final climb begins just 10km from the line and over 4km, rises with an average gradient of 3.7% before topping out at 160m. Attacks from here have proved successful in recent years - just look at Filippo Pozzato's triumph in 2006 - but descending skills will be vital if any attacker is going to stand a chance of survival.

The traditional arrival point on the Via Roma has been overlooked again this year in favour of the Piazzale Carlo Dapporto and the action promises be flat out as the riders hurtle down the wide, straight Lungomare Italo Calvino.

TV coverage: Live on British Eurosport between 1345-1630.

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