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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, March 19, 2021

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Teams headed to Milano-San Remo preview the big race

Team Qhubeka-Assos sent me this preview:

The reigning European and Italian champion Giacomo Nizzolo will spearhead Team Qhubeka-Assos’ hopes at Milan-Sanremo on Saturday.

For Africa's WorldTour team this race is particularly poignant with Gerald Ciolek's 2013 victory, in epic conditions, catapulting the team onto the global stage.

Gerlad Ciolek

Gerald Ciolek wins the 2013 edition of Milano-San Remo. Sirotti photo

Nizzolo finished an excellent fifth at La Classicissima (sic) in 2020 and will be hoping for a repeat of a similar level of performance this Saturday, on a day of racing that will cover 299km.

Milan-Sanremo lineup:
Giacomo Nizzolo
Victor Campenaerts
Simon Clarke
Michael Gogl
Bert-Jan Lindeman
Emil Vinjebo
Lukasz Wisniowski

Giacomo Nizzolo:
"Preparation for Sanremo this year has been good but it hasn't been perfect because I had a few issues a month ago so that for sure could have made things a bit better. Besides that I feel like I'm improving, getting better and I feel a step higher than two weeks ago, so I'm confident.

"Last year's race was special because of being in August but also for me personally it was the first time I started in Milan with good, actually perfect, condition. In some of the previous years I'd always had some problems but last year I can say that I was well set for Sanremo and I felt very good in that period. It was also nice for myself that I proved that I could be there playing for a good result, when I'm in shape.

"The goal or dream is of course always to win. Realistically if the race takes a good turn for the sprinters then I believe that I can be there to play for a good result, and in a sprint you never know what can happen. But the first thing is to feel good all day long and be there when the race is decided, and hopefully I can sprint in the front group.

"I'm super-proud to wear the European and Italian champion jersey. For me it's an extra motivation of course and I also feel an additional responsibility. It gives me a "nice" pressure to perform to my absolute maximum. So I think it's going to be an incredible feeling to start Milan-Sanremo in this jersey."

Team BikeExchange sent me this Milano-San Remo update:

Third place finisher in 2015, Michael Matthews will lead Team BikeExchange this weekend as they hunt for a second victory in the iconic cycling monument, Milan – San Remo, on Saturday 20th March.

Simon Gerrans

Simon Gerrans beats Fabian Cancellara to win the 2012 edition of Milano-San Remo for GreenEdge cycling (now called Team BikeExchange). Sirotti photo

After a strong showing last week in Paris-Nice, his first race of the 2021 season, the 30-year-old Australian has displayed good early season form and will have an impressive Team BikeExchange roster built around him, fully committed to the plan.

For 2021, the 112th edition of the Italian Classic, the riders will complete 299km and see some minor changes to the traditional parcours, with the Turchino replaced by the Colle di Giovo. The climbs are similar; long and rising at shallow gradients and therefore shouldn’t change the dynamic of the race too much. The riders then descend towards the Riviera, re-joining the traditional coastal route in Savona with 112km left to race.

Team BikeExchange at Milan - San Remo:
Luke Durbridge (AUS)
Michael Hepburn (AUS)
Chris Juul-Jensen (DEN)
Alexander Konychev (ITA)
Michael Matthews (AUS)
Luka Mezgec (SLO)
Robert Stannard (AUS)

Michael Matthews – 3rd in 2015:
“I will arrive at Milan-San Remo after a strong week at Paris-Nice. We had great work from all the team, and it was really good for me, both physically and also mentally to be back with my GreenEDGE teammates.

“Going to my next challenge of Milan – San Remo, I feel even more motivated to do well and our target is to fight to arrive until the last few meters at the front and play our best chances for victory.

“It will only be my second race of the 2021 season, but I feel good, and we will give our best shot at this unique and special race.”

Matthew White – Head Sport Director:
“It’s a race that we have had success at in the past. We won in our first year as a team in 2012 with Simon Gerrans and then we had a podium finish with Michael Matthews in 2015.

“One of the reasons why Michael Matthews came back to this team was to target the Monuments and Milan-San Remo is the first one of the year.

“I believe it’s a race that Michael can win, and I think going into the race, he showed us that he has good form in Paris-Nice and we are certainly aiming to win “SanRemo” on Saturday. We have a really strong and dedicated team to look after Michael.

“I believe that the new route with the Colle di Giovo instead of the Turchino won’t change the race too much and Milan-Sanremo will remain a very predictable race, especially with the type of riders that are winning at the moment at Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Nice. I think it’s going to all come down to the Poggio.”

2021 Milan – San Remo Race Details:
Saturday, 20th March: Milan to San Remo – 299km

Bahrain Victorious announced their Milan-San Remo team:

Spring is coming and the Classicissima too. After the unprecedented last year’s summer edition with a revolutionized course, the Milano-Sanremo returns to its traditions. The 112th edition of the longest one-day race on the WorldTour calendar (299 km) is scheduled for Saturday March 20th. Except for the ascent Colle di Giovo, replacing the Turchino Pass closed due to a landslide, it will maintain its iconic soul, with the fantastic route running alongside the Ligurian coast. The peloton will face a sequence of climbs, including the three Capi (Capo Mele, Capo Cervo and Capo Berta), before the most awaited ascents, the Cipressa and the Poggio, where the race is heating up, until the finish in Via Roma.

Vincenzo Nibali

Vincenzo Nibali wins in 2018. Sirotti photo

The race is one of the most loved by our team, as we have sweet memories of the victory in 2018. Team Bahrain Victorious line-up will include riders that have a special relationship with this race: Heinrich Haussler 2nd in 2009, Sonny Colbrelli who will make his 8th participation and took three top ten results so far, and Matej Mohorič, who was 5th in 2019 and 10th last year:

“I am very motivated for Saturday. I will try and make the most out of any opportunities that present in the final and possibly improve my 5th place result from 2019. We also have my teammate Sonny in case it comes back together after Poggio and we will work together in case we are both there for the final sprint”.

The experienced Damiano Caruso, Yukiya Arashiro, Fred Wright and Jan Tratnik – the last two both at their first appearance at this Monument race – round up our 7-man line-up to Milano-Sanremo.

Alberto Volpi, Team Bahrain Victorious Sports Director, shares his thoughts about this race, that he knows very well, having raced it and then managing the strategies on the team car: “Milano-Sanremo is apparently the easiest Monument, but at the same time the most uncertain one. For sure the one with the most thrilling finale. The Poggio and its descent until the final meters in Via Roma is the most adrenaline-filled part in cycling classics. We aim to be there in the mix with our two key riders. We have two players with experience, both in case of a late attack of a reduced group, as Matej Mohorič, or a bunch sprint with Sonny Colbrelli. We have a solid group to support them. Although we are maybe not named among the favourites for this edition and we are competing with some of the strongest riders in the world, we are highly motivated and we will try to have legs, head and bravery to be protagonist. It will be fundamental to save the energies and arrive in the final the freshest as possible, after such a long race”.

Team Bahrain Victorious line-up for Milano-Sanremo: Yukiya Arashiro, Damiano Caruso, Sonny Colbrelli, Heinrich Haussler, Matej Mohorič, Jan Tratnik, Fred Wright.

Here's the line-up announcement from UAE Team Emirates:

After a recent victory by Tadej Pogačar at Tirreno-Adriatico, UAE will hope to continue their good form on Italian soil as they set their sights on the next target: Milan- San Remo.

The team line-up has a previous winner of the race in its ranks in Alexander Kristoff who conquered the 300km race, the longest race of the professional calendar, in 2014.

Alexander Kristoff

Alexander Kristoff wins in 2014. Sirotti photo

Taking charge of the team will be Team Manager Joxean Matxin Fernandez (Spa) alongside Sports Directors Marco Marzano (Ita) and Manuele Mori (Ita) who will lead a group of seven riders:

-Sven Erik Bystrom (Nor)
-Alessandro Covi (Ita)
-Davide Formolo (Ita)
-Fernando Gaviria (Col)
-Alexander Kristoff (Nor)
-Maximiliano Richeze (Arg)
-Matteo Trentin (Ita)

Alexander Kristoff: “It will be a hard race for sure. Like always you’ll have riders who will attack on the Cipressa and the Poggio and then the rest of us who want to arrive in a sprint. For us, we have options for both scenarios so we will see how the race develops and play our cards on the day.“

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