This year’s Milan-San Remo is likely to be one of the fastest ever editions of the race, with strong tailwinds expected along the Mediterranean coast on Saturday afternoon and a number of riders and teams determined to create a rapid, selective race.
Several riders and teams carried out final reconnaissance rides over the Cipressa and Poggio on Wednesday and Thursday, enjoying sunny, spring-like temperatures.
The forecast for Saturday’s race predicts similar conditions, with an increase in the wind speed along the coast.
The riders will roll out of Abbiategrasso with the sun breaking through and temperatures of around 8°C. There will be a slight headwind on the plain that leads towards the Turchino, which will perhaps help the early break open a consistent lead.
The weather usually changes from the Italian winter to spring when the riders hit the Mediterranean coast near Genoa. Temperatures will be close to 15°C as the Milan-San Remo peloton turns right and begins the 130km ride towards the Via Roma.
There will be a slight crosswind for a while, but after Finale Ligure, with 85km to race, the tailwinds will increase and perhaps touch 30kph as the riders near San Remo.
Directeurs sportifs and their performance staff have been monitoring the weather so they can understand the expected flow of the race and fine tune their strategies.
“For sure there’s going to be a tailwind and even quite strong tailwind. That means it’s going to be a very, very fast race, a super-fast race,” Movistar directeur sportif Max Sciandri, who went close to victory at Milan-San Remo during his racing career, told Cyclingnews.
“Combined with the factor that some teams want a hard race, that will mean it’ll be even faster. Pogacar and UAE Team Emirates for sure want a hard race and a fast race, starting from the bottom of the Cipressa. We can expect them to try to hurt and even drop some sprinters on the Cipressa and perhaps isolate some of Pogacar’s rivals.
“The Poggio will again be decisive, and I imagine that Pogacar has learnt his lesson after making too many attacks on the lower slopes last year. The tailwind along the coast will become a strong crosswind and even headwind on some sections of the Poggio, so any mistaken attacks could prove costly.”
Movistar have Fernando Gaviria as their protected rider for Milan-San Remo and so will be hoping any attacks on the Poggio cancel each other out and lead to some kind of sprint finish on the Via Roma. The Movistar line-up also includes Ivan Garcia Cortina and Alex Aranburu.
“As always Milan-San Remo is tactically quite a simple race to understand but very difficult to predict and get right,” Sciandri said. “With the weather conditions I expect a fast race and the Classics attacks on the Poggio. After that, anything can happen. That’s the magic of Milan-San Remo.”