Favourite last year, the young Slovak certainly showed no fear in taking the race to his rivals. The problem was that he did too much, and the more invisible Ciolek was much fresher for the sprint.
A good build up this year with a stage win in Oman and Tirreno-Adriatico as well as 2nd place in Strade Bianche, Sagan has the form to contest the finale – the question is if he can pick the right moment to get rid of the faster men like Cavendish.
Well well well. From claiming he’d likely never race La Primavera again to top of the bookmakers lists just 1 week before the race. It’s not just the removal of the Pompeiana that has the hopes up as Cavendish displayed in stage 6 of Tirreno-Adriatico that he is climbing in a way not seen since 2009 – and we all know what happened then.
The speed up the Poggio will be hard for him, but his team are so strong that they may be able to cover the attacks. If he’s in the mix at the top there are not many who can beat him to the finish line.
Always in the mix in San Remo, Cancellara has just one victory for his efforts, that in 2008. He’s had a couple of 2nd places since then and it seems ‘Spartacus’ is always the main man for initiating attacks on the Poggio.
The problem for the Swiss is that the route isn’t selective enough for the strongest man to always win. He’s not a bad sprinter, but often faster riders manage to hang on to his back wheel leaving him with an impossible task on the finishing straight.
That said, he’ll certainly try again to repeat his 2008 escape.
Pretenders Milan-San Remo
The German sprinter has never performed well in San Remo, but a favourable route and his form to date in 2014 mean he cannot be ruled out.
Degenkolb impressed early on in Paris-Nice but faded in the latter stages. Certainly possesses the attributes required for a race like San Remo. It would be the biggest win of his career if he could pull it off and without Kittel present, he will have sole leadership for Giant-Shimano and thus the support necessary to be there in the finale.
The Dutchman rode a phenomonal Paris-Nice, winning 2 stages. A good climber with a strong finishing kick, a serious dark horse for the race.
Milan – San Remo 2014: Route maps, height profiles, and more
Click on the images to zoom.