Milan-San Remo opens with a long stretch on the Po Plain. After 143.5 kilometres the riders have to cross Passo del Turchino to reach the Mediterranean. A long and easy climb. The average gradientover 25 kilometres is just 1.4%. Upon ‘cresting’ the ride is flat again for a long time. It’s only after 241.8 kilometre the first hill pops up. Capo Mele is short and steep and followed by similar climbs, Capo Cervo and Capo Berta. We’re only getting warmed up!
What creates the most difficulty in Milan-San Remo is the sheer distance, with this year’s race 294 kilometres long. After so long in the saddle, the finale is always exciting as the dynamics between those looking to escape and those looking to keep it together create a fast and frenetic ending. It kicks off with the Cipressa, 5.5 kilometres at 4.1% and a steepest section of 9% a little over halfway up. A great place for a breakaway as there are just 22 kilometres remaining at the summit.
After the Cipressa, the Pompeiana would have been the next obstacle, but the climb was skipped due to safety concerns after a harsh winter. This omission has a huge impact on the race with sprinters beleiving in their chances again.
On to the famous Poggio, with just 6 kilometres to go. Last chance to escape the bunch with riders having varying degrees of success over the years. 2012 saw Fabian Cancellara, Simon Gerrans and Vincenzo Nibali succeed in breaking away from the decimated pack on the Poggio and the Australian proved best in the sprint.
The Poggio is just 3.7 kilometres long, but after almost 300 kilometres of racing it takes a huge effort for the bigger riders to get over at the front. It peaks at about 8% with 1 kilometre left to climb. The descent is spectacular with riders flying through the corners at high speeds and provides opportunity for riders like Nibali to attack and drop their rivals with their descending skills.
The last 3 kilometres are flat and perfect for any sprinter who is still in the mix.
Milan – San Remo 2014: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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