Although named a sprinters classic, fast finishers don’t always have it their way on the Via Roma in San Remo. Late attackers with a brilliant descent spoiled their parties in the last two editions. Title defender Vincenzo Nibali did it with a solo after opening up a gap on the Poggio, while Michal Kwiatkowski outsprinted Peter Sagan and Julian Alaphilippe in 2017. The trio broke clear on the Poggio to hold off the chasing pack with a flying descent to the line.
Still, Milan-San Remo is the perfect race for sprinters who do not back away from an occasional climb. The race has thrown up more than its fair share of surprises in its history, still, sprinters who are in the mix at the top of the Poggio are the ones who are the likely victors.
Caleb Ewan’s name springs to mind. The Australian won last year’s peloton sprint behind Nibali, while he boosted his confidence recently with a steep uphill sprint victory in the UAE Tour’s Hatta Dam stage. When it comes to late attacks Matej Mohoric is not to be ruled out. Arguably, the Slovenian is the best descender in the peloton.
The start list features a lot of former winners. Alexander Kristoff (2014), John Degenkolb (2015), Arnaud Démare (2016), Michal Kwiatkowski (2017), Vincenzo Nibali (2018) – they all tasted success in La Primavera.
Favourites 2019 Milan – San Remo
***** Caleb Ewan, Fernando Gaviria, Matej Mohoric
**** Julian Alaphilippe, Elia Viviani, Peter Sagan, Dylan Groenewegen
*** Michal Kwiatkowski, Tom Dumoulin, Arnaud Démare, Magnus Cort, Sam Bennett
** Sonny Colbrelli, Matteo Trentin, Michael Matthews, John Degenkolb
* Vincenzo Nibali, Philippe Gilbert, Alexander Kristoff, Davide Cimolai