Last fall, the road over the Turchino was damaged by a landslide and is not due to reopen until April. So we will see the second consecutive Milan-San Remo without the pass. Last year’s ‘La Primavera’ took place in midsummer and the mayors of several towns along the Ligurian coastline refused to close their roads, which meant the Turchino could not be included.
This year, the Turchino will be replaced by the Colle di Giovo, roughly 40 kilometres to the west. The climbs are similar – long and rising at very shallow gradients. The riders then descend towards the Riviera, re-joining the traditional coastal route in Savona with 112 kilometres left to race.
The Capo Mele, Capo Cerva and Capo Berta reappear in Milan-San Remo after a one-year hiatus. Not hard in itself, the attraction of the capi is that the race finally starts to catch fire by now. There are almost 40 kilometres remaining after the Capo Berta.
Tension further rises when the riders move through San Lorenzo al Mare, the village at the foot of the Cipressa. The ascent is 5.5 kilometres long and the average gradient sits at 4.1%. Usually, the sprinters are struggling on the Cipressa, notably in the 9% section halfway up the climb.
Still 20 kilometres remaining at the top. The riders descend back to the coast to enter the Poggio 9 kilometres on the flat later. The 3.7 kilometres climb averages 3.7%, while the steepest ramp – 8% – appears 1 kilometre before the summit. A 3.3 kilometres descend flies down into San Remo before the last 2.2 kilometres of Milan-San Remo are flat.
The last four editions saw decisive moves on the Poggio. In 2017, Kwiatkowski, Sagan and Alaphilippe attacked on the climb, and Kwiat won the sprint in San Remo; in 2018, Nibali opted for a similar scenario in solo style; and in 2019 Alaphilippe initiated a strong break on the Poggio before he outsprinted the lot on the Via Roma.
Last year, Alaphilippe and Van Aert were the first riders over the Poggio before the Flemish powerhouse edged out the title defender in a two-up sprint. Matthews sprinted to third place, 2 seconds later.
Milan-San Remo 2021 starts at 9.40 and the race is expected to finish around 17.10 – both are local times.
Milan-San Remo 2021: route, profiles, more
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