Milano-Sanremo 1992, Sean Kelly nips Moreno Argentin to the line
The Risk of Being Alive
One day it’s cold, dark and wet. You wake up the next day, and it’s the same. In fact it goes on like this week after week, and month after month. You risk it and go out for a ride on your winter-hacker. Soon enough, you regret it, but soldier on; encouraged by the promise that you’ll be better for the summer. Motivated, or at other times, zombified, by your friends. And just when you begin to lose all hope, there’s a sudden flicker of sunshine. A tease of dry weather, and you take off your mudguards, or dare to take the Sunday-best out for a ride.
So what’s the change? Why the sudden excitement? For me, it’s the curiosity of the unexpected. Not knowing what’s under the hood after so much time the engine has remained dormant. It’s like seeing a fellow Baroudeur throw away an arm-warmer, or a set of leg-warmers, at the moment the mercury goes above 10 degrees; daring to expose some fragile skin and belief. The message here is clear: it’s a good day to bling it, and if it isn’t, I’m going to pedal hard and smart enough like Stannard – remember Omloop?
Give me that Razzmatazz
Then there’s a sudden buzz of online cycling hype and declarations that the race season is upon us – bring out your racing wheels, cos we are now officially resurrected. Think Paris-Nice, or Tirreno Andratico, where Tasmanian wonder, Richie Porte and Columbian all-star, Nairo Quintana, triumph respectively.
MSR – “It’s a 7 hour bike race…in the cold pouring rain!”
We are on the cusp of a weekend that promises so much from the heavens. A lunar eclipse this Friday!
Yet closer to home, will be a race like no other. So complete with it’s drama, suspense and curiosity, all rolled into one. The fantastic one day race that is Milano-Sanremo (MSR) is coming. With all the thrills, and hopefully no spills, it’s a staggering 293KM long race. The lasting appeal of the MSR is that it caters for all rider-types, from rouleurs, puncheurs, grimpeurs to baroudeurs – everyone has a chance for glory.
The MSR is one of the original Monuments, that heroes of both past and present look forward to.
Last year was no exception. Here’s how it unfolded in 2014:
Last Chance for the Sprinters and the Baroudeurs?
For a great audio-recce into MSR2015, check out an excellent podcast by cyclocosm.com, on their ‘The Recon Ride’.
Additionally, there’s the legendary insights from INRNG who predicts that with the addition of even more challenging climbs, from next year onwards, the character of the race may be disappear completely.
Finally, a very good third perspective is found through Mikkel Condé’s perspective, a popular source for even the commentators!
For the main protagonists, look out for Cav, and BMC head honcho, Philippe Gilbert. Both of whom have openly declared that MSR is their target win for the year. Undoubtedly, there are plenty of contenders preparing for Sunday. Polish TT champ, and oh, as it happens, World Champion, Michal Kwiatkowski joins Cav with an array of Etixx-QuickStep warriors for battle. On other teams, Alexander Kristoff of Katusha will be hot favourite and marked man, as winner of last year’s MSR. Peter Sagan, Michael Matthews and Spaniard, Juanjo Lobato are other strong fighters, who no doubt will be revving on the day. However, I lacked faith in Spartacus last week in the Tirenno Adriatico, but never again. Personally, I’d like to see him add MSR to his palmares one more time. For a selection of 10 riders to look out for – see GCN’s MSR overview.
The Greenhouse Effect
The terrifying descents on the Poggio and the return of the legendary finish on Via Roma, are moments to look forward to. However, each twist and turn will no doubt have us on the edge of our seats. Just like Sean Kelly did, with his white knuckle victory in 1992. It may not be HD, but Kelly’s Barouderus spirit is! (watch from 2.mins, for Kelly’s dynamic chase and explosive sprint for the finish line – Sean Kelly is awesome)
The Milano-Sanremo will be live on Eurosport from 1430 CET on Sunday 22 March 2015, or possibly on some restricted channels on steephill.tv
How thoughtful to have a race where you can go for a Sunday ride, have lunch with the family, and still have time to watch the race live!