Milano San Remo 2015 Cycling Preview
Milano San Remo gets under way Sunday morning the race from Milan to San Remo is the first classic of the season and the best chance a sprinter will have all season to win one. Its a special test of just under 300km a hell of a long day in the saddle with a few short climbs thrown in for good measure including the famous final climb of the poggio. The first 250km are often about narrowing the field and then the racing begins in the final 50km as the moves begin. While the finish can come down to a sprint the previous 300km or so tend to shake up who does have the best sprint.
They race from Milan to the coast then make there way to San Remo. For the full route click here. The finish over the poggio is key an attack will always go as those not confident of any chance of winning the sprint go for it. The poggio is not overly long but it has some ramps and the descent does have some bends to it so its risk reward. Its just over 2km to the finish line from there if there is an organised chase its tricky to stay away. So lets see if we will have a repeat winner or a new name on the honours role.
Kristoff lines up for his defence. Hes being superb in sprints this year in all conditions and this is suited very much to him winning again. Not so sure about his supporting cast are Kolobnev and Paolini ready to get him as far as the poggio with riders more aware of his threat they might be reluctant to chase with him in the group. Ag2r didn’t feature so much in this last year and again they don’t have a clear candidate. Both Nocentini and Bakelants are good riders but even a top 20 would be good for them. Nocentini had a 7th in 2008. Bakelants had his first ride in this last ending in the top 50.
Androni have two stand out names in there line up. Pellizotti and Gatto. Pellizotti has been mixed in this race a 9th in his prime but recent he has had a 63rd and DNF. Gatto looks a better chance, a 64th last year was a downward showing for him. Astana of course send Poggio aggressor Nibali who will no doubt lay down his annual attack on the days final climb, it is a worry that he is holding his best form back till later than usual. The team does have plenty strength in depth. Boom was 32nd when last racing here in 2012. Bozic was 21st in 2013 but well back last season. Scarponi is well able for these tests and was 6th in 2011 the last time he raced here. Grivko was 26th in 2010 and has always finished the race.
Bardini have a bit of talent in there line up, Colbrelli was in the top 10 last year but he has not looked as in form this year so far. Battaglin has been decent this year and had his best 43rd here last year. Colbrelli looks better suited if up for the task. BMC as always are rich in one day racing talent. Gilbert has two podium finishes in this race. His form this year indicates he is more than ready for this race. His record is seriously impressive. He has finished all 11 times he started this race. He has had 6 top 20s in that time. Oss looks superb so far this year he has a decent record in this race and expect he will be helping late on. Van Averamet has also finished all his starts in the race, 9th his best from 7 attempts. He has looked in prime form this year.
Bora got the call for this race, they didn’t race last year and most of there squad will not have most experience of a race like this. Barta and Bennett look there top options here but I am not sure how either will do in a race of this nature. CCC are also here along with the Giro invite but sans Rebillon as advised by the Giro. Bole the leader hasnt stood out before here so its hard to see if they can threaten. The same could be said of the Bouhanni led Cofidis. Petit is another option but this is a first start here for both.
Colombia also get the invite and again like mentioned before its a unique test for there riders. I couldn’t for life of me pick the rider who does best here its so different to what there best suited to. Etiix had Cavendish in 5th and Stybar in 7th last year both those riders line up again but also Kwiatkowski is added to the power filled line up he DNF last year. Vandenbergh the big man should also be there to help late on along with another one of the strong support team.
For FDJ Demare was 34th last season and he leads them again as there best option this time round. But Offredo also lines up and his record in this is superb for a rider not considered as top level. In 5 starts he has 4 top 20s and a best of 7th he is worth watching. IAM will be wondering if Chavanel has one more big season in him he is certainly not the same force lately. Chavanel did manage 10th in Paris Nice so there is fire in the belly yet, 9th in Sol also. 4th in 2013 was his best showing and it is a race he has enjoyed. Haussler also lines up least we forget his 2009 loss to Cavendish that still haunts him today. He is a great man for race shape and has knocked on the door this year already. He had two top 20s in 4 attempts since his second.
Lampre have a triple threat of talent for me here Pozzatto is a past winner and this course is the one he had that win on he also looks to be showing signs of being near his best this season. Watch for Bonifazio also a number of people are on at 100/1 and greater for this guy who won in Lugano in nice style this year he is the teams wildcard (its his debut here). Rui Costa is super talented and in theory he should like this race but hes barely cracked the top 50 in 3 attempts here (last in 2012). Lotto look strong handed but Greipel is the focus with his season built around arriving here in good shape. The strength of the squad they send is impressive. Beockmans and Gallopin (35th 2014) come in with recent wins. Roelandts is a threat with a 23rd last year and top 20 the year before. Wellens is a huge talent and rides this for the first time he will be valuable. 24th last year was Greipels best but he likely comes in with the best possible shape he has had to suit this race.
Valverde leads Movistar now he is back racing in Italy again. He was 24th way back in 2006 his last start here. Lobato has had a superb year so far and he was also a surprise 4th last year and should again fancy himself to make the final cut and push for the win. The line up is jammed full of talent and podium hopes will have to be high. Visconti hasnt done bad here before as has Rojas who did fall flat last year. MTN line up stronger than ever for this race and they contain there 2013 winner when they snuck a team into this race. Ciolek has shown signs again this year and he handles the rougher conditions. He was 9th last year and should be up there once again. Boassen Hagen has yet to break the top 20 in this race so should focus on helping Ciolek. Goss has a mixed affair as a past champion but apart from a 15th he failed to finish twice in his 4 attempts at this race. Cummings once raced this in 2007 and returns in fine form to provide key support.
Orica did not enjoy the race last year with a best of 49th with Impey last year. They might have a suprise out of there young and talented line up, Impey might not be the best suited for this but the focus should be on Matthews. He hasn’t shone in his two times here so its hard to tell how it will go. Cannondale are also very much open handed for this. Both of Langveld and Navarduskas came in the top 20 last season. Langveld has a decent record in the race while Nav is the man with proven form this season. Interesting to see if a return to form can improve Moser on his second start.
Giant have John Degenkolb most will remember he was better than his 39th. He was 5th in 2012 and 18th in 2013 and its a race that suits his style. Tom Dumoulin is his strongest support, but he was 126th his only time here so how will he fare. Lotto Jumbo keep VanMarcke for this so they have a very open minded squad. Martens had a 15th here before. Leezer was 31st last season. Novo Nordisk got a real reach invite here and its hard to see them taking to this huge challenge. Sky have a notable challenge with last years 3rd Swift likely to be involved once again. Puccio an under rated rider came 12th while re signing Nordhaug who was a top 20. Also watch out Stannard was 6th in 2013 last time he raced here. Interested to see if Thomas can make any mark on this race.
Sagan took some pressure off with his stage win last week and he leads the side here he has some strong support. Sagan being superb from the off in the race always in the top 20 in 4 attempts with three top 10s. Lets not forget Bennati he has a superb record in the race. 18th last year he has three top 10s. Last but not least Trek are led by top man Cancellara who is a past winner and has animated this race many times. Canc was superb in the time trials in Tirreno and looks to be back to his peak.His form over the last 5yrs is amazing here (2,3,2,2,17) since his win here. His sprint after 290km seems not to change one bit. Nizolo starts for just a 2nd time coming off a nice win for him he should provide good support. Felline was 20th last year and he is in very good shape this year.
Milano San Remo 2015 Winner:
With some rain likely the bike handling will be tested and you will need to be a bit hard. The wind should also be favourable to attacks with tailwinds expected.
Already on Ciolek at 100/1 plus he is worth siding with at still 80/1, he handles the terrain, distance and any rain plays into his hands. I had mentioned Pozzatto at decent odds before hand and still 80/1 I feel he can’t be left off. Swift also is showing a bit talent this year and the 50s with Boyles exceeds his betfair price. Cancellara whos record I spoke about likely comes in best shape he has had in 2-3 years, 14/1 is too generous to ignore. Haussler is worth considering at 80s but thats only with 888sport. I have got the little bit I could get on.
Last but not least I think Navardauskas has one big race in him this year and he could go very close at large odds. Stybar came to mind but I fear he has his work cut out for Cavendish while Valverde lacks that big kick any more. Sky don’t go into this with just Swift and we should not forget Stannard and what he can do for a big lad 125/1 is way too big.
.3pt Gerald Ciolek 80/1 betvic (100 betfair)
.3pts Filippo Pozzato 80/1 sportingbet 888sport (85.0 Betfair)
.3pts Ben Swift 50/1 boylesports
1pts Fabian Cancellara 14/1 betvictor
(Heinrich Haussler 80/1 888sport if you can get on)
.2pt Ramunas Navardauskas 100/1 various
.25pts Ian Stannard 125/1 bet365
Milano San Remo Match Bets:
In Bold are the key match bet plays.
.75pts Battaglin to beat Impey 1.943 pinnacle
2pts Pozatto to beat Gallopin 17.2 pinnacle
1.5pts Ciolek to beat Matthews 2.27 pinnacle
2pts Stannard to beat Rast 8/11 bet365
2pts Navardauskas to beat Colbrelli 1.78 pinnacle
1pt Scarponi to beat Niali 2.2 pinnacles
2pts Offredo to beat Langveld 1.64 pinnacle
.5pts Rui Costa to beat Valverde 6/4 skybet
3pts Haussler to beat Hofland 4/7 paddys
1pt Degenkolb to beat Matthews 8/11 paddys
1pt S.Chavanel to beat T.Dumoulin 8/15 paddys
4pts S.Chavanel to beat Gallopin evens ladbrokes
1pt Pozzatto to beat Boassen Hagen 6/4 paddys
.5pts Pozzatto to beat Gilbert 6/5 ladbrokes
3pts Ciolek to beat Bennett 2/5 paddys
1pt Felline to beat Battglin evens paddys
3pts Navardauskas to beat Bole 5/6 paddys
2pts Kristoff to beat Cavendish 8/11 ladbrokes
.5pts Bonifazio to beat Bozic 5/6 paddys