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2010 Milano-Sanremo - Live Coverage
By Fabio
Date: 3/20/2010
2010 Milano-Sanremo - Live Coverage
Welcome to our live ticker of the 101st edition of the "Classica di Primavera". The 2010 Milan-Sanremo got underway under light rain earlier this morning in Italy's second largest city Milano (a clip of the "fake" start at Milan's "Castle Square" will be available later...) and is set to finish later in the afternoon in the Ligurian Riviera town not far from the french border after a long trip of 298 kilometers, whose profile you can see below. along with a map of the route from the last climb to the finish line and the final kilometer map.
rofile © 2010 Gazzetta dello Sport
Milan - Sanremo Profile - Large .pdf

MSR Poggio climb to the finish © 2010 Gazzetta dello Sport

Final Km MSR © 2010 Gazzetta dello Sport

1120 CET: We join the race in progress with three young Italians on the front: Fabrice Piemontesi (Androni Giocattoli-Diquigiovanni), Aristide Ratti (Carmiooro) and Diego Caccia (ISD-Neri) broke away from the peloton shortly after the flag was dropped, and the big names in the bunch gave them green light, such that the gap swiftly ballooned to five minutes after no more than 14 kilometers.

And it didn't stop getting bigger and bigger: it was up to 11'20" by the km. 24 check and an impressive 18 minutes just 32 kilometres into the race!

And it was further increased to 21'40" at km. 36.

A small video of the peloton leaving the Piazza Castello area in downtown Milano
on the way to km. 0, which was about five miles way, in the southernmost part of the city.
you may notice raindrops on the camera lens, as it started ralning before the start
and also hear that funny guy screaming out rider names ("olé Lucaaa ! Kiryienkaaaaa!").
I don't even think he was really seeing them, but just shouting random names
of MSR contenders, knowing that they were somewhere in the bunch passing by, lol.

Such a lead may look very impressive at first sight, but mostly to those not too familiar with "early MSR action". In the past we have seen similar or even broader gaps to form in the first, flat part of the race, with the bunch letting "minor" riders have their time in the sun and get some well-earned media exposure. But when the race hit the Apennines and the Riviera, and the going got tough(er) the gap disappeared quite fast, and basically all "fairy tales" came to an end before the escapees could reach the Cipressa and Poggio slopes, that might determine the race outcome - or might not.

We tend to think the same thing is gonna happen this year, also because the sprinter's teams are starting to show up on the front of the pack.

Interviewed at the sign-in area early this morning, Mark Cavendish admitted that he didn't have his best ever start to the season, but at the same time expressed the hope that he can do fine in this race. Cannonball Cavendish may not be in great shape, but he certainly didn't come to Italy (only) to enjoy the Ligurian sea.

1140 CET: It could be a bit too early to say that the chase has started for real, but the peloton's attitude is a bit different now, and they "efforts" are starting to bear some little fruit: the gap came down for the first time, dropping from 21'55" (the maximum lead built by Fabrice Piemontesi, Aristide Ratti and Diego Caccia) to 21 minutes and 35 seconds by km. 54, e.g. with "just" 244 kilometers to go.

The bunch have all the time they need to bring the wondertrio back.

1155 CET: New gap update, but in fact there's not much to say. According to the latest reports Fabrice Piemontesi, Aristide Ratti and Diego Caccia took their lead up to new heights ... but just slightly: 22 minutes.

Regardless of the trio's apparently huge advantage, the pack still seems to have everything under control.

1202 CET: New check, new maximum advantage: the gap further increased to 22 minutes 35 seconds.

1218 CET: Tom Boonen's Royal Guard finally took things into their own hands. The peloton Quick-Stepped some kind of chase, and the gap magically started to come down. Ratti, Caccia and Piemontesi could boast a "narrow" advantage of twenty minutes and as many seconds at the latest check. The all-Italian breakaway group averaged a good 44.5 kph in the first two hours of racing.

1225 CET: The three young riders in the lead have covered the first 100 kilometers; it was the "easiest" third of the parcours anyway.

1245 CET: Pure flat riding is a matter of the past: now the escapees are on the way to the Turchino Pass summit, where the roads are wet due to light rain. Gaps over 20 minutes are a matter of the past too: the last check said that Piemontesi, Caccia and Ratti were leading the field by 19 minutes & 50 seconds.

125 kilometers gone, 173 km. to go: Quick Step are doing a fine job at the front of the chase group, bringing the gap under the eighteen-minute mark. The three Italian fugitives climbed the Turchino and are currently on the way to the Ligurian coast.

The Apennine hills took toll on the average speed, which dropped to about 42.7 km/h.

The good news for Tom Boonen is that the field had reduced the gap to the leaders to 16 minutes and 25 seconds on the Turchino, taking about six minutes out of Ratti, Caccia and Piemontesi in quite a short time.

The bad news is that a crash involving some riders in the peloton involved Carlos Barredo (Quick Step) but the Spaniard IS STILL IN the race and the Belgian DID NOT lose a precious helper.

The gap significantly fell to slightly over a dozen minutes as also the peloton were taking on the Turchino slopes. Mark Cavendish gave another display of his current condition, which is not that good, by getting dropped on the ascent, even though the Brit later regained the field.

1355 CET: Fabrice Piemontesi (Androni Giocattoli-Diquigiovanni), Aristide Ratti (Carmiooro) and Diego Caccia (ISD-Neri) entered the second half of the route and reached the Ligurian coastline, but in the process their advantage went under eleven minutes.

The high pace set by Quick Step and especially Pozzato's Katusha smoked most of the lead trio's advantage, but notably caused the peloton to split into two halves, the first one containing about 80 riders but not the likes of Schleck, Cunego and Cavendish (such that most "Team Columbians" stopped and waited for their leader to help him regain the bunch again).

If that was bad news for the guys above, things went even worse for poor Murilo Fischer. The Garmin team Brazilian badly hit the tarmac and apparently broke his collarbone.

Andy Schleck made his way back into the field.

Gap update about 120 kilometers from the finish:
Diego Caccia (ISD-Neri), Fabrics Piemontesi (Androni-Qiuigiovanni) and Aristide Ratti (Carmiooro) on the front.

The first chase group only 03'18" back. The second half of the field, with Mark Cavendish inside, four minutes down.

1450 CET: Gap update - 100 kilometers to go!! Caccia, Piemontesi and Ratti barely held a minute's lead over the first group, with Cannonball Cav a further 50 seconds behind.

1500 CET: km 201 / 097k to go. Fabrice Piemontesi, Aristide Ratti and Diego Caccia have been chased down; the race just hit the Manie climb, Katusha keeps dictating the pace in the (first) group while the Cavendish group sits half a minute back.

A pale sun showed up over the finishing line, good for the peloton that has met mostly bad weather so far.

Our live coverage continues in Part 2

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