97th Milan - San Remo Preview
La Primavera 294 kms (176.4 miles)
”La Primavera" has changed very little over the ninety-odd years of its
existence. Starting in Milan, it follows an easy course south for more than one
hundred kilometres before tackling the first major obstacle, the Turchino Pass.
The longest and the first of the Spring Classics and a monument of cycling
stretches 294 kilometers from Milan to the coast to finish on the Via Roma in
However, by the late 1950’s improved road surfaces and greatly improved
fitness of the peloton had reduced the race to a certain bunch sprint, and
interest was in danger of waning; therefore a number of short hill climbs in the
last 50 kilometres of racing were added, including the famous "Poggio di San
Remo". With a height of 162 meters and just 3,740 meters in length, Jalabert has
the record time for the ascent in 5m 46s in 1995, when he won the race. The
Poggio still remains the favored spot to attack after a mad dash up its lower
Altimetry (top) the race, bottom last 30 km
Start list and
This year the race has 4 winners of the Spring Classic in the peloton. Eric
Zabel who has won "la primavera" 4 times will ride with his new Milram mate
Allesandro "Ale-Jet" Petacchi last years winner, no doubt a powerful duo with
the experience and team to control the final charge to the finish as they did in
the final stage of Tirreno - Adriatico this past week.
Oscar Freire Tirreno Adriatico
photo c. Fotoreporter Serotti
Then again we have Oscar Freire twice former world champion and winner in
2004 who put an on form show in the same race this week and took the leaders
jersey after Paolo Bettini (winner in 2003) crashed and retired from the race.
Meanwhile at Paris Nice Super Tom Boonen the current wearer of the rainbow
jersey, proved unbeatable in any stage that ended in a sprint to take three
stages dominating the flat stages. Yet, in Tirreno - Adriatico it took the full
race for the Petacchi/Zabel duo of super sprinters to best the Thor Hushvod and
Freire and Bettini and get the new duo's mojo working for the final stage. Can
Milram duo deliver again on Saturday?
Bettini stage 2 Tirreno Adriatico photo c. Fotoreporter
While the race has been billed a showdown between Ale-Jet and Super Tom one
can't forget that each are supported by a rider former winner... Petacchi/Zabel
and the now the Quickstep duet of Boonen and Bettini who may end up being their
own best competition if Paolo is recovered from his fall, and the odd chance
that the fates and opportunity present an opportunity. Boonen has made the race
his priority this year and if his performances at Paris Nice are any
representation of his determination and form he will be hard to beat.
Ale-Jet and Zabel celebrate...McEwen
photo c. Fotoreporter Serotti
Thor Hushvod figured prominently in the sprints in Tirreno Adriatico and
looks to be in good form for the race as well the Credit Agricole rider bested
the Milram duo this past week to his credit. Robbie McEwen (Davitamon/Lotto) in
spite of a fractured rib plans on riding the race, and as far as I know McEwen
is not out to ride the race as pack fodder, so if he is anywhere near the finish
Robbie will be one to watch as the peloton strings toward the finish line.
So who will dominate at the finish on Via Roam in San Remo is a bookmakers
nightmare this year or dream if one can count the possibilities. With so many
top sprinters, the sprinters teams should be working to establish control early
and see that any break has succumbed to the sprinters trains of Quickstep,
Davitamon/Lotto and Milram in the final kms.
Super Tom Boonen unstoppable in Paris Nice photo c.
T-Mobile may play another hand in the days race. Sporting director Valerio
Piva said earlier this week the team would base its strategy by probing for
chances to get riders in any break.
'La Primavera' is the race every Italian cyclist dreams of winning and Lorenzo
Bernucci is one of T-Mobile's strongest cards. According to Piva, the
Tuscany-native showed at Tirreno-Adriatico he is "in good shape" and has been
riding his way into ‘the right condition’ for the epic classic. Together with
Schreck and Wesemann, the Italian put in an extra training shift after stage
four, and the trio also put in some extra training before Sunday’s time trial.
There are others who may warrant watching to attempt a break early and deny
the sprinters the show they would like to give in the final kilometer, the
chances of success are slim as recent history of the race shows but it has been
accomplished in the past. (see the Forgotten Winner below)
Thor Hushvod Tirreno Adriatico
photo c. Fotoreporter Serotti
Damiano Cunego (Lampre/Fondital) rides his first La Primavera this year, he
downplayed his role as only wanting to gain the experience of the race in hopes
of winning the race in the future. But his teamate Allesandro Ballan has figured
well in the pre season by making his presence known in significant finishes and
who better to sacrifice himself than the fast Damiano on the Poggio to present
Ballan with his opportunity to lead the way to the finish?
A quick scan of last years top 25 (below) shows all the usual
suspects that are likely to be gathered at the finish fighting for control of
the race and the sprint. For the English speaking fans Allan Davis and Roger
Hammond might be the favorite picks to improve on their last years performance.
Whatever happens it will be a thrilling race and finish on the Via Roma. Join
us for race as the Daily Peloton starts its live coverage on Saturday morning.
Milan - San Remo
Live Ticker and
2005 Top 25:
1 Petacchi Alessandro Fassa Bortolo 7:11'39
2 Hondo Danilo Gerolsteiner m.t.
3 Hushovd Thor Credit Agricole m.t.
4 O'Grady Stuart Cofidis m.t.
5 Freire Gomez Oscar Rabobank m.t.
6 Gilbert Philippe Française Des Jeux m.t.
7 Marzoli Ruggero Acqua&Sapone-Adria Mobil m.t.
8 Boonen Tom Quickstep m.t.
9 Pellizotti Franco Liquigas - Bianchi m.t.
10 Mori Manuele Saunier Duval - Prodir m.t.
11 Reynes Mimo Vicente Illes Balears m.t.
12 Silloniz Aresti Josu Euskaltel - Euskadi m.t.
13 Brochard Laurent Bouygues Telecom m.t.
14 Zabel Erik T-Mobile Team m.t.
15 Davis Allan Liberty Seguros Wurth m.t.
16 Van Bon Leon Davitamon - Lotto m.t.
17 Celestino Mirko Domina Vacanze m.t.
18 Klier Andreas T-Mobile Team m.t.
19 Guidi Fabrizio Phonak Hearing System m.t.
20 Edo Angel Saunier Duval - Prodir m.t.
21 Hammond Roger Discovery Channel m.t.
22 Geslin Anthony Bouygues Telecom m.t.
23 Arvesen Kurt-Asle Team Csc m.t.
24 Wrolich Peter Gerolsteiner m.t.
25 Sella Emanuele Ceramiche Panaria-Nav. m.t.
1907 Petit Breton
1930 Mara M.
1937 Del Cancia
1946 Coppi F.
1948 Coppi F.
1949 Coppi F.
1951 Bobet L.
1954 Van Steenbergen
1956 De Bruyne
1958 Van Looy
1963 Groussard J.
1965 Den Hartog
1973 De Vlaeminck R.
1978 De Vlaeminck R.
1979 De Vlaeminck R.
1981 De Wolf A.
1983 Saronni G.
1984 Moser F.
1993 Fondriest M.
1995 Jalabert L.
1996 Colombo G.
2005 Alessandro Petacchi