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Professional Cycling => Race Archives => Road Races => 2018 Race Archives => Topic started by: t-72 on March 12, 2018, 22:52

Title: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: t-72 on March 12, 2018, 22:52
Get monumental: Time for La Clasississima! Classicisima!  Classiccisima! Classi ...---...

eh... .... La Primvera! Ok?

Milano-Sanremo 2018, Saturday March 17th.

The start: Milano, via dell Chiesa Rossa (09:45 with the offical start schduled for 10:20)

The route:
you know it, this is probably the most conservative race of all when it comes to route changes. An endlessness of lines have been written all over the internet because of the inclusion and exclusion of three hills into the percorso for this race. If you have been a cycling fan for more than a year, «Cipressa» and «Poggio» already  has a familiar ring to it. If you have been a cycling fan for more than ten years, the «Manie» will also be on your repertoire – but it is not coming back, not this year either, so here we go:
291 Km – southwards across the plains of Po, over the Passo Turqino, to the sea and follow the Via Aurelia westwards.
(https://i.imgur.com/wZrtmGj.jpg)


The finish: Sanremo, via Roma.
(used traditionally and recently since John Degenkolb won in 2015.)
sometime around 16:40 -17:30 depending on the events of the day.

Poggio starts 9 km from the finish line.
(https://i.imgur.com/MZuAP5D.jpg)
Length 3.7 km  average gradient < 4% , maximum 8% near the top
Four hairpin turns in the first 2 km.
Crazy descent into Sanremo.
Final 2 km on mostly straight, wide city streets.
Last bend is 750 m from the finish line.
Finish line: on Via Roma

(https://i.imgur.com/0yx6UOy.jpg)

The longest race.
The most exciting finale of the monuments, even if you think you know more or less exactly what will happen.
The one monument that most riders can win.
Yet one that is not so difficult to win, if the other riders will let you...

The actors
So you know the script, but who will do the well-known roles?

Last year’s winner #sky Mihail Kwiatkowski will be back with the intention of winning again, and if he fails, there’s trattore, italian cycling’s bad boy,  to take over his place. Kwiatek is of course a favorite since he wins more or less every race he starts this year.

Except last year’s runner up, #bora #rainbow Peter Sagan. He’s back at it, doing a long row of  2nd place sprint finishes again. Last year, he needed to play a different card to win, and the thunderbolt attack up the final section of the Poggio seemed to be just that. It left the remains of the peloton asphyxiated, except Kwiatkowski and #quickstep Alaphilippe. Eventually the attack did not pay off, will he try the Cipressa this year?[1]What else? The usual, 2nd place, sir rainbows??

So, the usual? That means none of the attacks stick, and there will be a group sprint on the Via Roma? Previous winners #fdj Arnaud Démare, #trek John  Degenkolb, #uae Aleksander Kristoff will presumably be there to serve up your little adrenalin rush, local heroes #bahrain Sonny Colbrelli, #quickstep Elia Viviani and #mitchelton Matteo Trentin are determined to give them a run for the money. The italians dominated this race from 2002 to 2006 but haven’t been near the top spots since Nibali won the 3rd place in 2012. The last italian to win was Pippo Pozzato back in 2006. It’ been a while.

The table is set, the pieces are lined up, the game can start.

The peloton will roll out of Milano at 09:45 with the offical start schduled for 10:20. The will pass the Turqino at 13:30 – 13:50,  and the finish in Sanremo sometime around 16:40 -17:30 depending on the events of the day.

Weather forecasts, wild speculations and what will quickstep do (that might be one theme, not two, actually?) to follow in the next days.
 1. (Nah, that’s #bahrain Nibali’s job, isn’t it?)
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: AG on March 12, 2018, 23:26
what Quickstep might do ... might well change in the next day or so.  Gaviria is out now so need a new game plan
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: Yellow Peril on March 13, 2018, 05:29
Time to wander in from the cold as the first monument takes place this weekend. Lots of people have little time for this race but i love it. My picks for the day are Mr Sonny Colbrelli and Jens Debusschere. I'm sure i'm wrong but this race remains deliciously unpredictable in terms of who will cross the line first.
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: search on March 13, 2018, 07:34
what Quickstep might do ... might well change in the next day or so.  Gaviria is out now so need a new game plan

not sure if it really makes much of a difference. Alaphilippe and/or Gilbert will still try to attack, and now it's Viviani waiting for the sprint instead of Gaviria
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: L'arri on March 13, 2018, 08:34
I hope that #quickstep will shake things up because it seems like a lot of other teams won't want to make the first move. MSR has recovered a bit of its erstwhile unpredictability in the last few editions, which is encouraging, but I would still rather see a race that starts sooner than the Poggio.
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: Leadbelly on March 13, 2018, 11:57
Sagan says "I don't care about victories, it's more about the show". So another attack on the Poggio unless he's telling fibs.
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: Leadbelly on March 13, 2018, 20:18
http://teamsunweb.com/injury-updates-5/

Quote
MICHAEL MATTHEWS

Michael has been progressing very well after fracturing his shoulder at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. He has been able to do some high quality training in the past week, with tolerable pain levels and we are confident he’s ready to race again on Saturday at Milano-Sanremo.
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: search on March 13, 2018, 20:41
Bouhanni out, Cofidis says he is sick

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/nacer-bouhanni-ruled-out-of-milan-san-remo-due-to-bronchitis/

Bouhanni says he is not. Sweet :D
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: t-72 on March 13, 2018, 21:03
 :D These news doesn't surprise me.
#cofidis Bouhanni looked positively annoyed every time the camera caught a glimpse of him in the Paris-Nice. It was very difficult to understand that body language, if you still haven't managed to figure out when a 5-year old is upset.
On the positive side, #cofidis Christophe Laporte has been riding very well this spring, winning stages in the Besseges and Provence, 3rd and 6th in Paris-Nice stages. While I don't think he matches Bouhanni (the  sunny-side up version) on a stage-race boulevard sprint, after 290 km, the Cypressa and the Poggio it's not a given which one of them has the best legs to sprint with. Both made it to the Via Roma in the 50-amn group behind Alaphilippe, Sagan and Kwiatkowski last year, and Bouhanni finished 8th.
In case of doubt I would choose the one that doesn't portray an image of the team as bad loosers that can't control their tempers.  :-x

In other news, Sagan is reportedly still upset about Kwiatkowski stealing the victory last year - and Kwiatkowski replied "to win you sometimes have to be the smartest". This will be fun  :P


Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: t-72 on March 13, 2018, 21:50
Weather forecasts indicate overcast with chances of rainshowers, but overall,  not very wet. Moderate temperatures around 10 degrees celsius. 
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: t-72 on March 13, 2018, 21:59
what about
(https://i.imgur.com/VsXd2YE.jpg)
?
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: search on March 14, 2018, 09:45
with so many sprinters struggling at the moment (or out of it already), this looks like Sagan's best chance so far to finally win the race.

And as a big plus, there's a realistic chance to even have a team mate in the select group over the Poggio, as Oss really seems to be in the shape of his life
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: Yellow Peril on March 14, 2018, 19:44
Agree re Oss, he's my current man fan crush. A great breakaway rider who has performed well in the bid for glory stakes in this race previously.
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: AG on March 15, 2018, 05:05
Agree - Sagans best shot ... and Oss will be a massive help for him, not just here but also on the cobbled races.

I actually thought the year that Ciolek won that Sagan would win.  I thought that essentially unless he crashed I could not see a situation where he wouldnt win.  He could out climb the puncheurs and outsprint the sprinters - and essentially win from any circumstance that evolved.   And he managed to find a way to come second :D

He does deserve to finally win this race ... but hopefully not this year.   This year is for Phil Gil   :P
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: Echoes on March 15, 2018, 08:51
And he managed to find a way to come second :D

He came second because Fabs taught him a lesson on how to act like an adult that day and 5 years later he's still a kid ...
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: M Gee on March 15, 2018, 14:21
. . . I would still rather see a race that starts sooner than the Poggio.

Nah, it's springtime! A 20 km finale is perfect! :D

If we are to learn from history, I think the lesson is that the solo break needs to be on the Poggio, or on the descent - but it has to stick. If you drag someone else along, it is bad news bears for the dragger, and glory for the draggee. I agree with Sagan that Kwiatkowski owes him a few beers, but I don't think he owes him anything more than that. Whether finding a wheel to suck is smart or not depends a lot on who you are cheering for.

. . . 5 years later he's still a kid ...

Who you talkin' 'bout! Bouhanni? Oh, yeah! Oh, yeah!
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: t-72 on March 15, 2018, 19:57
He came second because Fabs taught him a lesson on how to act like an adult that day and 5 years later he's still a kid ...

Hi Echoes! Great to see you back here! you've been missed!
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: t-72 on March 15, 2018, 20:27
What can Quickstep do?
I really don't know but even with Gaviria out, Quickstep is a dominating team in the classics. However, if they wait until the Poggio, that doesn't really matter. 2 puncheurs on the Poggio isn't twice as good as one and there are a lot of teams that can field both a strong puncheur and a decent sprinter. How can they make the difference in number of podium candidates in the team make a difference in the race.

And --- I dont know this, maybe someone that knows Belgium better know - how much is Quickstep really behind Philippe Gilberts 5 monuments ambition? If they back him just a little bit, they must let him have a go. Milano-Sanremo is one of the missing ones in his collection. He must have been more times in the finale than anyone else:

2004 14   #fdj
2005 6     #fdj
2006 32   #fdj
2007 21   #fdj
2008  3    #fdj
2009 23   #quickstep
2010  9    #quickstep
2011  3    #quickstep
2012 87   #bmc
2013 32   #bmc
2014 13   #bmc
2015 55   #bmc
2016 --    #bmc
2017 29   #quickstep

Of course, he has had quite a few chances but still hasn't managed to climb to the top spot. I think this means: take the risk of doing something radical, or lose the chance. If you can solo from 65 km in the Ronde van Vlaanderen, a long range attack is not unfeasible, but the difference is, there is usually a larger chase group with better legs late in the Milan-Sanremo compared to in the Ronde. Might as well go on early abos and try to destroy the chase with destructive tactics from other team members?
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: AG on March 15, 2018, 23:25
From what I have read on their social media stuff, they are pretty well behind him.

Probably enough to give him a free role at least, but not enough to put a whole team behind him for it.  He will get a shot, but if it doesnt come off, he will be expected to lead out Vivianni I would think.
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: search on March 16, 2018, 07:39
there was a special in Het Nieuwsblad exactly on that topic today:

(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DYZLqfCU0AAtaXu.jpg:large)

I may be able to translate some of the key statements on "how he can win" later on
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: search on March 16, 2018, 07:45
former winner #bmc Simon Gerrans is out. He will be replaced by Fran Ventoso.

Quote
Dr. Max Testa: “Simon Gerrans developed a respiratory infection at Paris-Nice which triggered his asthma. We hoped he would be able to recover in time for Milan-San Remo but over the past two days, his condition has worsened. Given the poor weather and the length of the race, it is in Simon’s best interests to not line up on Saturday. Fortunately, Simon will be able to resume training in a few days and his illness won’t affect his race program.”

Why is Valverde not racing this year by the way?
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: LukasCPH on March 16, 2018, 09:53
I actually thought the year that Ciolek won that Sagan would win.  I thought that essentially unless he crashed I could not see a situation where he wouldnt win.  He could out climb the puncheurs and outsprint the sprinters - and essentially win from any circumstance that evolved.   And he managed to find a way to come second :D
He thought that himself, too - and was then outsprinted by 'that guy from this new ProConti team'. Never underestimate your opponents, Peter! :shh
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: L'arri on March 16, 2018, 11:27
I would love to see Gilbert win just for the history of the sport but the odds are stacked against him, especially because I think he has lost some of his sprint speed in the last couple of years (yeah, he outsprinted Kwiatkowski in Amstel Gold last year but the Pole had burned too many matches).
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: search on March 17, 2018, 07:45
Stars!

*it Gazzetta
:*:*:*:*:* Kwiatkowski, Sagan
:*:*:*:* Alaphilippe
:*:*:* Demare, Kristoff, Viviani
:*:* Trentin, Moscon, van Avermaet
:* Nibali, Ewan, Kittel, Cort


*fr l'Équipe
:*:*:*:*:* Sagan
:*:*:*:* Kwiatkowski
:*:*:* Alaphilippe, Demare, Moscon, van Avermaet
:*:* Gilbert, Matthews, Viviani
:* Trentin, Naesen, Kristoff, Greipel, EBH


*be Het Nieuwsblad
:*:*:*:*:* Sagan
:*:*:*:* Kwiatkowski, Démare
:*:*:* Trentin, Viviani, Greipel
:*:* Cort, van Avermaet, Colbrelli, Gilbert
:* Kittel, Modolo, Stuyven, Moscon, Kristoff
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: t-72 on March 17, 2018, 16:41
If you ask me, that was a total blast!

Hope all the crashers are ok.

What would be the odds of #academy Kris Neilands setting up the decisive move of this race  :S
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: L'arri on March 17, 2018, 17:37
If you ask me, that was a total blast!

Hope all the crashers are ok.

What would be the odds of #academy Kris Neilands setting up the decisive move of this race  :S

Bit of a slo-mo this year, with the sprinters making it comfortably over most of the capi. Hanging tough were Greipel, who was eventually unlucky to DNF after a second crash, and Cavendish, who went the same way but in much worse circumstances (no word on that yet). The big exception was Marcel "I'm here for research" Kittel who was already busted before the Cipressa and would finish unscathed over 16 minutes down.

What we ended up with in the result were nine heavyweights that nobody before the start would have been surprised to see in the final top 10 and Caleb Ewan. Maybe the pint-sized Aussie is entitled to expect a big future after all.

Big shout to Démare, who brought a great team and showed that he could, despite the naysayers, get up the capi without holding on to cars and still finish on the podium.

And finally a thoroughly deserving winner, one of the sport's most complete riders, who has turned up here every year to try out essentially the same tactic - a charge on the Poggio - despite the slimmest chance of holding on to the line in the face of heavier opposition. Indeed it was like watching Fondriest in 1993 all over again. Forza Nibs!
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: Mellow Velo on March 17, 2018, 18:42
 Talking of crashes.

https://twitter.com/BrainOnWheels/status/975042586275667968

 Looks like Cav reacted to the awful crash, pretty well.
Seems to stay loose and just accept the inevitable.
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: M Gee on March 17, 2018, 19:15
If you ask me, that was a total blast!
 . . .
What would be the odds of #academy Kris Neilands setting up the decisive move of this race  :S

Yes it was, and he gave Nibali quite the lift to the top of the Poggio. I think if it had been anybody better known, the move might have been more aggressively covered. At the end, Nibs only took it by yards. Even if Nibs hadn't stopped to raise his arms, I think Ewan would have crossed the line in under a second off.

Hell of a finish.
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: Mellow Velo on March 17, 2018, 20:04
 But for the reported crash victims, just about everybody made it home inside the time.
Confirming Cav's comment from earlier in the week.
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: M Gee on March 17, 2018, 21:35
I can say one good thing about Cav's crash - when he landed he came down in a traditional judo roll position. It might have been completely unintended, but it would help to absorb shock.

Keeping my fingers crossed and hoping. Guy just seems to be a magnet for being in the wrong place.
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: LukasCPH on March 17, 2018, 22:28
Medical update on Cav: http://africasteam.com/2018/03/17/update-mark-cavendish/ (http://africasteam.com/2018/03/17/update-mark-cavendish/)

Quote
Following medical imaging, it was determined that he avoided major injury in the incident.

He did sustain a new rib fracture (5th) on the same side as the one that he damaged in the opening stage of Tirreno-Adriatico (7th).

He also has bruising and abrasions consistent with the scale of the crash as well as a possible “ligamentous ankle injury” that will require further assessment once he returns home on Saturday.
Broken ribs, bruises, road rash, possibly something with the ankle ligaments.
Seems like he was lucky, all in all.


Didn't see any of the race, but it sounds like watching the final 10-20 km is sufficient. ;)
Bravo Nibali!
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: AG on March 17, 2018, 23:48
yep - final 15km will get it all .... but it was actually a pretty fun race.

The issue with MSR is that its the distance that makes it hard, and that doesnt necessarily make exciting-to-watch bike racing, but its fun all the same.

I liked the reactions of Bahrain to attempt a block once Nibs escaped ... and I always love it when a move like that succeeds (though I admit a heart attack or two that he might get caught just before the line rather than after it)

and I like that the race is won by someone who wants it so very desperately.  Who rides from the start of the year to the end of the year, every year.  Who doesnt focus just on GT's but gives recognition and respect to the classics as well ....

:pray  Nibali
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: M Gee on March 18, 2018, 00:53
Looks like Cav avoided serious damage. A big "whew".

http://africasteam.com/2018/03/17/update-mark-cavendish/

Ooops. HEY! (I'm late to the :party, folks.) Lukas beat me to it!
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: M Gee on March 18, 2018, 15:38
In the post-race analysis, it seems that Sagan is showing some advanced headology:

http://www.velonews.com/2018/03/news/road/sagan-told-vincenzo-wins-well-catch_460070

Quote
. . . “I knew that if I went solo and chased we’d get him, but the problem was that nobody reacted, they were all expecting me, so I said: OK. I told myself: Vincenzo wins or we’ll catch him. We didn’t catch and that’s OK.”
 . . .

e.g. If they're all looking at me, let them look, and they'll get nothing.

Which is about all you CAN do when you've got a motor like Sagan does, unless you get the right opportunity. Cancellara had the same problem, eh?
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: M Gee on March 18, 2018, 21:46
more post-race analysis: this time it's Nibali:

Nibali even takes a phonecall in the last kilometer:

https://twitter.com/raykerckhoffs/status/975074544548540421

Not the first time Sir Nibs has shaken up those phone convos!
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: Echoes on March 18, 2018, 23:15
Cheers to Slow Rider !!! :D

Again I need to say a great champion for a disgraceful team but I don't want to make it a litany.

It's quite amazing. I remember telling a friend that Nibali would never win Milan-Sanremo. He does not have a sprint even in smaller groups, he does not have explosiveness to attack on the Poggio.

Now he's making history here. First winner of Milan Sanremo while attacking solo on the Poggio since Colombo in 1996 (?) and winner of Milan-Sanremo and of a GT. Last time was Jalabert (though well, dark side related).

Some teaching: shouldn't a puncher attempt an early attack on the Poggio if he wants to win? Usually in recent years, they all waited for the max gradient slope close to the top.

In the years to come, shouldn't punchers of the Nibali-type consider that what Nibali could do I can do it? I keep saying: Milan-Sanremo is not a classic for sprinters but a classic that sprinters can win. Slight nuance. Twice in a row, no bunch sprint (while no Maniè)

Return of the Via Roma is really beneficial to this race. I doubt Nibali would've hold off the peloton all the way to Lungho Mare.

Probably also some clinic improvement, I guess. The main sprinter team was Fdjeux and Fdjeux is no Saeco or Fassa Bortolo...

And of course, Sagan loses and is whining but forgive him, he does great wheelies...

Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: AG on March 18, 2018, 23:27

In the years to come, shouldn't punchers of the Nibali-type consider that what Nibali could do I can do it? I keep saying: Milan-Sanremo is not a classic for sprinters but a classic that sprinters can win.



this
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: Echoes on March 19, 2018, 09:55
So apparently the last winner of Milan-Sanremo to attack solo on the Poggio was Giorgio Furlan in 1994 and not Colombo who was in a 4-man group in 1996. My bad.

Furlan, not a great reference either but well 24 years after.  :o
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: L'arri on March 19, 2018, 11:30
If the chasers had actually chased instead of indulging in "no sir, after you" politeness, Nibali might have been caught before the line.

That's not to take anything away from the physical effort, which he needed to generate and hold his gap, or the descending skills, which he needed to consolidate it.

So it was really a display of the complexity often at work in pro cycling that puts off the casual viewers and enthralls the rest of us.
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: Echoes on March 19, 2018, 17:05
You cannot think of more classic a scenario than this. Rider breaks away, first chaser waiting for a third man to chase but third man does not move and the bird is flying. Countless races have been decided that way. However in this case, it's more complex than that. Nibali attacked very early on the Poggio and many riders probably wouldn't believe he had the legs and audacity to hold through. Attacks from so early on the Poggio, and lone attacks on top of that are usually bound to fail but Nibali held through. So really, Sagan is a sore loser and a disgrace for this sport.
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: pastronef on March 19, 2018, 20:23
https://www.twitter.com/MikaelLiddy/status/975733536647819265
Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: t-72 on March 19, 2018, 22:13
I can't but agree with a lot that has been said. If Nibali had been riding for a team with a respectable sponsors, he would probably be my #1 favorite rider. He doesn't, so...."it's complicated".  :(

However, he knows how to finish a one-day race (and that's saying "Hello Chris Froome", quite loud IMHO)  and actually, yeah, just that - in today's peloton he is the guy that can credibly challenge Froome on Palmares. I don't like it when someone is untouchable, that makes for boring racing, so I hope Nibali continues doing what he's doing - maybe with the same team - but different sponsors next year. Something italian everybody can like. Barilla - Merida or Barolo - MoreWina, I don't care. Just ride, and switch sponsors, please!

Back to the race itself - we all have our preferences: I notice that a lot of other contributors here are of the opinion that an early attack and a solo win is the best way to settle a monument. The most recent example of this would be #quickstep Philippe Gilbert doing 65 km on his own in de Ronde last year. That's more than an hour hanging out in front all alone and after the crash of the terrible three in the chase it was by no means settled yet but still quite unlikely anyone but Gilbert would win.

It may be a cultural thing. I think in Norway, most people tend to think the other way: if its a win by a mile (not to mention six miles) it is usually not a very exciting race, and the excitement doesn't last all the way to the end. Looking to our national sport X-C skiing and the 50 km race (the monument equivalent, if I can call it that): Yes, there have been wins like Johan Olsson in Val di Fiemme (here if you want the full story) (https://tv.nrk.no/program/koid75004714/femmila-i-val-di-fiemme) more or less exactly like Philippe Gilbert in Flanders (including fall of closest competitor), soloing away from a very long distance. That's an impressive win, but a boring race. The races we remember more, the ones we love, are the close races. If it is a photo finish to split the top 3 after 50 km, we consider that a great race. This translates to cycling, if Sagan beats Kristoff by a boot length after some 270 km ... great race! and sh*t result, but it follows from a close finish that there will be losses.

In the MSR, we get these close finishes almost every time, with some tactical variation. It stil follows a quite fixed storyline and that makes the finale so intense. Every year I like this race more and more for that reason. It's 9 kilometers from the finish line and somethings got to happen, soon, someone got to do something.

Now, if just everyone can stop writing about Nibali making the attack on the Poggio - he followedKris Neilands. Sometimes he gets more credit than deserves. Of course he stole the show completely.

I also don't agree about #fdj being the only sprinter's team. #mitchelton was as strong if not stronger than #fdj, but probably blew it with poor tactical decisions, Matteo Trentin making a fruitless attack on the downhill. #uae featured Ben Swift leading out Aleksander Kristoff, that's about as many previous podium finishes as you can put on a train here - and #quickstep was there too. However, none had both the capacity (#uae) and the willingness (#bora, #sky, #quickstep, #mitchelton) to chase down Nibali, to get those cards reshuffled once again, no matter what the consequences could be. They all failed to risk loosing this way, and thus they lost the chance at winning, and lost it to the one team that was willing to risk not everything, actually on a brave attack up the Poggio.

When I say Bahrain-Merida did not risk everything with Nibali's attack, it's because they still had Colbrelli and he finished 9th at same time as Nibali.  He might have finished higher up if he didn't have the teammate in front. They risked only their climber.

Plenty of teams come to the MSR configured for doing just this, with one preferably punchy climber and one good sprinter. The true coward's tale here is how the DS's of many teams held back their climbers on the Poggio. The early attacks were made by Marcus Burghardt and Jempy Drucker, and, to be honest, none of those are expected to run the show on the final climb. There was only one small team that dared launch an attack with their best rider.

Nibali had positioned himself near the front early on the climb, and in that position it was quite clear that he was going to follow the first serious move rather than attack himself. The intense focus on Sagan and Kwiatkowski probably helped him in the sense that most other teams were happy to let him go as long as #bora and #sky did not follow.

Clearly a deserved win, and a great win, but if you estimate it in percentage of race time i am pretty sure it is the thinnest winning margin in any racing sport the whole year. I am not a fan of "marginal gains" but "winning big races by small margins" = great sports entertainment :cool


Title: Re: Milano - Sanremo 2018
Post by: AG on March 20, 2018, 10:18
In fairness, Quickstep did exactly that - came with climber/puncheur and sprinter.

Unfortunately Alaphillipe wasnt in good enough shape, and Gilbert got caught behind the Cavendish crash.  Left only the sprinter .... still they sat and watched Nibali ride away with it rather than helping chase him so ..