Don’t touch Milan-San Remo!
As I wrote last week, Milan-San Remo is the longest race on the calendar but it all comes down to the final 20km. Reading the post-race comments it seems many people lament this. For many the race just isn’t exciting enough.
But I don’t see why the race needs more climbs and more selection. Remember a Tour stage with a succession of climbs often sees the final selection made on the last climb. It’s the riders who make the race.
Look at the list of winners of this race and there is almost never a lucky winner. And the best sprinters have struggled to win. It took Mario Cipollini many years to make it over the Poggio and people hailed Mark Cavendish’s win as exceptional. In other words, this isn’t a lottery: the 296km before the race hits the Via Roma ensure that only a champion sprinter can win.
Also we might expect entertainment on TV but this is a long-standing sporting event. The demands of TV audiences should not transform a legendary race into scripted entertainment. I don’t want Wacky Races on wheels.
Cyclesport’s Lionel Birnie observed that Saturday’s podium (Freire, Boonen and Petacchi) have won 310 races between them. If this isn’t a selection of the world’s best riders, then what is?