Non toccare!

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?

3 thoughts on “Non toccare!”

  1. I am in agreement. Some people say this is the sprinters race but only 25 riders were in the group to contest the finish. This is no bunched sprint.

  2. I'm not even sure the course can be changed. The race is already 300km and adding more climbs would presumably make the race longer?

    But I agree, this not even a sprinter's classic. Yes, the finishing straight tends to suit the sprinters but note 2 things:
    – a big selection was made on the Cipressa and Poggio, many riders were rapidly being shelled out the back
    – the sprint was clean, the best sprinters made the podium, there was no lucky result.

    Some forums seem packed with claims that it's a boring race but I feel they don't get how the sport works.

    Besides, if you want more excitement, just wait for the upcoming classics. They are brilliant races and we've got a very long list of contenders on top form. I can't wait.

    BTW nice blog, I'm enjoying the prolific content.

  3. I remember watching the spring classics the first year I lived in Italy.

    Milano San Remo was cool, and it was great to be watching something live. That year, it was even exciting, as Gabriele Colombo pulled off the win with an attack.

    However, when I saw the attacks going back and forth over the rain-drenched, muddy cobbles at the Tour of Flanders a few weeks later, it was a whole new level of 'wow'.

    Milano San Remo is a great race, but it'll never be, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful. To tell the truth, as of late, Paris-Tours, supposedly the sprinters' classic, has been more exciting. Perhaps it's because at MSR, there are so many on-form riders, making it very difficult to get a gap.

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