Milan-San Remo - An underdog win
It's a race for the sprinter, except when it isn't.
combined with the distance covered you have ascents that quickly ruin the dreams of many a favorite.
This year’s edition was one that was going down in the history books. The terrible weather of snow and rain forced the organizers to wisely neutralize the race, load everyone onto their respective team busses and restart in the town of Cogoleto. This move eliminated the climbs of the Turchino and La Manie, which reduced the race by 47 kilometers. Before the organizers temporarily stopped the race, the typical early publicity-driven breakaway got seven minutes on the peloton. They were given that advantage when the race was restarted – not that it would really matter.
The restart for the main peloton was like the last five laps of a criterium: full gas. Cannondale took to the front and had the field strung out in single file. With slick and windy roads now part of the Milan-San Remo equation, having their five-star favorite Sagan near the front was the move of the day.
While the escapees were rounded up it gave us time to check out who was wearing or using the latest and greatest equipment for the 2013 season. Aero road helmets, while uglier than your drunken uncle, apparently have shown to be an advantage in wind tunnels. Those who had Giro sponsorships were sporting their aero Air Attacks. Taylor Phinney snapped a photo of his before the restart in Cogoleto while still on the BMC team bus - it was covered in ice.
Specialized also had an aero-inspired lid which reminded me of the extraterrestrial monster’s skull from the movie Alien, just without the snapping mandible.
Going old-school in the rain protection department was Eduard Vorganov of Katusha. He had what looked to be plastic wrap around his helmet, which proved to be neither aero nor effective as he was constantly adjusting it. Finally in frustration he tore it off. As Vorganov learned sometimes you need function over fashion. While clear plastic wrap may be a discrete method to keep the rain off your head, it’s not a long term solution under World War I conditions.
Not to be outdone, Sky had their standard ugly-looking Kask aero helmets that I’ve grown accustomed to. What I’d also become accustomed to was Sky at the front on the climb putting the wood to everyone - including their own rider Edvald Boasson Hagen, or EBH to his friends. While the Norwegian rider was off the back they had British rider Ian Stannard going off the front. Finally he was given some free rein. Stannard’s performance on the road to San Remo showed he has future classic-winning potential.
Regardless it was all going to go down on the last climb of the day - the Poggio. This is the climb where you need to check your inhibitions at the door and prepare yourself for cycling’s version of hand to hand combat.
At just 23 years of age Sagan wasn’t afraid to throw his weight around and he rubbed shoulders with his small breakaway group on the ascent of