Gerald Ciolek Made History in Milan-San Remo

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German sprinter Gerald Ciolek from South Africa’s MTN-Qubeka won the sprint from a breakaway group involving Peter Sagan, Sylvain Chavanel, Fabian Cancellara, Luca Paolini and Ian Stannard. Taloy Phinney of BMC catched the break in the last meters but was a bit late as he cross the line last.

After the snow, neutralization of a pretty long part of the route and a second start around 15:00, Milan-San Remo’s 104th edition became an instant classic. The day’s break was 7′ 10″ ahead of the peloton when the race got neutralized due to show in Passo del Turchino so in the “second start of the race”, they kept this advantage, it was like handicapped racing all of a sudden…

“We have to be ready. It was so cold. With the snow + zero degrees it was hard on the legs but mainly the hands. It was hard to brake because you couldn’t feel your hands,” told Lars Yiting Bak from the breakaway group. “We got a hot shower on the bus. Normally MSR is like 2 races because of the distance. Today it really is two races.”

After Matteo Montaguti, Diego Rosa, Filippo Fortin, Maxim Belkov, Lars Yitting Bak and Pablo Lastras got caught on the Cipressa, it was world champion Philip Gilbert‘s turn to make a break. Sylvain Chavanel later joined Gilbert along with Ian Stannard and Eduard Vorganov. On the Poggio, Chavanel attacked within the break, dragging Ian Stannard with him to the top of the hill.

Peter Sagan had to react, so he did when the slope on the Poggio hit 9%, and managed to catch Chavanel and Stannard within the final 3 kilometers. But he was not the only rider with sprinting abilities left in the front.

Gerald Ciolek outsprinted the “almost invincible” Peter Sagan and made history in Milan-San Remo today, his biggest win so far and for his new team MTN – Qhubeka; first pro-continental team from Africa.

“I think my decision says enough.This is partly a precaution, but also a statement to the organization. They knew long enough that there was so much snow on the road. What happens now is the fault of the organization’s own fault. Have you ever wanted to bicycle through the snow ridden? There are nicer things than this. I’m completely frozen,” reportedly told Tony Boonen after quitting the race.

Milan-San Remo 2013 Results

1. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka”5′ 37′ 20″
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling
3. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack Leopard
4. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
5. Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha
6. Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Procycling
7. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team
8. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha 14″
9. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
10. Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Sky Procycling
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Milan-San Remo 2013 – TV Guide and Live Streaming Options

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— UPDATE: Due to heavy snow on the Milano-Sanremo route, the riders will be transported by bus from kilometer 117 to kilometer 207 (Finale Ligure). The race will be re-started at 3.00. —

“la Classica di Primavera” starts on 17 March, Sunday 10:10 CET and is expected to finish around 17:15. It is the first monument of the season so there is quite a lot options to view the race on TV.

Rai Sport 2 will start live broadcasting in Italy around 14:00, whereas the rest of the TV channels, including Eurosport, Sporza and RTBF in Belgium, ETB in Spain, NOS in Netherlands, RDS in Canada and SBS in Australia will start the live broadcast at 15:00.

For live streaming options, check out the below links though some may be geo-location restricted;

RTBF, Rai Sport 2, ETB, SBS, Eurosport (unofficial)

Also check race preview and pre-race interviews.

Milan-San Remo 2013 – Pre-Race Interviews

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Winner of five stages so far, all in sensational fashion, Milan-San Remo is Cannondale’s Peter Sagan‘s to lose, and all the teams will put some tactics on the field to overcome the Slovakian.

“I feel like I have two chances to win: either a sprint from a group or by following an attack on the Poggio,” says Sagan. “It’s my third attempt here and I have learned that the Cipressa and Poggio are key to understand if you can win or not. I’ll see for myself and not think too much about what the others can do, and I’ll count on my teammates. They can help make the difference.”

Whereas Manx-Missile Mark Cavendish played the underdogs, just like the year he won the race: “I was obviously asked if I want to target this and I honestly don’t want to target this. So, the pressure just on myself has been a lot less.”

Tom Boonen was a bit more confident, “Milan-San Remo is the next step in the evolution to my target races. It’s not the biggest objective of the Spring Classics, but I think maybe I will be ready to do a good race on Sunday. I’ve started to feel like my normal self and it is about time.”

And Vini Fantini’s Mauro Santambrogio, after his great run in Tirreno-Adriatico spoke even more boldly: “I will have to do well, this is the Carpe Diem moment for me and I don’t want to miss it. I know that the weather could seriously impact on the race, but I am ready for anything and in Tirreno the possibility of competing in the water was certainly not missed.”

“So many strong riders have a plan for this race: Cancellara, Sagan, Hushovd – in any normal circumstance they can all win,” said Astana’s general manager Giuseppe Martinelli. “But our strategy for the race is 100 percent behind Vincenzo Nibali, and if the weather is bad, then for us this is optimal, because everybody knows he rides better in the rain and cold.

Milan-San Remo 2013 Preview

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— UPDATE: Due to heavy snow on the Milano-Sanremo route, the riders will be transported by bus from kilometer 117 to kilometer 207 (Finale Ligure). The race will be re-started at 3.00. —

During Tirreno-Adriatico, we’ve seen even Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel are not invincible, Peter Sagan is in top notch form, same also true for Sylvain Chavanel, considering his GC run and stage win in Paris-Nice.

Edvald Boasson Hagen was ok in Tour of Qatar and Tour Down Under but we haven’t seen him race since then. Fabian Cancellara was not impressive at all so far, but still someone you shouldn’t ever ignore for a second. Last year’s winner Simon Gerrans, despite winning a stage in Tour Down Under, failed to finish Paris-Nice, did no start stage 5 due to breathing problems.

Alongside Cavendish and Greipel; Marcel Kittel and Matthew Goss looked strong, each winning a stage past week. If Milan-San Remo ends with a bunch sprint, expect lead out trains checking each other in the front and a frenzy gallop between these riders.

If it comes to a breakaway within the last 30 kilometers, Peter Sagan will definitely follow and can be unstoppable in the final meters. Neither Philippe Gilbert nor Tom Boonen looked strong enough to win with a solo escape. And even if Cancellara or Chavanel tries that, just remember Sagan in this year’s Tour of Oman 2nd stage; closing the 200 meter gap alone before the final kilometers against a 3-rider breakaway and then passing them for his first win of the season.

But the most possible scenario is a select group of maybe 30, 40 riders making it to the final 20 kms. And from that point, we’ll see everyone playing their cards open and a clash of tactics in the field where only both physically and mentally tough riders can react.

Milan-San Remo final 30 kms

Expect to see some attacks on the Cipressa and the front group getting thinner and thinner as early breakaways get swept. But the race is %95 of the time won or lost in Poggio. With his recent form, it is Peter Sagan‘s race to lose but we’ve witnessed SKY cracking him on the drag of Pietragrossa in Tirreno-Adriatico very recently. But  also saw him take his “revenge” by attacking with Nibali on the Muro di Sant’Elpidio just the day after.

It is the longest and one of the fastest single stage races and positioning is key more than ever.

Also check out pre-race interviews and TV Guide / live streaming options.

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Milan-San Remo 2013 – Riders’ List

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6 teams are invited with wildcards besides the 19 pro tour teams: Androni Giocattoli-VenezuelaBardiani Valvole – CSF Inox and Vini Fantini-Selle Italia from Italy, IAM Cycling from Switzerland, French Team Europcar and South Africa’s Mtn-Qhubeka.

Peter SaganMark CavendishAndre GreipelMarcel KittelMatthew Goss and Sylvain Chavanel are this year’s favorites. But Milan-San Remo is an endurance test rather than a regular sprint stage. Check out Race Preview for more detail and predictions.

The startlist of the 104th edition of Milan-San Remo
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Milan-San Remo – A Brief History

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Milan-San Remo, the 298 km single stage race, the first monument of the cycling calendar will be held on 17 March, Sunday this year. It will be 104. edition of “la Classica di Primavera” – the spring classic with its first edition dating all the way back  to 1907.

It is a sprinters’ classic, but an endurance race rather than a gallop sprint within bunch. Some great cyclists won the race including the legendary Eddy Merckx (7 times), Costante Girardengo (6), Gino Bartali and Erik Zabel 4 times each. More recently, both pure sprinters like Mark Cavendish, Matthew Goss and Oscar Freire (3 wins) or puncheurs like Fabian Cancellara or Simon Gerrans won the race.