Mark Cavendish will feel at home when arriving in San Remo for the conclusion of the Milan-San Remo one-day classic in one month, on March 19. The finish remains the same as last year and when Britain’s Cavendish won it in 2009, on the seafront.
Over the winter, there were reports the organiser RCS Sport would take the race back to its traditional finish on Via Roma. The organiser, however, published the route, which is the same as the last three years. It covers 298 kilometres from fashion capital Milan to the Ligurian seaside town of San Remo.
Once the race reaches the coast, after 154 kilometres, the cyclists will cover the “tre capi” – Capo Mele, Capo Cervo, Capo Berta – the Cipressa and the Poggio. The Poggio climb leaves 6.2 kilometres to race and is the last point for attackers, like Philippe Gilbert, to escape.
Ireland’s Sean Kelly won the 1992 edition after an attack on the Poggio to chase Moreno Argentin. When Kelly won and up until 2007, the race finished on Via Roma. Shopkeepers complained about the disruption on what is a typical busy Saturday and forced the organiser RCS Sport to move the race closer to the seaside.
The cyclists take a quick left and right in San Remo, at 1500 metres to race, and follow Corso Raimondo and Via Bixio to Lungomare Italo Calvino. Swiss Fabian Cancellara, Cavendish and last year, Spaniard Oscar Fiere won on Lungomare Calvino. Cavendish and Freire won from a sprint, Cancellara attacked with two kilometres remaining.
Freire was the only one of the three to win the race on the more prestigious Via Roma. He did it twice, in 2004 and 2007.
“This time,” Freire said last year, “I was afraid of this finish, tough, because I prefer the Via Roma finish.”
The Passo del Turchino at kilometre 142.3 and the Le Mànie climb at kilometre 204 are the race’s two other climbs. Le Mànie was also introduced in 2008.