Where: Italy
When: March 19, 2016
Rank: UCI WorldTour
Distance: 295km

Frenchman Arnaud Démare (FDJ) took a surprise victory in the 2016 edition of Milan-San Remo, with British sprinter Ben Swift (Sky) placing second.

After an attack by Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky) over the top of the Poggio, the peloton broke apart with a group of pre-race favourites including Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) and Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) giving chase.

However, with no one rider wishing to lead out the other in the chase group and Kwiatkowski’s effort causing him to fade, the race came back together in the final kilometre to set up a bunch sprint.

Démare started his sprint relatively early with Swift on his wheel, but the Sky rider simply couldn’t come around the FDJ man to claim a victory. Démare became the first French rider to win Milan-San Remo since Laurent Jalabert in 1995.

Milan-San Remo guide

One of the most exciting and prestigious races of the season, Milan-San Remo is the first monument of the year.

Despite being known as the ‘sprinters’ classic’, the race would not be as prestigious as it is were it a straightforward procession to a bunch sprint, and instead the race is characterised by its tortuous length, thrilling conclusion and delicate balancing act between sprinters and attackers.

The introduction of La Manie in 2008 gave the advantage to attacking puncheurs, as a difficult, significantly-positioned climb to gain an advantage over those hoping for a bunch sprint. It contributed to a handful of more selective editions – Fabian Cancellara won from a solo break in 2008 and Simon Gerrans from a group of three in 2010, and in both 2011 and 2013 a group of seven contested the finish, won by Matt Goss and Gerald Ciolek respectively.

When La Manie was dropped in 2014, the organisers initial intention had been to make the route even harder by replacing it with the Pompeiana in a slot far closer to the finish. But that climb was deemed unsafe due to the possibility of landslides, so that since 2014 the race has featured neither climb.

Now the dynamic of the route has shifted comprehensively back to the sprinters. After Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) won the sprint from a sizable peloton in 2014, the finish was moved back to its traditional finishing straight of Via Roma, and another sprinter was triumphant in the form of John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) in 2015 and Démare in 2016.

For the bold and the brave the Cipressa provides a potential launchpad for an attack at just over 20km from the finish, but for the more realistic it’s the Poggio.

At 4km in length and 3.7% in gradient, the climb is notorious for being relatively straightforward compared with most iconic climbs, but its fame derives from its position in the race. On the back of around 280km of racing the riders are exhausted upon reaching it, and, peaking at 5.5km from the finish, any rider who goes over the top first with a gap has a chance of zooming down the descent and holding off the sprinters for victory on the Via Roma.

Milan-San Remo 2016 route profile

Milan-San remo 2016 profile

Milan-San Remo 2016: Teams

Ag2r La Mondiale (France)
Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec (Italy)
Astana (Kazakhstan)
Bardiani CSF (Italy)
Bora-Argon 18 (Germany)
Cannondale (USA)
CCC Sprandi Polkowice (Poland)
Cofidis (France)
Dimension Data (RSA)
Etixx-QuickStep (Belgium)
FDJ (France)
Giant-Alpecin (Germany)
IAM Cycling (Switzerland)
Katusha (Russia)
Lampre-Merida (Italy)
Lotto-Soudal (Belgium)
LottoNL-Jumbo (Netherlands)
Movistar (Spain)
Novo-Nordisk (USA)
Orica-GreenEdge (Australia)
Southeast-Venezuela (Italy)
Team Sky (Great Britain)
Tinkoff (Russia)
Trek-Segafredo (USA)

Milan-San Remo : Recent winners

2016: Arnaud Démare (Fra) FDJ
2015: John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Alpecin
2014: Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha
2013: Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka
2012: Simon Gerrans (Aus) GreenEdge
2011: Matt Goss (Aus) HTC-Highroad
2010: Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank
2009: Mark Cavendish (GBr) Columbia-Highroad
2008: Fabian Cancellara (Sui) CSC
2007: Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank

Milan-San Remo: 2016 top 10

1. Arnaud Démare (Fra) FDJ in 6-54-45
2. Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky
3. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto-Soudal
4. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis
5. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing
6. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha
7. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
8. Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Southeast
9. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
10. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx-QuickStep all same time

Previous editions: 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009

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Eurosport will be showing three hours of live coverage from Milan-San Remo on Saturday, March 19, with extended highlights that evening

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