Where: Italy
When: March 18, 2017
Rank: UCI WorldTour
Distance: 295km

Milan-San Remo will return for its 108th edition in 2017, with the famous spring race being the first of the five monuments of professional cycling.

The race can be one of the most unpredictable in cycling, often because its early season position can mean inclement weather, with the riders even having to deal with a blizzard conditions.

As for the racing, that can be equally unpredictable, with the final climbs of the Cipressa and the Poggio sometimes being enough for climbers and puncheurs to spring clear, and sometimes allowing the sprinters to cling on.

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.

Key Info: Preview | Start List | Live on TV

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 2017 route profile

Milan-San remo 2016 profile

Milan-San Remo 2017: Teams

Ag2r-La Mondiale (France)
Astana (Kazakhstan)
BMC Racing (USA)
Bahrain-Merida (Bahrain)
Bora-Hansgrohe (Germany)
Cannondale-Drapac (USA)
Dimension Data (South Africa)
FDJ (France)
Katusha-Alpecin (Switzerland)
Lotto-Soudal (Belgium)
LottoNL-Jumbo (Netherlands)
Orica-Scott (Australia)
Quick Step Floors (Belgium)
Sunweb (Germany)
Team Sky (Great Britain)
Trek-Segafredo (USA)
UAE Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates)

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

Previous editions: 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009

If previous years are anything to go by, Eurosport will be showing around three hours of live coverage from Milan-San Remo on Saturday, March 18, 2017.

Complete start list of riders and teams taking part in the 2017 Milan-San Remo on Saturday, March 18, including two-time world champion Peter Sagan.

The five oldest, longest and most prestigious one-day races in professional cycling are grouped together under the heading ‘Monuments’. Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Il Lombardia…

Despite freezing conditions and heavy snowfall forcing this edition of the Classic to take a mid-race interval, over half the field still toughed it out to the finish

The Milan-San Remo one-day classic has generated a long list of statistics since its debut year in 1907