Yet another dark cloud looms over the sport of cycling; the release of the UCI’s Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) report led to some unwanted headlines being taken from what was backed up with very limited facts hidden behind anonymous statements.
As cycling has always done in the past when faced with its long list of controversies, the season rumbles on to the next gruelling race. With the first of these being the opening ‘Monument’ of the 2015 season, Milan - San Remo, taking place this Sunday.
If anything can be guaranteed with the spring classic is that it can be one of the most unpredictable races on the cycling calendar, from its varied styled of winners to its unpredictable weather, Milan - San Remo has had it all in previous editions and it is sure to deliver once again.
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In the 2013 edition of the race, two mountain passes and 52km of the route that were covered in snow were removed from the course with the peloton climbing on their team buses around the halfway point to restart the race once again. The final result was just as shocking as MTN Qhubeka’s Gerald Ciolek won a bunch sprint over two of the biggest names in the sport, Peter Sagan and Fabian Cancellara.
Last year’s race resulted in a far more traditional bunch sprint as Alexander Kristoff secured the biggest win of his career ousting Fabian Cancellara, once again, and Team Sky’s Ben Swift in the finale.
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The race favourite
Kristoff will start Sunday as one of the pre-race favourites once again alongside Britain’s Mark Cavendish who will be looking to add another Milan - San Remo crown to his 2009 victory. Tinkoff-Saxo’s Peter Sagan will be desperate to fulfil his one day potential and repay the massive contract that was given to him by his new team owner Oleg Tinkov at the beginning of the season.
It won’t be a pure sprinters affair with classics specialist Fabian Cancellara attempting to carry on his unbelievable run of podium finishes in the last 12 monuments that he has completed. Early season top performers John Degenkolb, Michael Matthews and Juan Jose Lobato will also be looking to make this their breakthrough race.
Whoever does secure the biggest title of the 2015 season so far, will come with a huge amount of effort and grit in a race that can turn on any climb, descent or weather condition.