What's Cool In Road Cycling

Lotto Belisol: Preview Milan-Sanremo

Spring is coming, so time for Milan-Sanremo, also called La Primavera. Some weeks ago the organization announced that the Pompeiana, a new climb between Cipressa and Poggio, was cancelled. The reason was that the road-surface had suffered too much of the bad weather conditions past winter, so it was too big of a risk to let the riders pass over it. The organization of Milan-Sanremo didn’t get the permission of the local authorities to let the race pass there.

The route
Milan-Sanremo is 294 kilometers long this edition. After the modifications there are now six hills on the course. Le Manie wasn’t planned for this year anyway. Just before halfway the riders first have to climb the Passo del Turchino. Last year this climb was neutralized because of the heavy snow. After a section of about eighty kilometers the riders reach the zone of the Capi. The Capo Mele, Capo Cervo and Capo Berta all follow in a distance of thirteen kilometers. The top of the famous Cipressa lies at 22 kilometers of the finish line and after the top of the equally known Poggio there are only 6.1 kilometers left to go.

Lotto Belisol goes to Milan-Sanremo with these three leaders: Tony Gallopin, André Greipel and Jürgen Roelandts. They will take on among other Fabian Cancellara, Mark Cavendish, John Degenkolb, Philippe Gilbert, Peter Sagan and Greg Van Avermaet. Also Gerald Ciolek, last year’s winner, will be there.

Suited for sprinters
Marc Sergeant, manager Lotto Belisol: “Because the Pompeiana was cancelled it now is a race for sprinters again. Also Le Manie doesn’t lie on the route, so it’s ideal for them. If the race does cover the Pompeiana in the future, it will be more difficult for the fast guys. The Pompeiana was an unknown factor, that’s why we had planned a reconnaissance. The fact if that climb was part of Milan-Sanremo or not, not only had a big impact on the team’s selection, but also had consequences for our organization. It wasn’t opportune to make this decision so late.”

“In the team it’s all about the fact if André Greipel will be present in the group that battles for the victory or not. If he’s in front, there’s no doubt and we play his card. All depends on the passages over Cipressa and Poggio, if Greipel is well in front afterwards or not. Both Tony Gallopin and Jürgen Roelandts have to grab their chance there and jump away when men like Fabian Cancellara and Peter Sagan attack. That’s most important, that we have several riders that we can count on.”

The weather
Marc Sergeant: “Rain is predicted for Sunday, possibly all day long. Jürgen Roelandts can perform well in bad weather conditions. The wind will also have a big influence, especially on a course that’s straight ahead like this one. If there’s headwind on most part of the course, that will discourage many riders. A tailwind will make that if a group of riders gets in front, the others won’t see them back before the finish. Lotto Belisol comes to the start with a strong team. We have to keep our riders on board as long as possible, so we have one or two helpers to start the Poggio. That way the team leaders can start the crucial phase without spending too much energy.”

Selection Lotto Belisol:
Lars Bak, Tony Gallopin, André Greipel, Adam Hansen, Pim Ligthart, Jürgen Roelandts, Marcel Sieberg and Jelle Vanendert.

Sports directors: Herman Frison and Bart Leysen.

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