Milan-San Remo (1.WT, 8/08) opens the monuments season, but will have to renounce the name ‘Primavera’ this year. The Italian classic will start on Saturday morning from Milan for 299 kilometer in the direction of the Ligurian coast, towards San Remo. The peloton won’t cross the famous Capi, neither the Turchino, but will reach the traditional final from Imperia with the Cipressa and the Poggio inlands via de Colle di Nava. Circus-Wanty Gobert-Tormans participates for the first time in its history to the Classicissima with a selection of six riders. The selection is composed by Italian rider Andrea Pasqualon, Dutch rider Danny Van Poppel and Belgian riders Jan Bakelants, Aimé De Gendt, Xandro Meurisse and Loïc Vliegen and directed by Hilaire Van der Schueren and Steven De Neef.
Hilaire Van der Schueren (sports director):
« The decrease from seven to six riders made it quite difficult to make a selection. We had a dozen candidates in our team. Finally, Timothy Dupont isn’t part of it, because he suffers from back pain since his crash in Milano-Torino yesterday. It’s a pity, because I wanted him to discover this classic. It will be for a next time. »
« Our group can achieve a good result. A 300 kilometer race is always special, although I think that the new course without the Capo and the Turchino is less hard. The heat will also play an important role, because the riders will be on the bike for more than seven hours. I’ve got some ideas already, but the preceding races weren’t enough to have a clear image about who’s going to be there in the final. So we’ll have to wait and see who feels best during the race. »
« Milano-San Remo is a special event for all Italians, because it is really part of the history of our country. In addition, there are not many classics suited for sprinters, it’s the unique monument in reach of sprinters, even though certain climbers like Alaphilippe and Nibali won it already. Anyway, it will certainly be an open race, especially this year after the modification of the course. »
« I ‘ve done the recon of the final 70 kilometer, which are very technical. Indeed, the Capi disappeared, but the descent of the Colle di Nava is fast and followed by a steep climb towards Lungo Mare. The downhill before the Cipressa is again very fast and technical. The race will probably break open there. »
« I’ve chosen to skip the Strade Bianche and Milano-Torino in order to prepare this race in the best possible way, at the Route d’Occitanie. I feel very good, and I’m ready to assume my responsibilities as a team captain. I’ve done this race already twice, and I want to grab this opportunity to go for a result. I hope to come across the Poggio with the best, then we’ll see! I’m secretly dreaming about the victory, otherwise it wouldn’t be worth it to participate! »
« Indeed, we’ll only be six at the start, but this year is exceptional and we have to accept that. We are here with a nice team, with Danny Van Poppel who has shown in Milan-Turin that he’s fast and on good form. Also boys like Vliegen and Meurisse can play a role in the final with their puncher/climber profile. In any case, we’ll have to anticipate the final and accompany the attacks because it won’t be easy to control! »