Lots of airtime. This Saturday, cycling lovers will have the opportunity to follow Milan-San Remo, the “Classicissima”, in full, on Eurosport 2 and Eurosport Player. Guillaume Di Grazia and classics specialists Jacky Durand and Steve Chainel will be on commentary throughout the day. Airtime is scheduled for 9:50 a.m. and arrival is scheduled between 4:47 p.m. and 5:28 p.m. depending on the average speed of the fastest. Suffice to say that fans of the Little Queen have reason to be delighted.

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No major changes to report regarding the route…except a new departure city, namely Pavia (Lombardy). For the rest, we’re on classic. 288 km are on the program with an (almost) flat first third, the traditional rolling climb of Passo del Turchino (2.4 km at 5.8%) around the halfway point, and an explosive finale with the “Capi” – the Capo Mele (2 km at 3.6%), the Capo Cervo (1.3 km at 3.7%) and the Capo Berta (1.7 km at 7%) – and especially the legendary Cipressa (5.6 km at 4.1%) and Poggio (3.6 km at 3.7%) which should still decide the winner on Via Roma, in San Remo.

Generally, Milan-San Remo is a long-distance race which settles in the last kilometers, and most often in the Poggio, the final difficulty of the event. But this year, we could well see some big favorites reveal themselves a little earlier. Indeed, to distance himself from his main opponent, namely Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) could take advantage of the slopes of the Cipressa. It must be said that the Slovenian is used to solo acts, as he once again showed on the Strade Bianche. However, the task promises to be tough, particularly because the climb is 22 km from the finish and his competitors could have time to organize themselves in the plain to make up time for him (if he ever comes to s ‘get out of the peloton). Furthermore, to fight against “MVDP” and “Pogi”, the outsiders could well surprise, by adopting an unusual strategy. To be continued !

The first “Monument” of the season is one of the most open races on the calendar. It can be suitable for a sprinter as well as a puncher or a good roller. It is therefore difficult to name only a few names among the favorites. But obviously, the title holder Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) is one of the most anticipated men this Saturday. Just like Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), often active on the “Classicissima” but never a winner and who comes out of a real demonstration on the Strade Bianche. Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers), second last year, the winner of the 2022 edition Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Victorious), the European champion Christophe Laporte (Visma-Lease a Bike) or even the recent winner of Milan- Turin Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-EasyPost) will be one to watch if the race becomes (very) difficult. In the event of a “mass” arrival, the Dutchman Olav Kooij (Visma-Lease a Bike), the Dane Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek) and the Belgian Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) seem – at least on paper – the more armed to assert themselves. But we could also have cited Jonathan Milan (Lidl-Trek), Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty) or even Laurence Pithie (Groupama-FDJ).

On the French side, behind Christophe Laporte who is one of the “big” outsiders, no one seems capable of getting involved in the fight for victory…or even for the podium. But with riders of the caliber of Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal Quick-Step), winner in 2019, and Benoît Cosnefroy (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale Team), in great form at the start of the season, we could well be surprised. We will also closely follow Axel Zingle (Cofidis) whose characteristics lend themselves well to the first “Monument” of the season…even if he has never (until now) been to his advantage on the great classics.