What is this race and why should I care about it?
Milan-Sanremo is the first of the five monuments of cycling – the others being Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Il Lombardia – and at 293km is the longest one-day race on the calendar.
The late Tom Simpson became the first British rider to win Milan-Sanremo in 1964 when he outwitted Frenchman Raymond Poulidor on the final Poggio climb before adding the first of three monuments to his palmarès. Mark Cavendish became the second and, as yet, only other Briton to win the race after pipping Heinrich Haussler to the line in 2009.
Italian riders have dominated the race since its inception in 1907 where they have won 51 of the 111 editions. Following a relative drought for the host nation, Vincenzo Nibali ended a 12-year wait for Italy with his win in 2018 – Filippo Pozzato (2006) being the previous Italian to prevail. Belgium is the second most successful nation with 22 victories following last year’s win from Jasper Stuyven, while France is third with 14.
Although often referred to as a sprinters’ classic, over the years the race has been won by general classification riders, all-rounders and those ordinarily suited to the cobbles of northern Europe. Indeed, recent editions have been won after attacks on the final climb of the day, the Poggio, held all the way to the line, thus denying the pure sprinters the gallop finish they had been thinking of for the preceding seven hours.
When is Milan-Sanremo?
What is only the third one-day WorldTour race of the year gets under way at 9.10am (8.10am GMT) on Saturday March 19, 2022.
How long is this year’s race?
Milan-Sanremo is a whopping 293 kilometres long.
What does the route look like?
It is a classic route for the race the Italians call la classicissima. The Passo del Turchino returns following a two-year absence, though unlike the preceding 112 editions the race will get under way in the Maspes-Vigorelli Velodrome. The legendary track has previously hosted the Giro d’Italia and the Giro di Lombardia – as well as concerts by the Beatles, Led Zepplin and the Clash – but never the start of Milan-Sanremo.
Anyway, here’s what the route for this year’s race looks like:
The triumvirate of short climbs known as the Tre Capi – Capo Mele, Capo Cervo and Capo Berta – that precede the Cipressa make its profile for the day look like this:
What does the finale of the race look like?
Once the peloton has descended off the Passo del Turchino, the peloton will reach the coastline road after around five hours of riding. If they have not already done so, then the teams with genuine ambitions of winning Milan-Sanremo will be battling hard for position in the countdown to the Cipressa-Poggio double header, both within the final 30km (below).
With a measly 271.4km now in the legs – plus whatever length of neutralised riding the organisers decide to include at the beginning of the race – the penultimate climb of the day, the Cipressa (below), will be the final act for some riders who simply cannot hold the wheels of team-mates or rivals. For others the 5.6km long climb with an average gradient of 4.1 per cent will become a platform on which to build their challenge.
Either way, there is a very fast descent over the other side. It was here in 2019 where local rider Niccolo Bonifazio (watch below) launched an audacious attack. Though in vain, Bonifazio’s move highlighted a key danger point. Nobody will want to have to chase just yet and so one would expect all of the key protagonists will be marking each other.
Once over the Cipressa, a flat, but twisty and technical, stretch of road connects to the final, potentially decisive, climb of the day: the Poggio.
Or to give it its full name, the Poggio di Sanremo.
Topping out just 5.5km from the finish, the 3.7km long climb with an average gradient of under four per cent, is a perennial graveyard for many hopefuls. On numerous occasions, too, it has provided the launchpad for an assault. In the 2017 edition Peter Sagan attacked on the steeper section near the summit that reaches eight per cent, only Alaphilippe and Michal Kwiatkowski were able to respond, the latter eventually going on to win.
The descent is extremely technical and not one for the feint-hearted. Whatever the conditions the riders will have to navigate their way through a series of tight hairpins, all on very, very narrow roads. Concentration and nerve is key.
As you can see from the above profile, once safely off the Poggio, the course flattens out as the race enters the unremarkable town of Sanremo.
The final sting in the tail in what will be the longest one-day race many riders will have ever done comes just 750 metres from the finishing line on Via Roma as they are faced with a 90-degree left-hand turn, quickly followed by another 90-degree turn before hitting the final straight.
How can I watch this year’s race?
Those lucky enough to have subscriptions can watch the action on Eurosport or GCN Race Pass. If you cannot watch the race on TV – or your smartphone – then you can follow the action here, so bookmark this page and return on the day of the race and follow it with us. Gratis.
What teams will ride at Milan-Sanremo?
As with all WorldTour races, each of the 18 teams that make up the top-flight of men’s professional cycling receive an invite and in the case of Milan-Sanremo all of them are contracted to race in northern Italy. In addition to the WorldTeams, Pro-Continental teams Alpecin-Fenix and Arkéa-Samsic also qualified to race courtesy of last year’s rankings, while race organisers RSC handed wildcard spots to Bardiani-CSF-Faizane, Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli, Eolo-Kometa and TotalEnergies.
What does the startlist look like?
Race organsiers RCS are yet to release the confirmed seven-man teams to contest Milan-Sanremo, but a number of teams have named their line-ups. Telegraph Sport will update the below details in the countdown to Saturday’s big race if there are any changes to those named.
Ag2r-Citroën (Fra): Mikaël Cherel (Fra), Benoît Cosnefroy (Fra), Bob Jungels (Lux), Greg Van Avermaet (Bel), Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel), Andrea Vendrame (Ita), Larry Warbasse (US).
Astana Qazaqstan (Kaz): Leonardo Basso (Ita), Manuele Boaro (Ita), Fabio Felline (Ita), Yevgeniy Gidich (Kaz), Davide Martinelli (Ita), Gianni Moscon (Ita), Artyom Zakharov (Kaz).
Bahrain Victorious (Brn): Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn), Phil Bauhaus (Ger), Damiano Caruso (Ita), Jonathan Milan (Ita, neo-pro), Matej Mohoric (Slo), Jasha Sütterlin (Ger), Jan Tratnik (Slo).
BikeExchange-Jayco (Aus): Lawson Craddock (US), Luke Durbridge (Aus), Alex Edmondson (Aus), Alexander Konychev (Ita), Michael Matthews (Aus), Cameron Meyer (Aus), Luka Mezgec (Slo).
Bora-Hansgrohe (Ger): Giovanni Aleotti (Ita, neo-pro), Cesare Benedetti (Ita), Marco Haller (Aut), Ryan Mullen (Irl), Ide Schelling (Hol), Danny van Poppel (Ned).
Cofidis (Fra): Davide Cimolai (Ita), Simone Consonni (Ita), Bryan Coquard (Fra), Simon Geschke (Ger), Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fra), Szymon Sajnok (Pol), Davide Villella (Ita).
DSM (Ger): Nico Denz (Ger), Nils Eekhoff (Ned), Chris Hamilton (Aus), Soren Kragh Andersen (Den), Andreas Leknessund (Nor, neo-pro), Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned), Kevin Vermaerke (US, neo-pro).
EF Education-EasyPost (US): Alberto Bettiol (Ita), Owain Doull (GB), Jonas Rutsch (Ger), Tom Scully (NZ), James Shaw (GB), Michael Valgren (Den), Julius van den Berg (Ned).
Groupama-FDJ (Fra): Clément Davy (Fra, neo-pro), Arnaud Démare (Fra), Kevin Geniets (Hol), Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu), Quentin Pacher (Fra), Anthony Roux (Fra), Miles Scotson (Aus).
Ineos Grenadiers (GB): Filippo Ganna (Ita), Ethan Hayter (GB), Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol), Tom Pidcock (GB, neo-pro), Luke Rowe (GB), Ben Swift (GB), Elia Viviani (Ita).
Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux (Bel): Biniam Ghirmay Hailu (Eri), Alexander Kristoff (Nor), Andrea Pasqualon (Ita), Simone Petilli (Ita), Lorenzo Rota (Ita), Rein Taaramae (Est), Loïc Vliegen (Bel).
Israel-Premier Tech (Isr): Matthias Brändle (Aut), Alexander Cataford (Can), Alex Dowsett (GB), Omer Goldstein (Isr), Krists Neilands (Lat), Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita), Rick Zabel (Ger).
Jumbo-Visma (Ned): Edoardo Affini (Ita), Christophe Laporte (Fra), Primoz Roglic (Slo), Wout van Aert (Bel), Tosh Van der Sande (Bel), Jos van Emden (Ned), Nathan Van Hooydonck (Bel).
Lotto-Soudal (Bel): Filippo Conca (Ita, neo-pro), Frederik Frison (Bel), Philippe Gilbert (Bel), Roger Kluge (Ger), Maxim Van Gils (Bel, neo-pro), Florian Vermeersch (Bel).
Movistar (Spa): Alex Aranburu (Spa), Will Barta (US), Iñigo Elosegui (Spa), Iván García Cortina (Spa), Abner González (Pur, neo-pro), Max Kanter (Ger), Gonzalo Serrano (Spa).
Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl (Bel): Andrea Bagioli (Ita), Davide Ballerini (Ita), Mattia Cattaneo (Ita), Mikkel Frolich Honore (Den), Fabio Jakobsen (Ned), Florian Sénéchal (Fra), Zdenek Stybar (Cze).
Trek-Segafredo (US): Gianluca Brambilla (Ita), Tony Gallopin (Fra), Alex Kirsch (Lux), Jacopo Mosca (Ita), Mads Pedersen (Den), Simon Pellaud (Fra), Toms Skujins (Lat).
UAE Team Emirates (UAE): Alessandro Covi (Ita), Davide Formolo (Ita), Ryan Gibbons (SA), Tadej Pogacar (Slo), Jan Polanc (Slo), Oliviero Troia (Ita), Diego Ulissi (Ita).
Alpecin-Fenix (Bel): Silvan Dillier (Swi), Michael Gogl (Aut), Stefano Oldani (Ita), Jasper Philipsen (Bel), Kristian Sbaragli (Ita), Robert Stannard (Aus), Mathieu van der Poel (Ned).
Arkéa-Samsic (Fra): Maxime Bouet (Fra), Nacer Bouhanni (Fra), Romain Hardy (Fra), Kévin Ledanois (Fra), Laurent Pichon (Fra), Clément Russo (Fra), Connor Swift (GB).
Bardiani-CSF-Faizane (Ita): Luca Covili (Ita), Filippo Fiorelli (Ita), Davide Gabburo (Ita), Sacha Modolo (Ita), Luca Rastelli (Ita), Alessandro Tonelli (Ita), Filippo Zana (Ita).
Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli (Ita): Eduard-Michael Grosu (Rou), Umberto Marengo (Ita), Didier Merchan (Col), Jhonatan Restrepo (Col), Filippo Tagliani (Ita), Ricardo Alejandro Zurita (Spa).
Eolo-Kometa (Ita): Vincenzo Albanese (Ita), Davide Bais (Ita), Francesco Gavazzi (Ita), Mirco Maestri (Ita), Samuele Rivi (Ita), Diego Rosa (Ita), Diego Pablo Sevilla (Spa).
TotalEnergies (Fra): Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor), Maciej Bodnar (Pol), Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita), Daniel Oss (Ita), Peter Sagan (Svk), Julien Simon (Fra), Anthony Turgis (Fra).