Campagnolo’s three WorldTour teams line up in Milan this Saturday.
But all eyes are on one Campagnolo rider in particular. This Saturday (19th March) sees the first Monument of the season with the 2022 edition of Milan-Sanremo.
At 293km, it’s also the longest classic in the calendar and is why the race first held in 1907 is also known as La Classicissima (the big classic).
The 112th edition follows a parcours that drops south from Milan. It’s mainly flat before the riders face the Passo del Turchino around 130km in. Still, rarely does the Turchino split the field. Yes, there’ll be attacks, yes there’ll be breakaways, but history suggests the race-defining action won’t arrive until around 240km in.
That’s when the Campagnolo-supported riders and their competition will shift up a gear or two as they do battle with the Tre Capi. Within 11km, the field consume Capo Mele, Capo Cervo and Capo Berta, albeit they’re more undulating than sheer climbs.
But their importance is a symbolic one – it’s traditionally the time when the teams need to reveal their cards. It’s then onto the 5.6km-long Cipressa that averages 4.3% and peaks at near 9%. With 263km in the legs, it’s a true test of muscular endurance and often signals the end to many a sprinter’s dreams.
If the sprinters remain in contention on the Cipressa descent, their ambitions will do well to remain intact after the Poggio di San Remo. Although only 3.7km long at an average 3.7% gradient, on paper it seems almost sedate. But, again, with so many kilometres covered and the speed at which it’s ascended, riders can be spread all over the road unless they have something left in the tank.
Riders equipped with the unrivalled Campagnolo Super Record EPS groupset and rolling on Campagnolo Bora Ultra WTO wheels will take to the Milan-San Remo start line.
But which ones will be in contention?
UAE TEAM EMIRATES
Arguably, Milan-San Remo is all about one rider – the incredible Tadej Pogačar. The 23-year-old’s already ripped up the record books, becoming the youngest rider ever to win two editions of the Tour de France.
In 2022, it seems that the Slovenian’s intent on writing his own record book, with victories already at the UAE Tour, Strade Bianche and, most recently, Tirreno-Adriatico. That was the 10th stage-race win of his professional career and, for many, installed him as clear pre-race favourite.
On this form, it seems inevitable that Campagnolo-using Pogačar will make a break for victory. But where? It seems improbable on the Milan-San Remo parcours that he’ll repeat his exploits of Strade Bianche, where he soloed to victory with 50km to go.
The Poggio seems more probable. If not, surely it’ll be the Cipressa. The world watched in awe at his descending skills on the gravel of Strade Bianche.
It could well happen again near San Remo.
If it does, arguably it’ll be down to the hard miles put in by his UAE Team Emirates support including the likes of Alessandro Covi and Diego Ulissi. Matteo Trentin also bolsters the squad and would be a world-class sprinting option if Pogačar’s not in contention.
He has two 10th places to his name at Milan-San Remo.
AG2R CITROËN TEAM
Campagnolo-using AG2R CITROËN TEAM will be looking for Oliver Naesen to rediscover the form of 2019 that saw the Belgian finish second at Milan-San Remo. It was the first and only time Naesen’s podiumed at a Monument despite his undoubted potential.
Three years ago, he stormed through the field on the Poggio. Will history repeat itself this weekend? Fourth at this season’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad serves notice of Naesen’s early season form.
Naesen’s arguably a star among stars as AG2R Citroen Team send a powerful unit to Milan including Andrea Vendrame, Bob Jungels, Greg van Avermaet and Benoit Cosnefroy.
Each of them is capable of challenging on their day depending on race tactics.
COFIDIS SOLUTIONS CREDITS
Cofidis has enjoyed a pretty strong start to the 2022 season with four victories already – Bryan Coquard and Benjamin Thomas have two apiece. Both riders will line up in Milan, though the surprise package may come in the shape of Alexis Renard.
The 22-year-old finished a strong 10th overall at the Saudi Tour and finished eighth on stage one of February’s Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var. Mind you, how will Renard cope with such a distance at his first Milan-San Remo?
Simone Consonni, Davide Cimolai and Kenneth Van Bilsen will also line up in Milan.
Campagnolo wish the best to all our riders competing at this legendary race.
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