90th Milan - San Remo, World Cup Round 1
Italy, March 20, 1999
Preview by Tuur Verdonck, NetherlandsThe first World Cup race of the season - Milan-San Remo - 294 kms between the the second capital of Italy and the famous city on the coast of the Italian Côte d'Azur. Milan-San Remo has always been the first classic of the season. It's nickname is 'la Primavera', which is Italian for 'the spring' - as it is raced on the first weekend of spring (taken at the solstice). The race has always been a big Italian presentation. No other classic race is as important as Milan-San Remo for the Italian racers. Everyone who has ever won in San Remo has been honoured for the rest of his life. For example, Gabriele Colombo, who won the 1996 edition, is still considered to be a dangerous rider, although he has never won any other great races since his finest hour in the early spring of 1996. Other riders became real heroes after their wins: Claudio Chiapucci became a leading cyclist for the Italians after having raced so wonderfully in the 1990 Tour de France. But he became a god when he won Milan-San Remo in 1991.
The Milan-San Remo parcours is very varied: it starts in Milan - in the cathedral square - then enters the low plains. Suddenly the riders face the climbs up onto the Turchino, a 'col' which reaches to 432 m. above sea level. After climbing this long but not very steep hill, the riders descend into the city of Voltiri, where their promenade along the Mediterranean Sea coast begins. From this point until the finish, the riders have to climb many small hills, like the Capo Mele and the Capo Berta. After these thresholds, the famous Cipressa climb arrives. This is the hill where the selection between the top riders and the rest of the peloton is often made. The Cipressa (240 m) rises out of the coastal route and the riders resume their rolling course along the coast after the descent. There is only one climb to go after this - El Poggio di San Remo (162 m), a 3.75 kms long climb, which isn't very steep. This is the last real chance to split the field and it is an unwritten rule - but not one which should be interpreted strictly - that the rider who reaches the top of the Poggio alone, wins the race.
Of course, it's not always that way - for example, the last two editions were won by German Erik Zabel, from the Telekom-team, in a bunch sprint. Italian Alberto Elli, who reached the top of the Poggio alone was caught in the final kilometers by what was left of the bunch. However, the last two years seem to be an exception to the rule of the Poggio, not a trend. In the last twenty editions, the man who reached the top of the Poggio first has won 13 times. The last time the rule was violated was when Irishman Sean Kelly caught Italian Moreno Argentin during the descent of the Poggio.
This year's race has strong list of favourites. First of them all is the leading Italian cyclist and winner of two World Cups - Michele Bartoli, from the Mapei-Quick Step team. Last week, Bartoli convincingly won the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race which is considered preparation for 'la Primavera'.
His most serious contender is considered to be Belgian Frank vandenbroucke, who has already won this year's Omloop Het Volk and who finished 4th in Paris-Nice, another important stage race in a rider's preparation for the San Remo. He not only show great form in "the Race to the Sun" - Paris-Nice is often called - winning the Queen's stage to the Alpine town of Valberg but also presented himself as a new 'patron' in the professional cycling scene, just like legendary Frenchman Bernard Hinault.
Another favourite will be Dutchman Michael Boogerd. Boogerd won this year's Paris-Nice benefitting from the brilliant Rabobank teamwork. The only question concerning the Dutchman is whether he will be able to show enough attacking strength on the Poggio, which is a prerequisite for having a chance to win the race.
Several outsiders will also start in Milan. The Latvian Roman Vainsteins showed great form in last week's Tirreno, where he lost the leader's jersey to Bartoli only after he went the wrong way and lost time. Vainsteins lost several minutes in the general classification but he took his revenge the next day when he won another stage - his second for the Tour.
French hero Richard Virenque, this year with a Polti-jersey on his shoulders, is another rider to focus on. Virenque doesn't seem to think of the Festina-scandal anymore and he impressed in Paris-Nice in the mountains.
In case the race ends up with a bunch sprint, the riders the most likely to win will be Belgian Tom Steels (won a stage in Paris-Nice) and German Erik Zabel. However, Zabel seems to be slowly losing his great sprinting power. And Steels is not sure whether he will get over the Poggio unharmed.
The other riders with a chance include Belgian veteran Andrei Tchmil and his compatriat Peter van Petegem, who gets faster every year.
Finally, one rider who really wants to win Milan-San Remo is Mario Cipollini. However, he was involved in a serious crash in the second last stage of Tirreno-Adriatico when his compatriat Baldato pushed Nicola Minali and Cipollini into the fence. Minali broke his collar bone, but Cipollini turned out to be only moderately injured. Today we will see whether the 'Italian lion' will be able to realize his dream.
The Milan-San Remo Form GuideMichele Bartoli - The leader of Mapei-Quick Step and reigning World Cup champion. He is also in terrific form at present having taken the GC for Tirreno-Adriatico. He didn't win a single stage but was an attacking force on virtually every stage. He came close 2 years ago when he attacked on each of the last climbs. On Poggio, he was caught again on the descent by Ferrigato, Konyshev and the rest of the first group and then saw Erik Zabel dominate the sprint. Michele Bartoli is the favorite with the bookies. He will attack today.
Davide Rebellin - was one of the strongest riders earlier in the week at Tirreno-Adriatico along with Laurent Jalabert, Stefano Garzelli and Bartoli. Rebellin was very attacking on the climbs. He is likely to attempt a big move and probably would see the Cipressa as the more appropriate climb to attack on than El Poggio (which is not as tough). If it is a small group sprint at the end then he has a good chance.
Stefano Garzelli - had the opportunity of riding as team captain at Tirreno-Adriatico for Mercatone Uno-Bianchi. He repaid the faith the team placed in him by taking 3rd overall on GC behind Michele Bartoli and Davide Rebellin. He is called Giovane at Mercatone Uno-Bianchi. The youngster will be watching out for Marco Pantani today but is very strong on the climbs and can sprint well. So he might just take his own chance if things look right at the end.
Erik Zabel - has won this race in the last two years and is still sprinting beautifully. He has kept a low profile so far this season but is such an allround finisher that he must be one of the major threats. Faster than Cipollini on the last three hills.
Laurent Jalabert - showed at Tirreno-Adriatico that he is in fine form. He haunted Michele Bartoli throughout the race and on the stage to Torricella Sicura he upset the Italian because he refused to help in the chase while Igor Ganzalez was away. He is an attacking and fast rider. Not the big sprinter that he once was but always a threat in these tough events. He also won this race in 1995 taking his chances against Maurizio Fondriest on El Poggio.
Romans Vainsteins - was the surprise of the Tirreno-Adriatico. The Latvian won Stage 1 in Sorrento and the later stage to Alba Adriatica. He would have threatened Bartoli on the overall GC but he took a wrong road in Torricella Sicura and lost too much time. He believes that he is in very good form for this race and has a strong claim. He is also going to benefit from the guidance of Alberto Volpi (manager of Vini Caldirola-Sidermec), who was behind the successes of Gianni Bugno in 1990, Giorgio Furlan in 1994 and Gabriele Colombo in 1996. An outside chance to surprise.
Oskar Camenzind - is the reigning World Champion and while he started Tirreno-Adriatico at Sorrento with some doubts about his form, he finished the race a San Benedetto del Tronto with smiles all round. He finished 9th on GC and he is saying that he may get into a breakaway today. He is joking that a long attack might come. He will not win a final sprint so he needs to use his World's winning breakaway strategies and he is very quick on hills like La Cipressa and El Poggio. Almost certain to attack somewhere.
Mario Cipollini - has said that Milan-San Remo was the first high point of his 1999 season. His preparation seemed to indicate that he was taking this statement seriously. However, last Tuesday, at Civitanova Marche, in the penultimate stage of Tirreno-Adriatico, he was involved in the spectacular fall and hurt his shoulder. No breaks but some ligament damage was detected. It seems that Super Mario is recuperating quickly and he is now expected to compete. He feels that he can beat Zabel if it comes down to a sprint. The final hills, while tough, are still within his capacities.
Stefano Zanini - is one of the consistently good performers for the Mapei-Quick Step team and has shown repeatedly that he can counter the hard attacks and is very quick in his own right. He showed these abilities at Luco dei Marsi, the longest stage of the recently completed Tirreno-Adriatico, where he beat Mario Cipollini. Mapei-Quick Step can expect something from him in the case of a sprint finish.
Gabriele Colombo - He rode well in the recently completed Tirreno-Adriatico attacking on two occasions on the stage to Pagliata. On both occasions he he left the contenders in his wake. He has good form going into this Classic and could place highly.
Andrea Tafi - The Italian champion is not in the best of condition at this stage of the season. He is really going to be there to help Michele Bartoli get to the finish in good position. He will show up later in the World Cup season in his own right. But he is still capable of going away in a decisive break and taking the prize.
Alt Gone To Go 40 42 44 metres km km km/h km/h km/h 112 Milan 0.0 294.0 9.20 9.20 9.20 101 Binasco 11.0 283.0 9.36 9.35 9.35 77 Pavia 29.0 265.0 10.03 10.01 9.59 90 Casteggio 46.2 247.8 10.29 10.26 10.23 93 Voghera 60.5 233.5 10.50 10.46 10.42 122 Tortona 77.0 217.0 11.15 11.10 11.05 171 Pozzo Formigaro 92.0 202.0 11.38 11.31 11.25 193 Novi Ligure 95.0 199.0 11.42 11.35 11.29 149 Basaluzzo 101.3 192.7 11.51 11.44 11.38 175 Silvano d'Orba 112.3 181.7 12.08 12.00 11.53 289 Rossiglione 129.4 164.6 12.34 12.24 12.16 342 Campo Ligure (feedzone) 134.8 159.2 12.42 12.32 12.23 432 Passo Turchino 143.0 151.0 12.54 12.44 12.35 5 Voltri 155.0 139.0 13.12 13.01 12.51 5 Varazze 173.5 120.5 13.40 13.27 13.16 7 Savona 184.5 109.5 13.56 13.43 13.31 5 Spotorno 197.5 96.5 14.16 14.02 13.49 5 Loano 218.2 75.8 14.42 14.31 14.17 65 Capo Mele 242.1 51.9 15.23 15.05 14.50 77 Capo Mimosa 247.4 46.6 15.31 15.13 14.57 130 Capo Berta 254.9 39.1 15.42 15.24 15.07 35 Imperia 260.6 33.4 15.50 15.32 15.15 240 Cipressa 272.4 21.6 16.08 15.49 15.31 7 Riva Ligure 279.1 14.9 16.18 15.58 15.40 162 Poggio 288.3 5.7 16.32 16.11 15.53 8 San Remo 294.0 0.0 16.41 16.20 16.00
Complete Starting List
Team Deutsche-Telekom: Banesto: 1 Erik Zabel (Ger) 11 Josè Luis Arrieta (Spa) 2 Rolf Aldag (Ger) 12 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) 3 Alberto Elli (Ita) 13 Josè M. Jimenez Sastre (Spa) 4 Giovanni Lombardi (Ita) 14 David Latasa Lasa (Spa) 5 Bjarne Rijs (Dan) 15 Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) 6 Jan Schaffrath (Ger) 16 Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) 7 Francesco Frattini(Ita) 17 Cesar Solaun Solana (Spa) 8 Danilo Hondo (Ger) 18 Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Manager: Rudy Pevenage Manager: Eusebio Unzue Cantina Tollo-Alexia Alluminio: Casino: 21 Gabriele Colombo (Ita) 31 Laurent Roux (Fra) 22 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) 32 Christophe Agnolutto (Fra) 23 Bo Hamburger (Dan) 33 Lauri Aus (Est) 24 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) 34 Stéphane Barthe (Fra) 25 Gianpaolo Mondini (Ita) 35 Frédéric Bessy (Fra) 26 Marco Antonio Di Renzo (Ita) 36 Pascal Chanteur (Fra) 27 Guido Trenti (Usa) 37 Fabrice Gougot (Fra) 28 Andrea Brognara (Ita) Manager: Franco Gini Manager: Vincent Lavenu Cofidis: Crédit Agricole: 41 Steve De Wolf (Bel) 51 Christopher Jenner (Nzl) 42 Peter Farazijn (Bel) 52 Frédéric Moncassin (Fra) 43 Philippe Gaumont (Fra) 53 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) 44 Nicolas Jalabert (Fra) 54 Eros Poli (Ita) 45 Massimiliano Lelli (Ita) 55 François Simon (Fra) 46 Arnaud Pretot (Fra) 56 Cédric Vasseur (Fra) 47 Claude Lamour (Fra) 57 Henk Vogels (Aus) 48 Frank Vandenbroucke (Bel) 58 Jens Voigt (Ger) Manager: Bernard Quilfen Manager: Roger Legeay Festina Lotus: Kelme-Costa Blanca: 61 Laurent Lefevre (Fra) 71 Roberto Heras (Spa) 62 Alexandre Moos (Swi) 72 J. Luis Rubiera (Spa) 63 Rolf Huser (Swi) 73 Javier Pascual Rodriguez (Spa) 64 André Korff (Ger) 74 Javier Pascual Llorente (Spa) 65 Bertran Hernandez (Spa) 75 Angel Edo (Spa) 66 Andrei Kivilev (Kaz) 76 Juan José De Los Angeles (Spa) 67 Wladimir Belli (Ita) 77 Ruben Galvan (Spa) 68 Andrea Dolci (Ita) 78 José M. Uria Gonzalez (Spa) Manager: Juan Fernandez Manager: Ignacio Labarta La Francaise des Jeux: Lampre-Daikin: 81 Christopher Horner (Usa) 91 Oscar Camenzind (Swi) 82 Xavier Jan (Fra) 92 Franco Ballerini (Ita) 83 Emmanuel Magnien (Fra) 93 Ludo Dierckxens (Bel) 84 Christophe Mengin (Fra) 94 Matteo Frutti (Ita) 85 Lars Michaelsen (Dan) 95 Johan Verstrepen (Bel) 86 Jean-Patrick Nazon (Fra) 96 Robert Hunter (RSA) 87 Franck Perque (Fra) 97 Zbignew Spruch (Pol) 88 Maximiliam Sciandri (GB) 98 Jan R. Svorada (Cze) Manager: Alain Gallopin Manager: Pietro Algeri Lotto-Mobistar: Mapei-Quick Step: 101 Mario Aerts (Bel) 111 Michele Bartoli (Ita) 102 Wim Feys (Bel) 112 Paolo Bettini (Ita) 103 Thierry Marichal (Bel) 113 Paolo Fornaciari (Ita) 104 Chris Peers (Bel) 114 Johan Museeuw (Bel) 105 Jo Planckaert (Bel) 115 Wilfried Peeters (Bel) 106 Andrei Tchmil (Bel) 116 Luca Scinto (Ita) 107 Paul Van Hyfte (Bel) 117 Andrea Tafi (Ita) 108 Geert Verheyen (Bel) 118 Stefano Zanini (Ita) Manager: Jean Luc Vandenbroucke Manager: Serge Parsani Mercatone Uno Bianchi: ONCE-Deutsche Bank: 121 Marco Pantani (Ita) 131 Rafai Diaz Justo (Spa) 122 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) 132 David Extebarria (Spa) 123 Dmitri Konyshev (Rus) 133 Laurent Jalabert (Fra) 124 Marco Velo (Ita) 134 Abraham Olano Manzano (Spa) 125 Fabiano Fontanelli (Ita) 135 Luis Perez (Spa) 126 Ermanno Brignoli (Ita) 136 Andrea Peron (Ita) 127 Riccardo Forconi (Ita) 137 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) 128 Marco Fincato (Ita) 138 Roberto Sierra (Spa) Manager: Giuseppe Martinelli Manager: Manuel Saiz Rabobank: Riso Scotti-Vinavil: 141 Michael Boogerd (Ned) 151 Kurt Asle Arvesen (Nor) 142 Erik Dekker (Ned) 152 Alessio Bongioni (Ita) 143 Maarten Den Bakker (Ned) 153 Carlo Marino Bianchi (Ita) 144 Rolf Sorensen (Den) 154 Vindislav Bobrik (Rus) 145 Leon Van Bon (Ned) 155 Mirko Lauria (Ita) 146 Beat Zberg (Swi) 156 Fabio Malberti (Ita) 147 Marc Wauters (Bel) 157 Oscar Pozzi (Ita) 148 Markus Zberg (Swi) 158 Alexandre Shefer (Kaz) Manager: Theo De Rooy Manager: Mario Chiesa Saeco-Cannondale: Team Polti: 161 Mario Cipollini (Ita) 171 Rossano Brasi (Ita) 162 Giuseppe Calcaterra (Ita) 172 Mirko Celestino (Ita) 163 Gian Fagnini Matteo (Ita) 173 Mirco Crepaldi (Ita) 164 Massimiliano Mori (Ita) 174 Fabrizio Guidi (Ita) 165 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) 175 Davide Rebellin (Ita) 166 Roberto Petito (Ita) 176 Cristian Salvato (Ita) 167 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) 177 Richard Virenque (Fra) 168 Mario Scirea (Ita) 178 Denis Zanette (Ita) Manager: Antonio Salutini Manager: Vittorio Algeri TVM-Farm Frites: US Postal Service: 181 Geert Van Bondt (Bel) 191 Frankie Andreu (Usa) 182 Davide Casarotto (Ita) 192 Lance Armstrong (Usa) 183 Tristan Hoffman (Ned) 193 Pascal Derame (Fra) 184 Steven De Jongh (Ned) 194 George Hincapie (Usa) 185 Andreas Klier (Ger) 195 Tyler Hamilton (Usa) 186 Servais Knaven (Ned) 196 Benoit Joachim (Lux) 187 Serguej Outschakov (Ukr) 197 Marty Jemison (Usa) 188 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) 198 Glenn Magnusson (Swe) Manager: Steven Rooks Manager: Johan Bruyneel Vini Caldirola-Sidermec: Vitalicio Seguros Generali: 201 Massimo Apollonio (Ita) 211 Angel Luis Casero (Spa) 202 Gianluca Bortolami (Ita) 212 Herman Buenahora (Col) 203 Filippo Casagrande (Ita) 213 F. Cerezo Perales (Spa) 204 Massimo Donati (Ita) 214 F.T. Garcia Rodriguez (Spa) 205 Mauro Gianetti (Swi) 215 Pedro Horrillo Munoz (Spa) 206 Andrej Hauptman (Slo) 216 Alvaro Gonzalez (Spa) 207 Mauro Radaelli (Ita) 217 Igor Gonzalez (Spa) 208 Romans Vainsteins (Lat) 218 Victor Pena (Col) Manager: Alberto Volpi Manager: Javier Minguez Bellosta Ballan-Alessio: Liquigas-Pata: 221 Andrea Ferrigato (Ita) 231 Biagio Conte (Ita) 222 Alexandre Gontchenkov (Rus) 232 Endrio Leoni (Ita) 223 Martin Hvastija (Slo) 233 Cristian Moreni (Ita) 224 Nicola Loda (Ita) 234 Marco Milesi (Ita) 225 Alberto Ongarato (Ita) 235 Ellis Rastelli (Ita) 226 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) 236 Daniele Contrini (Ita) Manager: Flavio Miozzo Manager: Fabio Bordonali Mobilvetta-Northwave: Navigare-Gaerne: 241 Mario Manzoni (Ita) 251 Gabriele Balducci (Ita) 242 Massimo Strazzer (Ita) 252 Dario Pieri (Ita) 243 Pascal Richard (Swi) 253 Enrico Degano (Ita) 244 Stefano Faustini (Ita) 254 Vladmir Duma (Ukr) 245 Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita) 255 Stefano Panetta (Ita) 246 Graziano Recinella (Ita) 256 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Manager: Franco Chioccioli Manager: Bruno Reverberi
1907 Lucien Petit-Breton (Fra) 1908 Cyrille Van Hauwaert (Bel) 1909 Luigi Ganna (Ita) 1910 Eugene Christophe (Fra) 1911 Gustave Garrigou (Fra) 1912 Henri Pellessier (Fra) 1913 Odiel Defraeye (Bel) 1914 Ugo Agostoni (Ita) 1915 Ezio Gorlaita (Ita) 1917 Gaetano Belloni (Ita) 1918 Costante Girardengo (Ita) 1919 Angelo Cremo (Ita) 1920 Gaetano Belloni (Ita) 1921 Costante Girardengo (Ita) 1922 Giovanni Brunero (Ita) 1923 Costante Girardengo (Ita) 1924 Pietro Linari (Ita) 1925 Costante Girardengo (Ita) 1926 Costante Girardengo (Ita) 1927 Pietro Chesi (Ita) 1928 Costante Girardengo (Ita) 1929 Alfredo Binda (Ita) 1930 Michele Mara (Ita) 1931 Alfredo Binda (Ita) 1932 Alfredo Bovet (Ita) 1933 Learco Guerra (Ita) 1934 Joseph Demysere (Bel) 1935 Giuseppe Olmo (Ita) 1936 Angelo Varetto (Ita) 1937 Cesarde Del Cancia (Ita) 1938 Giuseppe Olmo (Ita) 1939 Gino Bartali (Ita) 1940 Gino Bartali (Ita) 1941 Pierino Favalli (Ita) 1942 Adolfo Leoni (Ita) 1943 Cino Cinelli (Ita) 1946 Fausto Coppi (Ita) 1947 Gino Bartali (Ita) 1948 Fausto Coppi (Ita) 1949 Fausto Coppi (Ita) 1950 Gino Bartali (Ita) 1951 Louison Bobet (Fra) 1952 Loretto Petrucci (Ita) 1953 Loretto Petrucci (Ita) 1954 Rik Van Steenbergen (Bel) 1955 Germain Derijcke (Bel) 1956 Fred DeBruyne (Bel) 1957 Miguel Poblet (Spa) 1958 Rik Van Looy (Bel) 1959 Miguel Poblet (Spa) 1960 René Privat (Fra) 1961 Raymond Poulidor (Fra) 1962 Emil Daems (Bel) 1963 Joseph Groussard (Fra) 1964 Tom Simpson (GB) 1965 Arie den Hartog (Ned) 1966 Eddy Merckx (Bel) 1967 Eddy Merckx (Bel) 1968 Rudi Altig (DEU) 1969 Eddy Merckx (Bel) 1970 Michele Dancelli (Ita) 1971 Eddy Merckx (Bel) 1972 Eddy Merckx (Bel) 1973 Roger De Vlaeminck (Bel) 1974 Felice Gimondi (Ita) 1975 Eddy Merckx (Bel) 1976 Eddy Merckx (Bel) 1977 Jan Raas (Ned) Frisol-Gazelle 1978 Roger De Vlaeminck (Bel) Sanson 1979 Roger De Vlaeminck (Bel) Gis 1980 Pierino Gavazzi (Ita) Magniflex Olmo 1981 Alfons DeWolf (Bel) Vermeer-Thijs-Gios 1982 Marc Gomez (Fra) Wolber Spidel 1983 Giuseppe Saronni (Ita) Del Tongo 1984 Francesco Moser (Ita) GiS Gelati-LucTuc 1985 Hennie Kuiper (Ned) 1986 Sean Kelly (Ire) KAS Mavic 1987 Erich Mächler (Swi) Carrera 1988 Laurent Fignon (Fra) System U 1989 Laurent Fignon (Fra) System U 1990 Gianni Bugno (Ita) Château d'Ax 1991 Claudio Chiappucci (Ita) Carrera 1992 Sean Kelly (Ire) Festina 1993 Maurizio Fondriest (Ita) Lampre 1994 Giorgio Furlan (Ita) Gewiss Ballan 1995 Laurent Jalabert (Fra) ONCE 1996 Gabriele Colombo (Ita) Gewiss Playbus 1997 Erik Zabel (Ger) Telekom 1998 Erik Zabel (Ger) Telekom-ADR 294 kms in 7.10.14 (41.00 km/h)Mario Stiehl from Berlin compiles the Past Winners
Victories by Country at Milan-San Remo
Italy: 46 Belgium: 19 France: 12 Holland: 3 Ireland, Spain and Germany: 3 Great Britain and Switzerland: 1