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96th Milan - San Remo - PT

Italy, March 19, 2005

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Commentary by Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from Tim Maloney and Anthony Tan

Complete live report

Live coverage starts: 9:30 CET
Estimated finish time: 16:45 CET

09:31 CET   
The start
Photo ©: Marco Bardella
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Welcome to Milan for the live coverage of the 94th Milan-San Remo, brought to you by the diligent and hard working Cyclingnews team. Today is 294 km of racing starting in Milan in the northwest of Italy and finishing in San Remo on the southwestern Mediterranean coastline, which is not actually that far from Nice, France. The parcours is pretty much the same as it is every year, with a flat first 125 km, then the Passo Turchino (532m) with its summit at km 144, then the mostly flat run into San Remo along the coast. The crescendo to the finale builds all the way along the final 100 km, with the small climbs of Capo Mele (km 240), Capo Cervo (km 246), Capo Berta (km 255) preceding the Cipressa at km 270. Then it's a mad 25 km dash to the finish via the Poggio (km 290) and its tortuous descent before the final run into the finish on San Remo's Via Roma.

It's a race that every Italian dreams about winning, and you can be sure that there will be the usual do or die efforts by the Italians today.

It is a beautiful warm spring morning here in Milan, and it's already 15 degrees with sparkling sunshine and not a cloud in the sky. The weather forecast is for a nice day, in the upper 20's on the coast. There will be a libeccio wind from the northeast, which means a tailwind for the riders all day. It'll be hard, as usual, for anyone to get away.

09:38 CET    2km/292km to go
The official start was given at 9:35am, with 195 riders rolling out.

There are 25 teams at the start here in Milan: the 20 ProTour teams as well as Acqua & Sapone, Team LPR, Naturino-Sapore di Mare, Ceramica Panaria Navigare and Barloword-Valsir.

Two fairly big name riders did not start: Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) and George Hincapie (Discovery Channel). Both pulled out due to upper respiratory tract illnesses, and that will really hurt their teams' chances. Cyclingnews' Tim Maloney spoke to Discovery Channel director Dirk Demol before the start and asked him how things were going. "Bad. George and Max are not starting, so we don't have our guys to win."

09:59 CET    18km/276km to go
The peloton is still together after a fast and nervous start. No-one has been able to get away yet.

The third non-starter today was Ivan Fanelli (LPR), also because of an upper respiratory tract infection.

10:12 CET   
Raging Bull:
Photo ©: CN
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After the withdrawals of Hincapie and Van Heeswijk, young Belgian prodigy Stijn Devolder will be Discovery Channel's leader for today. Stijn has been lighting it up on the Flemish roads in the opening races there, and is a very strong rider. "My preparation has been good," Devolder told Cyclingnews today. I'll try to do something. I don't know where. I'll wait for the right moment."

10:32 CET   
Dig Captain America!
Photo ©: CN
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Davitamon-Lotto's new top man after McEwen's withdrawal is Fred Rodriguez, who placed second in Milan-San Remo behind Mario Cipollini in 2002. The American champion was relaxed when we spoke to him this morning in Milan. "I'm happy about my form right now. I'm still recovering from my crash in Paris-Nice. I know this race and feel like I can do well today. The only difference between today and last time [2002] is that I have a 54 tooth chainring. When I tried to pass Cipo last time, I didn't have that extra push, but today I do."

10:37 CET    42km/252km to go
Lampre-Caffita is particularly aggressive at the front of the peloton, trying to get into a move.

The temperature is now up to 20 degrees as the peloton races through Pavia.

10:59 CET   
That's my boy:
Photo ©: CN
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It's hard to pick between the two top favourites today, but recent form suggests that Oscar Freire may have the edge over Alessandro Petacchi. Freire blasted to three consecutive stage wins in Tirreno-Adriatico before easing off the throttle and allowing his team to carry him to overall victory. He didn't even contest the final sprint on the last stage (won by Petacchi) so as not to risk a crash.

Cyclingnews' Tim Maloney spoke to the World Champion and ProTour leader before the start today, and Freire was very concentrated and quite nervous, and visibly not too happy about riding the ProTour jersey compared to the World Champion's rainbow stripes. "I feel really good. I'm at the top of my form and I'm ready," he told us.

11:01 CET    62km/232km to go
The first hour was raced at an average of 42.785 km/h, which is extremely fast for any Italian race. Normally the average speed barely creeps above 30 for the first two hours. Then again, this is the biggest one day race on the Italian calendar.

11:15 CET    76km/218km to go
Apparently, there was a successful attack at km 33, and we can now give you the names in the break: Jimmy Casper (Cofidis), Iñaki Isasi Flores (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Daniele Righi (Lampre-Caffita), Mauro Santambrogio (LPR) and Filippo Simeoni (Naturino). At km 50, they had 4'20 over a group containing Antonio Bucciero (Acqua&Sapone) and Antonio Salomone (Barloworld-Valsir) and 6'15 over the peloton. At km 55, this had increased to 5'30 over the two chasers and 11'15 over the peloton.

11:31 CET    84km/210km to go
Walking tall
Photo ©: CN
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Besides Oscar Freire, the other big favourite is Alessandro Petacchi. The Fassa Bortolo top man has seemingly lost none of his speed from last year, despite losing weight. He has already notched up an impressive 11 wins from his 20 racing days so far this season.

"I feel great," said Petacchi, who was also looking nervous and concentrated. "Freire is the favourite. My team will be helping me. I think it will be a great race."

11:46 CET    90km/204km to go
The peloton has slowed down, relative to the two breakaway groups, and at km 62, the gaps were 4'52 between group 1 (Casper, Flores, Righi, Santambrogio, Simeoni) and group 2 (Bucciero, Salomone) and a largish 16'15 back to the peloton. At km 72 in Tortona, the gaps were 5'40 and 17'40.

The leading riders averaged 40.6 km/h for the second hour, which means they are now getting near the Turchino Pass. They are not mucking around.

11:56 CET   
Only Binda, Gimondi and Merckx and Saronni (twice) won Milan-San Remo while wearing the World Champion's colours. How does Oscar Freire rate his chances (even though he is actually in the ProTour jersey)?

The Spaniard told Het Nieuwsblad yesterday, "I'm not Merckx hey! It would of course be nice. What is that, riding Milan-San Remo? Well, first it's riding 250 kilometres without crashing, without attacking. And then? Make no mistakes, only the right decisions. There's no ideal formula. Two years ago I jumped with that attack that went nowhere and I stayed put when Bettini made the right move. When Cipollini won, I probably did my strongest sprint ever on the Via Roma, but I had to come from that far back that it was wasted. You see, that too is Milan-San Remo!"

12:07 CET   
Tom Boonen (Quick.Step)
Photo ©: Marco Bardella
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How important is La Primavera to Tom Boonen? "For me this is the start of the first important classics period," Boonen told Het Nieuwsblad. "But victory in Sanremo will never evoke the same sentiments in me as Bettini would experience. It's a special classic, because it's the first one, but the Tour of Flanders and the Hell [Paris-Roubaix] mean so much more to me. The Ronde, in front of my own people, has got a bit more prestige. Only few are able to win them both.

"Fassa Bortolo will automatically have to carry the weight in this race. Rabobank, T-Mobile, Liquigas: they're all allies. If they get across the Poggio, then I will too. I think the race won't really break open on the Poggio. Too many teams have got the same interests.

"My teammates have worked through 10 possible scenarios. I'm not occupied by that. In principle, Milan-Sanremo is a fat, shitty race. Three hundred kilometres riding to do a sprint with fifty, sixty guys. It's a nice sight though.

"I won't be fighting to sit in Petacchi's nor Freire's slipstream. I will do my own sprint, intuitive. If I can ride that perfectly, there might as well be ten Freires and Petas around."

12:18 CET    105km/189km to go
The five leaders are approaching Capriata d'Orba, with the last time check at km 92 revealing that they still have 16'50 on the peloton. The two chasers, Bucciero and Salomone, are at 6'50 and fighting a losing battle.

Notes:

a) Tom Boonen really said MSR was a "fat, shitty race" (dikke strontkoers). By "fat", he meant "big", "wicked", or even "fully sick", i.e. "good". But the "stront" qualifier makes it "bad".
b) The leaders only averaged 40.6 km/h in the second hour, not 46 km/h.

12:32 CET   
Ciao Americano:
Photo ©: CN
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Cyclingnews spoke to Boonen's Quick.Step teammate Guido Trenti this morning at the start. Trenti has ridden in the service of Petacchi for the past few years, and knows what it's like to be the leadout man for a big sprinter.

"Tom's in good shape and really positive," said the Italian based American. "We have a great team. We've got Boonen if it comes to a sprint and we've also got Bettini. So we think we have a good chance today."

12:37 CET    122km/172km to go
Bucciero and Salomone have seemingly realised (or are paying for) their folly of chasing in between the breakaway and the peloton, and have dropped back to 9'15 behind the lead break of five riders at km 100. The peloton has maintained its distance to the leaders, and is still at 16'50.

12:46 CET    128km/166km to go
The average speed after three hours racing is 40.216 km/h - not really lightning fast, but there's a long way to go. The five leaders - Casper, Flores, Righi, Santambrogio and Simeoni have been away for nearly 100 km now. Their attack started at km 33.

13:03 CET    140km/154km to go
MSR Joker Sergio Marinangeli
Photo ©: CN
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A bit of a dark horse today is Sergio Marinangeli (Naturino). He was second in the Italian championships in 2004 (he almost beat Cristian Moreni after 250 km) and showed a surprising turn of speed in the last stage of Tirreno-Adriatico. "I'm hoping I can do something today. I feel really good," he told Cyclingnews at the start.

The leaders are now on the Turchino Pass, which has its summit at 532m.

13:11 CET    144km/150km to go
The last time check we got was at km 118 in Ovada, where the five leaders had 10'53 on Bucciero and Salomone, and 16'08 to the peloton. The two chasers appear to be persisting with their efforts, probably because they can.

13:22 CET   
Can the Lion roar again?
Photo ©: CN
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One reader has asked how Mario Cipollini looks today. Well, the 2002 MSR winner wasn't talking much at the start, and he had a "major race face on" according to our reporter Tim Maloney. Cipo is quite focused this year, and if he can get over the climbs, then he'll be a contender.

13:33 CET    158km/136km to go
The five leaders, Casper, Righi, Flores, Santambrogio and Simeoni, have crossed the Turchino Pass now and are racing down towards the coastline through Voltri and towards Varazze. At the feed zone at the foot of the Turchino (km 135), they had 13'05 on Bucciero and Salomone and 15'05 over the peloton, which is being controlled by the strong sprinters teams.

13:46 CET   
23 year-old Allan Davis is another one of the dark horse sprinter favourites for today, and Cyclingnews' Anthony Tan spoke to him last night in Milan to get his comments about today.

"I've been thinking of this race for a while now, especially since I've been training for this race since November," said the Liberty Seguros leader. "It's pretty much my first big goal of the season, so yeah, I'm a bit nervous, but I know in the back of my mind that I couldn't be more ready than what I am now for this race. I've stayed healthy for a long time now, and everything's gone to plan, so that is always handy to have in the back of my mind."

Regarding the race, Davis knows what he has to do: "With this race, you need to be at the front for the start of the Cipressa and also at the front for the start of the descent, because there's a lot of switchbacks. But you need a bit of luck on your side, too; you're hoping there'll be no crashes in the position you're in, particularly before the start of the climb. Once it gets onto the coast road, it's mad - everyone's got the same idea - but that's what makes the race what it is, I think, so you need a bit of luck as well as good legs on the day."

Davis went into detail about the finale in an interview with Ride Cycling Review's Rob Arnold. "Normally the first selection is sorted out on the Cipressa and then you get to the Poggio and it's full-gas to the finish. Actually, last year it wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be so I took it a bit easier over the top and lost a lost of positions. Once it got on the descent it was all twisty. I went over the top in about 30th or 40th position in the main group and saw the bunch get strung out on the descent - all in one single line - and the five guys at the front were all Fassa Bortolo driving it through to the finish. It was single-file all the way; I virtually didn't move up a from where I started at the top of the hill with eight or so kilometres still to go.

"That was one thing I took note of. Without that experience I wouldn't know where I have to be on those final two climbs. If it happens that way again, I'll know that it's VERY hard to move up in the bunch; it's that fast!"

13:48 CET    154km/140km to go
The average speed after four hours was 38.534 km/h, dropping slightly because of the Turchino Pass.

Bucciero and Salomone were caught on the Turchino, after not even making it halfway. In these types of races, if you're not in the leading group, you may as well be back in the peloton.

The last time check at the top of the Turchino was 13'45, down from a maximum of 17'40.

14:03 CET    164km/130km to go
The gap has stabilised a bit, with the five leaders Casper, Righi, Santambrogio, Flores and Simeoni having 14'10 over the peloton at Genova Voltri (km 155). Liberty Seguros is leading the bunch, obviously fancying the chances of Davis and Vicioso.

14:14 CET   
A reader has asked us what the rule of thumb is for the peloton to catch a breakaway, when it is so many minutes ahead. It used to be 1 minute every 10 km, but with the advent of more organised and stronger teams, a bunch can pull back 2 minutes in 10 kilometres if and when it's necessary. Even more so in this race, because it's so long and the breakaways will be more tired towards the finish.

14:32 CET    196km/98km to go
The gap between the breakaway and the peloton continues to fall gently, and the latest check was at 12'30 with 125 km to go.

14:37 CET   
Stuey speaks
Photo ©: CN
Click for larger image
In the leading five man break is Jimmy Casper, who is a teammate of Stuart O'Grady at Cofidis. The Aussie is the Cofidis team captain for today, and he was confident at the start. "I'm here and I'm feeling good," he said. "I'm going to try to win the race. The team is 100 percent behind me. They'll try to keep me in good position. After the Cipressa we'll see what happens."

As for Casper, he's been suffering a bit in the break, but he was still in contact at km 184, when the gap was 13'20.

14:45 CET    202km/92km to go
The average speed after five hours is a moderate 39.233 km/h. It will get a lot faster from now on as we get into the finale.

14:51 CET   
We've now posted a whole gallery of photos from the start of Milan-San Remo. Check 'em out!

14:54 CET    208km/86km to go
Gerolsteiner is now doing a bit of chasing work, pulling the gap down to 11'15. They're interested in their sprinter Danilo Hondo for the finale, with Davide Rebellin also a chance.

15:05 CET    215km/79km to go
The five leaders, Jimmy Casper (Cofidis), Iñaki Isasi Flores (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Daniele Righi (Lampre-Caffita), Mauro Santambrogio (LPR) and Filippo Simeoni (Naturino), have been away since km 33 and will definitely reach the milestone of 200 km out in front. Their advantage is dropping very quickly.

15:09 CET    220km/74km to go
The advantage is dropping very quickly indeed! At Finale Ligure (km 209) it was just 5'40. The leaders are cooked, and the peloton is travelling now.

15:10 CET   
An update from the women's race, where we will have a full report later on: Trixi Worrack (Nürnberger) won from Nicole Cooke (Safi) and Oenone Wood (Nürnberger), which means the latter should keep the World Cup lead.

15:11 CET    221km/73km to go
The five leaders are working together well, as they have done all day. But with just 4'25 over the peloton, it's a lost cause. Fassa Bortolo is working hard in the bunch, of course.

15:15 CET    223km/71km to go
It's not just Fassa working - Gerolsteiner, Domina Vacanze, Liberty Seguros, Rabobank are all up the front of the peloton, hammering.

The leaders are at the second feed zone now at Ceriale. They all grab feed bags. They've been away for 190 km!

15:17 CET    225km/69km to go
The peloton roars through the feed zone now, just a couple of minutes behind the break.

15:22 CET    230km/64km to go
Alberto Contador (Liberty) does a big turn on the front of the bunch, hands draped over the tops. The break certainly hasn't sat up, but it is not long for this world. Several readers have remarked the Simeoni has shown panache by being in front. We won't hold that against him though.

15:25 CET    231km/63km to go
Righi, Simeoni and then Casper do turns as the leaders cross a small climb along the coast. They're really suffering though.

15:27 CET    232km/62km to go
For Liquigas-Bianchi, Magnus Bäckstedt is doing the hard yards in front of the peloton. A long string of riders are behind him. A few Lampre jerseys are up there too, but probably not chasing as they've got a man in front.

15:32 CET    234km/60km to go
60 clicks to go and Casper, Simeoni, Flores, Santambrogio and Righi are still away, fighting off the juggernaut of the peloton, where Liberty, Liquigas and Fassa are chasing. They're right along the beach front at the moment, and the bunch is about 1'30 behind.

15:36 CET    239km/55km to go
A new team has got to the front of the bunch - Saunier Duval, with two men. They'll be working for Constantino Zaballa and possibly Angel Edo.

In front, Righi looks very tired. So does Casper. Flores doesn't look great. Santambrogio looks knackered. Simeoni looks relatively smooth. See what panache will do?

36 seconds now. It's all over.

15:37 CET    241km/53km to go
They've been racing for six hours now as one of the Saunier riders takes off from the peloton in pursuit of the dying breakaway. He has about 5 seconds.

15:39 CET   
It looks like Andrea Tafi is the Saunier rider in pursuit. He still has 5 seconds, and has almost caught the break.

15:41 CET    244km/50km to go
Tafi looks back and sees that he has increased his lead. He's almost on the back wheels of the leading riders. Then he blows up and the peloton blasts past him and the rest of the break with 50 km to go. Fassa and Cofidis (with Vasseur) now lead.

15:44 CET    246km/48km to go
The break lasted 211 km, but was never going to stay away with so many teams working for a bunch sprint.

The big legs of Jans Koerts are now at the front of the compact peloton as it heads into the last 50 km.

15:45 CET   
Andrea Peron (CSC) was caught up in a crash about 10 km ago. Fortunately, he was not seriously hurt.

15:48 CET    250km/44km to go
The battle is heating up to get to the front, and the speed is up around the 50 km/h mark. Cofidis have three men in front now. Fred Rodriguez (Lotto) can be spotted next to Erik Zabel in about 30th position. Plenty of Liquigas jerseys protecting Cipo, who is near the front. Right next to Freire and PEtacchi.

15:49 CET   
There are plenty of people gathered on the sides of the roads to watch the peloton flash past in about 5 seconds.

The sprinters are really concentrated near the front. Davis is also up there, as well as Boonen.

15:52 CET    252km/42km to go
Mirko Celestino is right up there too - look for him to make an attack late in the race.

Here comes the cold helmet of Bettini, who has Boonen right behind him. They are in forward positions as they ride up Capo Berta. Vasseur is still leading with a Discovery rider - Hayden Roulston - on his wheel. Well, Roulston is having a bit of trouble holding Vasseur's pace and lets a gap go. Matteo Tosatto is next in line.

Valerio Agnoli (Naturino) attacks.

15:55 CET    255km/39km to go
Agnoli has 5 seconds as he gives it everything on the Capo Berta. He looks back and sees that he doesn't have enough.

The Celestino fan club has perched on the side of the road, cheering them all on.

Agnoli is caught by one of the Panaria riders (Luca Mazzanti) and the peloton. Then one of his teammates tries to counter but Mazzanti is right no him.

15:56 CET    257km/37km to go
Mazzanti assumes the aero position on the descent, and the bunch strings out on one long line behind him. Panaria don't have Brown or Grillo here today, so they'll probably work to get Sella away or something like that.

16:13 CET    267km/27km to go
Freire is in about eighth wheel - he's strong today. Petacchi is close to him too. Di Luca is up there, right behind the four Panaria riders.

Now Cipo himself gets to the front, looking very smooth. Then some Fassa riders have a mini-conference. Kirchen is right up there.

Crash! A big one, with a Liquigas rider and Cristian Moreni (Quick.Step). Leif Hoste (Discovery) is there, as is Klier, Pospyeyev (Acqua e Sapone). Cars on the side of the road probably didn't help that. Moreni abandons.

The crash has split the peloton into two parts, and it looks like Valverde is in the second bit.

Now Marc Wauters is on the front for Rabobank, powering it along.

Masciarelli tries to attack but goes nowhere. They hit the Cipressa, all together.

16:15 CET    270km/24km to go
Francesco Casagrande (Naturino) attacks on the Cipressa, along with Mazzanti, Andrey Kashechkin and a Saunier rider. They get caught, then Casagrande goes again with Paolo Tiralongo.

Valverde is in the first group.

16:17 CET   
Tiralongo and Casagrande can't get much of a lead as they near the top of the Cipressa. A Liberty rider closes the gap. Commesso and Ludewig are dropped.

Valverde looks reasonably good now.

16:18 CET    273km/21km to go
Now it's Sella (Panaria) who counters over the top of the Cipressa, and gets a small gap. The peloton is moving so fast, that it's incredibly hard to get away.

16:19 CET    276km/18km to go
On the descent of the Cipressa it's Mirko Celestino who attacks, flying down the roads that he knows so well. But Fassa is right on him. Five leaders with a bit of a break over the bunch.

16:22 CET    277km/17km to go
Bettini is up there in fifth wheel behind Celestino. Vinokourov is leading a chase, with Boonen coming up. He gets a handsling from the T-Mobile rider.

Bettini attacks on his own, looking back, surrounded by motorbikes.

16:23 CET   
Bettini is joined by Andrey Kashechkin (CA) in front. The Kazakh has been riding strongly of late.

16:24 CET   
The two leaders have 15 seconds as Fassa masses in front of the peloton again. Kirchen is prominent. The Poggio nears. Cipo is right up the front of the peloton, which numbers some 50 riders after that crash split things up.

16 seconds as Bettini looks back.

16:26 CET    278km/16km to go
There are five Fassas leading the peloton 16 seconds behind Bettini and Kashechkin. Cipo, Petacchi, Freire, Guidi, Rodriguez, Jaksche, O'Grady, Hondo and Valverde are all in the front part of the greatly reduced peloton.

16:28 CET    279km/15km to go
The gap has grown to 26 seconds as the two leaders power away from seven Fassa Bortolo riders on the front of the peloton. Petacchi's men have some work to do - you don't let Bettini get a gap...

16:29 CET    281km/13km to go
Rabobank has now got men in front, as have Panaria. Fassa needs the help, as the gap is now half a minute to Bettini and Kashechkin. Amazing riding at this end of the race.

16:31 CET    283km/11km to go
It looks like Zabel is up there in the front group, so is Boonen. So pretty well most of the sprinters are there.

The two leaders are at 23 seconds on the Capo Verde.

16:32 CET    285km/9km to go
Less than 10 km to go and the Poggio nears. Thor Hushovd (CA) is also in the peloton. Let the fireworks begin! Fassa has the numbers, but...

16:32 CET   
Bettini and Kashechkin have 10 seconds over the top of the Capo Verde. It doesn't look good for them now.

16:34 CET    286km/8km to go
The leading pair are losing time as Vicioso bridges the gap to them. And passes them. He's flying. They're on the Poggio now.

16:36 CET    287km/7km to go
Vicioso flies up the Poggio, leading Milan-San Remo. He has to use the brakes on the hairpins. He has a very small lead as Paolo Tiralongo bridges up to him.

16:36 CET    287.5km/6.5km to go
But the peloton closes the gap and Vino attacks with Mazzanti on his wheel. Less than 7 km to go.

16:37 CET    288km/6km to go
Rebellin counters with Pellizotti on his wheel, then Kirchen. Small gap at the top.

16:37 CET    288km/6km to go
Rebellin, Kirchen, Pellizotti, Merckx and Celestino have a small lead over the top of the Poggio.

16:39 CET    289km/5km to go
Rebellin, Kirchen, Pellizotti, Merckx and Celestino hit the descent with about 5 seconds lead over the bunch. It's all strung out behind. Cipo and Hondo are in about 20th position. Cipo looks good.

16:40 CET    290km/4km to go
Valverde is also up with the five in front. The gap is too small though.

16:41 CET   
Valverde does a turn on the front as they fly down the descent. He's got a small gap, but the peloton is not far off their back wheels. Bettini and Boonen are very well placed.

16:42 CET    291km/3km to go
They're at the bottom of the descent with 3 km left, and Rebellin, Kirchen, Pellizotti, Merckx, Valverde and Celestino have a small gap on two chasers from the peloton.

16:42 CET    292km/2km to go
Hushovd and a Fassa rider join the leaders, then the rest of the peloton. 2 km left.

16:43 CET   
Cipo nearly crashes but he's well placed near the front. Philippe Gilbert is in second wheel and attacks. Nope. Fassa masses with two riders. Then Bettini and Boonen.

Brochard attacks! He gets four metres.

16:43 CET    293km/1km to go
Brochard is caught at the 1 km to go.

16:44 CET    294km/0km to go
They hit the Via Roma for a mass sprint. Cipo is in eighth. Hushovd is well placed next to Hondo. Fassa leads out then Bettini in second wheel. Bettini jumps, then stops. Boonen has to go by himself.

But Petacchi wins Milan San Remo!!!!!!!! Hondo second, then Hushovd, O'Grady, Gilbert and Freire. That was a huge win by Petacchi - no-one got close to beating him. He even had time to look back with 20 m to go before he let out his victory yell. He's pretty happy. Who's fat now?

Results

1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                  7.11.39	(40.866 km/h)
2 Danilo Hondo (Ger) Gerolsteiner                              
3 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole                           
4 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone       
5 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank                            
6 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Française des Jeux                    
7 Ruggero Marzoli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Adria Mobil           
8 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep                                   
9 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas - Bianchi                   
10 Manuele Mori (Ita) Saunier Duval - Prodir