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The Slovakian got agonizingly close to a win in last year's race when he was the driving force that made it possible for the late break to stay clear. In the end, he did a bit too much work and ended up paying the price when he was surp...

Photo: Sirotti

MILANO - SANREMO

RACE PROFILE
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NEWS
23.03.2014 @ 11:00 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad was an early teaser but the real classics season kicks off this coming Sunday when Milan-Sanremo takes place. As one of only five monuments and the longest race on the cycling calendar, it is one of the most prestigious races all year and with its unique course, it has always been one of the few big races that both sprinters and classics specialists can vie for. With the Pompeiana climb set to be belatedly introduced in future editions, this year's race may be the final opportunity for the fast finishers and this will make it even more hotly contested than it has been in the past.

 

Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico signaled the arrival of spring but stage races are not what characterizes this part of the year. Spring is intimately connected to one-day racing and while the two opening European WorldTour races are both part of an intriguing and fascinating stage race schedule for the first part of the season, what characterizes the early month of the season are the classics. Only a few stage race specialists have their major highlights in this part of the season but for the one-day riders, this is the most important part of the year.

 

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne offered the first real chance for the riders to test their form in a race that really mattered but they were still mainly part of the preparation. On Sunday, the warm-up phase has come to an end. There are no longer any excuses: the classics specialists need to be firing on all cylinders in the first big race of the year, Milan-Sanremo.

 

The spring classics season may mostly be taking place in Northern Europe but it all kicks off under - usually - warmer conditions in what is one of the two Italian monuments. The Italian one-day scene is extremely rich, with several prestigious, legendary races, but at the top of the pinnacle, Milan-Sanremo and Il Lombardia play a special role. As the only truly international one-day races in the country, the pair of races are part of cycling's five monuments and have the honour of opening and ending the classics year respectively (even though a recent calendar change means that Il Lombardia is no longer the final big one-day race on the calendar).

 

Known also as La Primavera and La Classicissima, Milan-Sanremo has a special place in the history of cycling. First held in 1907, this year's edition will be the 105th, and the long travel from the city of Milan to the sea and all the way along the Mediterranean coast has been conquered by most of cycling's biggest names.

 

Right from the beginning, the race was not just an Italian affair as the first winner was Frenchman Lucien Petit-Breton and it wasn't until 1909 that an Italian finally conquered the race, with Luigi Ganna having the honour of being the first home winner. Nonetheless, the early years were dominated by Italians, with Costante Girardengo winning 6 times, Gino Bartali taking 4 wins, and Fausto Coppi reaching Sanremo first on three occasions.

 

The dominant figure in the race's history, however, is Eddy Merckx who took no less than 7 wins from 1966 to 1976 as part of a 30-yar run where Italians only won three editions. In recent years, the Italians have again managed to play a more prominent role in what is arguably their biggest one-day race but since Filippo Pozzato's 2006 win, the home country has left the race empty-handed.

 

The names of many classics are linked to their history as they are made up of the names of the start and finishing cities. Due to the shorter distances of modern-day cycling, however, most races no longer live up to their names as the point of departure has often been moved closer to the end.

 

Milan-Sanremo is one of the very few exceptions that still honour tradition by actually travelling between the two cities that make up its name. The race still follows its traditional route from Milan and its flat terrain over the Passo del Turchino to the rugged Mediterranean coast that brings the riders  all the way to Sanremo. Several small digressions from the direct route send the riders up the many climbs along the coast, making for some hard challenges amidst the beautiful scenery. This keeping with tradition means that the race is the longest on the cycling calendar, with this year's edition being 294km long.

 

This traditional design makes the race a unique affair. With the race being mostly flat, it is no wonder that the race suits the sprinters. The many late climbs, however, offer the classics specialists and the puncheurs the perfect launch pads for attacks and the final challenges, the legendary Cipressa and Poggio, are sufficiently close to the finish for escapees to make it all the way to the end.

 

No other major classic has that kind of appeal to those two types of riders. While Il Lombardia and Liege-Bastogne-Liege are heavily loaded with climbs, the cobbles in the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix make those races way too hard for the traditional sprinters. The selective nature of those four monuments make the list of potential winners a very small one but in Sanremo, unpredictability rules and a lot more riders can realistically vie for success. The nature of the race is perfectly reflected in its traditional end scenario when the reduced bunch tries to peg back the break that usually goes clear on Poggio in time to set up a bunch sprint. On the list of classics for the sprinters, the race is only joined by Gent-Wevelgem, Scheldeprijs, Paris-Tours, and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and among those it is by far the biggest one.

 

In 2008, the organizers introduced the new Le Manie climb and even though it is located far from the finish, it has tipped the balance away from the sprinters. As it is far tougher than the climbs that have traditionally been on the course, it has become a much tougher affair for the sprinters and this is reflected in the winner's list. Since 2008, only the 2009 and 2010 editions have been decided by a larger bunch while Fabian Cancellara, Matthew Goss, Simon Gerrans, and Gerald Ciolek have all taken wins from small groups or solo victories.

 

This year's edition of the race may be the last one to follow its traditional script. RCS Sports who organize the race, have decided to follow  the trend of adding more climbs to the race finales and had originally planned to include the new Pompeiana climb in between Cipressa and Poggio. This was expected to rule out the fast finishers, with Mark Cavendish and André Greipel being some of the sprinters  to decide against doing the revamped race. Instead, climbers like Vincenzo Nibali, Chris Froome, and Alejandro Valverde planned to make the race one of their early-season targets.

 

Landslides saved the sprinters as local authorities deemed the descent from the Pompeiana unsafe, meaning that RCS had to make the late decision to remove the climb. This prompted Cavendish and Greipel to change their minds while Valverde and Froome have now decided against doing the race. As it had always been the plan to remove Le Manie, this year's course has suddenly changed from being the hardest ever to becoming the easiest since 2007. However, RCS have insisted that the Pompeiana will be included in future editions, meaning that this year could offer the sprinters one final chance to go for glory in Sanremo.

 

Last year's race was one of the most epic editions of the race's long history, with riders racing in freezing cold and horrendous weather conditions. Snow made the Turchino and Le Manie climbs impassable and the riders were transported in busses for several kilometres midway through the race. When the race was resumed, it suddenly offered the sprinters a great chance to prevail but the weather ended up making it too tough for them to control. Ian Stannard and Sylvain Chavanel had made a gutsy move from afar and were joined by Peter Sagan, Fabian Cancellara, Luca Paolini, and Gerald Ciolek on the Poggio, and the sextet managed to stay away to the finish. Sagan was the big favourite to take the win but ended up doing a bit too much work in the finale and was narrowly edged out by Ciolek who took a hugely surprising win for the small MTN-Qhubeka team, with Cancellara completing the podium. With the exception of Stannard, all riders from last year's decisive breakaway will be back for the 2014 edition as they again try to go for glory in Samremo.

 

The course

As said, Milan-Sanremo is one of the few races to live up to its name, in the sense that it actually starts in Milan and ends in Sanremo. With both the Pompeiana and Le Manie out, the race is back to the very traditional format that it has had in most of its recent history and there won't be any surprises on the 294km stretch from the Po Valley to Sanremo on the Cote d'Azur. The race can be expected to follow the traditional script that has made Sanremo a treasured part of cycling history and offered some very exciting racing in the past.

 

What will be the easiest race since 2007 will have its usual point of departure on Piazza Sempione in the centre of Milan and from there, the riders head in a southeastern direction towards the Mediterranean coast. Milan is located in the Po Valley where the roads are all dead flat. The first 139km consist of a long flat run that will only serve to accumulate fatigue in the riders' legs and allow the early break to take off.

 

Due to the distance, the early escapees have virtually no chance of making it to the end and they are often allowed to get a huge gap that easily exceeds the 10-minute mark. The race starts to get serious when the peloton reaches the hills that run along the Mediterranean coast and the riders will have to tackle the Passo del Turchino before they can catch their first glimpse of the sea. That ascent leads to the highest point of the race at 532m above sea level but is not overly difficult. However, it is now time for the teams that want to rid themselves of the sprinters, to ride tempo to make the race as tough as possible.

 

The Turchino Pass is followed by a fast descent that leads directly to the coastline a few kilometres west of Genova. As soon as the riders have reached the coastal road, they turn right and the rest of the race is made up of a long travel along the sea, interspersed by small digressions that send the riders up some smaller climbs.

 

In recent years, the riders have done Le Manie in the first part of this long run but as said, that climb has now been taken out. Hence, the first 80km of the seaside trip is almost completely flat and there won't be any climbing until the riders reach the 240km mark. Nonetheless, it will be important for many teams to make sure that the pace is high as they cannot allow the sprinters to arrive too fresh at the bottom of the final ascents.

 

The first tests are the three shorts Capi, Capo Mele, Capo Cervo, and Capo Berta that come in quick succession and are located at the 241.8, 246.9, and 254.7km mark. It is usually around this time that the early break gets caught while new riders start to go off the front and the pace is now fierce.

 

From the top of the Capo Berta, 39.3km remain. The first part is the short descent which precedes a flat run to the bottom of the Cipressa climb. This is where the real finale starts and positioning is of utmost importance for this short ascent. Hence, it will be a true war as the riders speed towards the bottom of the climb and from now on, there will be no chance to recover.

 

At 5.6km and with an average gradient of 4.1% and maximum of 9%, the Cipressa is an easy climb. The first 3.85km have a rather constant gradient of 4-5% but the final part is even easier with a 2.1% gradient. What makes the climb tough is the fact that it comes after 272km of racing. A small group usually gets clear on its slopes and they may use the technical descent to extend their advantage.

 

At the bottom of the descent, 19.8km remain. The first 9.1km follow flat roads along the coast and at this point, the pace will still be fierce. It is very hard for any escapees to stay clear and things are usually back together by the time, they reach the bottom of the Poggio 9.7km from the finish.

 

The race's landmark climb is 3.7km long and has an average gradient of 3.7% and a maximum of 8%. The first 2.06km has a gradient of 4.3% and is followed by the most difficult 5.6% section. Like the Cipressa, it gets easier at the top, with the final 700m averaging just 2.0%. This is the scene of the final attacks from the puncheurs, with a small group usually going clear over the top. The sprinters just have to hang on for dear life as they try to stay in contention.

 

The top comes 6.1km from the finish and is followed by an extremely technical descent, with several hairpin bends and many twists and turns. This is no place for the peloton to make an organized chase and any strong descenders in the front group may use this section to gain further ground.

 

The riders reach the coastal road 2.9km from the finish and from there the roads are flat all the way to the line. The urban roads are long and straight, with a left-hand turn in a roundabout 1.5km from the finish and a subsequent right-hand turn being the only major challenges. A short double-bend 500m from the finish lead onto the finishing straight on the Lungomare Italo Calvino that is the new site of the finish after it was moved away from the famous Via Roma a few years ago. This final part is often a fierce pursuit between the peloton and the front group where it will be all about going full gas for the escapees while also taking care of the tactical game that has often spoiled the party for the attackers.

 

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The weather

Last year's edition of the race was one of the most epic yet due to the horrific weather conditions that forced the organizers to transport the riders by busses over the Turchino Pass. This year the European spring weather has been the very opposite of last year's and it is hard to remember a season where both Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico have been blessed with such extraordinary weather.

 

Unfortunately, that won't continue as rain is forecasted for Sunday's race but the riders will be happy to know that they won't face the extreme cold they had to endure one year ago. In the morning, the race will take off from Milan under rainy conditions, with the temperatures hovering just below the 10-degree mark and the rain will intensify as they travel further south towards the Mediterranean coast.

 

Things will improve when the riders start their journey along the coast, and as soon as they have passed the Turchino, the rain is forecasted to disappear. Instead, the temperatures will be on the rise and by the time the riders reach Sanremo, they can expect a pleasant 13 degrees and even beautiful sunny conditions.

 

The wind always plays a huge role in Milan-Sanremo. A tailwind makes the race very fast and suits the attackers who try to make things tough and stay away in the finale. As opposed to this, a headwind makes it much easier to follow wheels and increases the chances of a bunch sprint finish.

 

Sunday should be a very windy day in Italy. From the start in Milan, a hard wind will be blowing from a northwesterly direction, meaning that the riders will have a cross-tailwind or a crosswind as they head towards the coast. When they reach the coastal road, the conditions will be less windy, with the wind now coming from a westerly direction. This means that the riders will have a cross-headwind for the second part of the race. The wind will pick up as they get closer to Sanremo and they can expect a rather strong wind at the end. There will be a headwind on the final part of the Poggio and the subsequent descent and there will also be headwind in the final flat section in the city centre.

 

The favourites

With the Pompeiana out, the race is back to a very traditional formula and even though many of the riders haven't done the race on this course, it has such a long history that everybody should know what to expect. At the same time, this route is the one that has made the Milan-Sanremo one of the most unpredictable races of the entire year, with a rather long list of possible scenarios.

 

Nonetheless, history speaks for itself. While the race used his course in the 90s and 2000s, only Filippo Pozzato (2006), Paolo Bettini (2003), and Gabriele Colombo (1996) managed to take breakaway wins in an era when La Primavera was heavily dominated by bunch sprints. The current course may be long but the lack of climbing tips the balance towards the sprinters.

 

If one adds the fact that the riders will have a rather hard headwind in the finale, it adds further value to the assessment that the race is going to end in a bunch sprint. A headwind will make it harder for escapees to stay away and will make it much easier to follow wheels in the first part of the race.

 

We should be in for a rather predictable race scenario, with an early break going up the road before being caught back on the coastal road. We will certainly see attacks on Cipress< and the Capis but a lot of teams have a genuine interest in going fast on the climbs. Expect to see Cannondale, Trek, and BMC do an awful lot of work in the early part of the race to make things tough and they will try to string things out on all ascents. This will make it very hard for late attackers to have any kind of success and the most likely scenario is that everything will be back together by the time, the riders hit the Poggio.

 

With a headwind, the main attackers will all have saved their crucial shots for the Poggio and as usual we can expect a small group to go clear. In recent years, however, they have only had a few seconds when they crest the summit and with a headwind on the climb, it will be harder to make a difference in this year's edition of the race. The rest of the race will develop into the traditional pursuit between the peloton and the escapees.

 

As said, several race circumstances play into the hand of the sprinters and suggest a bunch sprint finish. Nonetheless, we will make Peter Sagan our race favourite. The Slovakian got agonizingly close to a win in last year's race when he was the driving force that made it possible for the late break to stay clear. In the end, he did a bit too much work and ended up paying the price when he was surprisingly beaten by Ciolek in the sprint.

 

This year Sagan will again try to follow a similar tactic. He has a very strong team at his disposal - much stronger than last year's - and the likes of Moreno Moser, Damiano Caruso, Alessandro De Marchi, Marco Marcato, and Oscar Gatto will have the task of making the race as hard as possible on the climbs. On paper, Sagan could allow himself to follow wheels and wait for a sprint finish but that won't happen. The Slovakian will enhance his winning chances if he makes use of his climbing skills and joins the move that goes clear on the Poggio. There is no chance that anyone will ride away from  the Slovakian on this kind of mellow gradients.

 

Sagan is the best descender in the peloton and he will make use of those excellent skills to extend his advantage on the downhill part and then it is time to take stock of the situation. Sagan's main problem is that very few riders want to ride to the finish with him as they are almost guaranteed to be beaten in the sprint. His main ally will be Fabian Cancellara who is a guaranteed presence in the front group and history shows that the Swiss is not too bothered by assisting Sagan. Unless  Cancellara changes his tactics dramatically, he will be equally generous with his turns and everybody knows that the Swiss can make all the difference between staying away and getting caught.

 

The combination of Sagan, Cancellara, and possible help from a few other escapees will be hard to control for the peloton but it will be touch-and-go whether they make it to the finish. Sagan can expect to do most of the work inside the final kilometre though and this could be costly in the sprint. On paper though, he is likely to be so much faster than his escape companions that he is unlikely to be beaten in this kind of sprint finish two years in a row.

 

Even if the break gets caught and it all ends in a bunch sprint, Sagan will be in with a chance. If he has used too much energy in his attacking, he will be out of contention but if the break is caught shortly after the descent, he will refocus on the sprint. In a classic sprint, he won't be able to compete with the likes of André Greipel and Mark Cavendish but at the end of 300km things could be different. Sagan will certainly arrive fresher at the finish and if he times things correctly, he could even take the win in a bunch sprint finish.

 

If things come back together, Cavendish will be the favourite to take a second win in the race. Originally, the Brit had decided that he would probably never do Milan-Sanremo again but he has had the pleasant surprise of getting what could be one final shot in La Primavera. As soon as he learnt about the removal of the Pompeiana, he started to train specifically for the race and has lost a lot of weight to be ready for the challenge.

 

We were not overly impressed by his performance in Tirreno-Adriatico. In the mountain stages, he clearly suffered and finished behind the gruppetto on both days. He improved for the sixth stage where he survived the hard climbing and Cannondale's tempo that killed Marcel Kittel but he drifted back towards the rear end of the group.

 

However, one can never rule Cavendish out. The Manxman always steps up in the biggest races and the scenario is not too different from 2009. On that occasion, he was also struggling in the Tirreno but went on to win Sanremo on an even tougher course. The headwind will be a clear advantage for him and there is a great chance that it will end in a bunch sprint. If that is the case, he will be the clear favourite.

 

To get there, however, Cavendish will have to survive the climbing. He did so last year and we would be surprised if he doesn't repeat that feat on Sunday. His lead-out train consists of solid climbers too and he can expect to have most of his team at his disposal at the finish. Unlike in a classic sprint stage, they won't have done the early chase work and they will still be fresh to bring him back to the front and launch the sprint.

 

Things haven't worked out for the train this year but in the penultimate stage of Tirreno, they gave their sprinter a textbook lead-out. The absence of Tony Martin in the line-up will be felt but in this field Cavendish is certainly the fastest rider. If his team manages to position him near the front, he will be hard to beat.

 

Surprisingly, André Greipel has never performed too well in Sanremo. On paper, he has all the characteristics to shine. He is a much better climber than Cavendish and in the early season he has been climbing probably better than ever. While Cavendish drifted towards the back of the peloton in stage six of Tirreno, Greipel was well-positioned near the front all the way up the climb.

 

When the German has failed to impress in the biggest classics, it is probably due to the fact that he seems to struggle on longer distances. With an easier course and a headwind, however, he should have his best chance yet. Greipel is not as fast as Cavendish but he has the world's best lead-out train at his disposal. At the end of such a long race, however, he cannot expect his team to make the textbook performance that they usually do and he may have to play it a bit more by ear. This is a clear disadvantage for Greipel who usually relies heavily upon his team when he is up against faster finishers like Cavendish.

 

Jurgen Roelandts, Adam Hansen, and an in-form Marcel Sieberg should all be able to handle the climbing and if they are all there at the end, they may be the decisive factor. If Lotto Belisol manage to take control in a bunch sprint finale, a Greipel win is a very realistic scenario.

 

While Greipel may have struggled a bit in the one-day races, Arnaud Demare proved in last year's Tour of Flanders that he has all the characteristics to become a great classics rider. This year he has shown that he is in excellent condition. He featured deep into the finale of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and went on to take 12th despite being poorly positioned in the hard finish in Arezzo at Tirreno-Adriatico. In the final time trial, he took another 12th place despite having never excelled in the individual discipline and this is a clear testament to the fact that he has taken a further step up and is in great form.

 

Those performances prove that Demare is much more than just a sprinter and if it all comes down to a bunch sprint, he will be fresher than most of his rivals. In the Tour of Qatar and Tirreno-Adriatico, he underlined his status as one of the fastest sprinters and when it comes to top speed, he is probably only matched by Greipel and Cavendish among the sprinters that can be expected in the final Sanremo sprint. In Tirreno, his FDJ team proved how far they have come with their lead-out train and the team was a very dominant presence in the race finales. With that kind of support and fresher legs, Demare has a big chance to win a bunch sprint finish.

 

John Degenkolb climbed excellently in Paris-Nice to prove that he is excellent condition. The German may not be as fast as riders like Cavendish, Greipel, and Demare but he is a master in long, hard races of attrition that only make him stronger compared to his rivals. It is no wonder that he finished 2nd behind Sagan in the sprint for 4th two years ago, that he is the reigning winner of Vattenfall Cyclassics and Paris-Tours and that he has excelled in the cobbled classics.

 

There is no doubt that Degenkolb will survive the climbs and he will be supported by the strong Giant-Shimano team. There's no guarantee that important lead-out riders like Roy Curvers and Albert Timmer will survive the climbs but Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg and Koen De Kort should be there in the finale. Those two riders were the final ones to give a textbook lead-out on the Magny-Cours circuit in Paris-Nice and if they can repeat that effort, Degenkolb will have a shot at the win.

 

One of the most successful sprinters in the early part of the year has been Sacha Modolo. The Italian has already scored four victories but saw his momentum come to a halt in Tirreno-Adriatico. In the sprint on  stage two, he hit the headwind too early and on stage six, he went down in the big crash.

 

Modolo, however, is more than just a pure sprinter. He climbs rather well and he handles long races excellently. It is no wonder that he finished 4th in this race when he first did it in 2010 and he should be up there in case of a sprint finish. His lead-out man Maximilano Richeze is unlikely to survive the climbing and Davide Cimolai is not guaranteed to be there either. This means that the lead-out train that has been an instrumental part of his success, will be significantly hampered but he can still count on a rider like Filippo Pozzato. He has proved that he has the speed to beat the best and he could do so again in Sanremo.

 

Degenkolb was certainly climbing well in Paris-Nice but the sprinter who excelled most on the climbs was Michael Matthews. It comes as little surprise that the Australian climbs well - after all he dropped Francisco Mancebo in last year's Tour of Utah - but few had imagined that he would emerge as one of the 10 best climbers in a WorldTour race.

 

This suggests that Matthews is currently riding really well and he proved in last year's Vuelta that he has the speed to finish it off. Compared to the faster finishers, he will be fresher at the finish and he can expect to have an excellent lead-out at his disposal, with the likes of Simon Gerrans, Mathew Hayman, Jens Keukeleire, and Daryl Impey almost guaranteed to be there in the end. On paper, he is not fast enough to beat the real sprinters but if his team can time things correctly after a long, hard race, don't be surprised to see Matthews take back the Sanremo crown to the Orica-GreenEDGE camp.

 

Alexander Kristoff doesn't have the speed to beat the likes of Cavendish and Greipel in a traditional sprint but the Norwegian is the master of the sprints in the classics. Last year he won the sprints for the minor positions in Milan-Sanremo, Tour of Flanders, and Paris-Roubaix to finish in the top 10 in all three races and few will have forgotten that he is also an Olympic bronze medalist. The Norwegian has praised his own condition, claiming that he is better than he was at this time 12 months ago, and his good climbing in stage five of Paris-Nice suggests that he is right. There is no doubt that he will be there at the finish and history proves that he is very hard to beat at the end of a classic.

 

Until now we have mostly mentioned sprinters as we think that it will either be a bunch sprint or a breakaway win for Sagan. However, there are a couple of outsiders that may join the front group on the Poggio and come away with the win in the finale. The most interesting name is probably Michal Kwiatkowski. The Pole was in outstanding condition in Strade Bianche but again underlined that his recovery is still not good enough to make him a tough contender in the stage races when he cracked in Tirreno-Adriatico.

 

Now he is back in a one-day race and it is hard to imagine that he won't be part of the group that is likely to go clear on the Poggio - if his Omega Pharma-Quick Step team allows him to do so. That would be a wise strategy though as he can allow himself to follow wheels, with Cavendish waiting for the sprint behind. This would leave him fresh for a late attack in the finale and with his companions all being fatigued, his accelerations could be lethal. As a strong time trialist, he will be very hard to reel in. At the same time, he is very fast and was very close to beating Sagan in sprints in last year's Tour de France. With Sagan being forced to do a lot more work in the finale, no one can rule out that Kwiatkowski will even be able to beat the Slovakian in a final dash to the line.

 

Finally, Cancellara deserves a mention. The Swiss is a master in timing his condition and while the Strade Bianche suggested that he was a bit behind compared to 2013, his excellent time trial in Tirreno-Adriatico clearly convinced us that he is at his very best. Cancellara has finished on the podium three times in a row and he is always one of the strongest on the Poggio.

 

Cancellara won't be able to drop Sagan on the Poggio and he can't beat him in a sprint. A lot of things have to go right for the Swiss to win the race but no one can ever rule out the Trek leader. If Sagan does a bit too much work in the finale, Cancellara only needs a gap of a few metres to get clear and then no one will ever see the Swiss again.

 

***** Peter Sagan

**** Mark Cavendish, André Greipel

*** Arnaud Demare, John Degenkolb, Sacha Modolo

** Michael Matthews, Alexander Kristoff, Michal Kwiatkowski, Fabian Cancellara

* Bryan Coquard, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Daniele Bennati, Gerald Ciolek, Simon Gerrans, Simon Clarke, Geraint Thomas, Luca Paolini, Tony Gallopin, Zdenek Stybar, Greg Van Avermaet, Arthur Vichot, Tom-Jelte Slagter 

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