The Milan-San Remo is a yearly event held on the Sunday that is closest to March 19 to mark the opening of the international cycling, and we have Ligurian Riviera’s good climate to thank for this race. With its inaugural race having taken place in 1906, Milan-San Remo has a long and rich history. Traditionally, the Passo del Turchino was the sole climb of Milan-San Remo. With time, however, racers became used to this climb and would come over it together. In bicycle racing, a climb is supposed to be that point on the racecourse when a racer can break away from a peloton. With Turchino not serving this purpose effectively, there was a need to introduce another climb, and that is how the Poggio found its way into the Milan-San Remo racecourse, in 1960. While there may be nothing special with the Poggio (if the professional cycling standards are anything to go by, that is), the climb allows racers to launch attacks during the last few kilometres of the race.
Despite the inclusion of more climbs, including the Tre Capi and the Cipressa, Milan-San Remo is widely regarded as a race for sprinters. With well-known sprinters like Gerrans, Degenkolb, Cavendish, Kristoff, Cipollini, Friere, Zabel, Kelly, and Merckx all having won the race, the claim may not be far from the truth. However, this does not mean that everyone who won Milan-San Remo was a sprinter. Take Kwiatkowski, Cancellara, Colombo, Tchmil, Fignon, Saronni, and Moser, for instance; none of these was a sprinter, yet they all won the race.
As of 2019, Milan-San Remo features for major climbs, which offer cyclists the opportunity to attack. These climbs include the following:
Passo Del Turchino: The riders cover a 143-kilometre distance before they can reach this climb. It is a long, easy climb, but it goes a long way in determining the winner of the race.
Poggio: This is where fireworks take place, as it provides the last chance to escape. Poggio is a 3.6-kilometre climb, with a 3.7-per cent average gradient. Looking at it, you may think that it is an easy climb to negotiate, but after covering about 290 kilometres of the race, it takes a lot of energy for a cyclist to beat this climb and come out on top.
Tre Capi: This consists of Capo Berta, Capo Cerva, and Capo Mele, a trio of flat roads, which are a perfect platform for cyclists to warm up for the final two climbs: Cipressa and Poggio.
Cipressa: This climb stretches up to about 6km and boasts a 4-per cent average gradient. With just 20km to go, Cipressa is a great spot for cyclists to break away.