|Saturday 22 March 2003 will see the Cycling World Cup commence with the 94th edition of Milan-San Remo. La Classicissima remains part of the World Cup, at least for the present, despite threats from the UCI to remove it because of an ongoing dispute over television rights. Once again there appears to be little television coverage outside of Italy. Eurosport have decided not to show it yet again, although the German channel ARD has it scheduled from 15.05-17.00 CET.|
|The Passo del Turchino makes a
welcome return to the route after being omitted for the past two years.
The Capo Mele, the first of the coastal climbs encountered, however
will not feature this year.
Last years winner and World Road Champion Mario Cipollini (left) has been suffering with gastrointestinal problems and it is a possibility that he may not start. Cipollini has said his "greatest challenge would be to win Milano Sanremo wearing the rainbow jersey as so few riders have done it". Those that have done the Worlds and San Remo double are Alfredo Binda in 1931, Eddy Merckx 1972, Felice Gimondi 1974 and Giuseppe Saronni in 1983. The Lion King would also celebrate his 36th birthday in fine style.
Out to stop Cipollini will be Team Telekom, lead by Erik Zabel, who will be aiming to increase his number of victories to five. Zabel's chance of winning ended last year at Imperia when another rider ran into the back of him forcing him to change bikes. It would be a fascinating duel should they both feature in a sprint finish along the Via Roma in the "city of flowers" and a sprint finish it almost certainly will be.
Danilo Di Luca (Saeco) will be hoping to erase the disappointment from last year when he was involved in a crash at a critical moment. Team Coast has had their suspension lifted and will take to the start.