2012 Milan - San Remo - The Contenders


Mark Cavendish (26) Winner in 2009 - has the World Road Race Champions jersey on his back this time which would make the win extra special.

"I said in 2009 when I won Milan-San Remo that I want to return to win it in this jersey. The last one to do it was Giuseppe Saronni."
Cavendish won the Worlds last year in Copenhagen and has already won in the Tour of Qatar and in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne in the jersey. This year may be his only chance to win San Remo as World Champion. He starts as favorite with the backing of his new Sky Team


Matthew Harley Goss (25) Surprise winner in 2011 when his then HTC - Highroad teammate Mark Cavendish was left behind when the peloton was split by a crash. This year he will have the entire GreenEdge team behind him as he seeks a second title.

Goss himself is recovering from a cold and abandoned Tirreno-Adriatico as a precautionary measure. "Matt is going really well, and we don't want to run any risks before the big one-day races coming up. In pulling him out of the race now, after two really hard days, we'll still be able to count on him recovering fully for Milan - San Remo and the other big Classics," said directeur sportif Matt White.

"I'm obviously not happy pulling out, but I think it's the best decision to play it safe leading up to Milan-San Remo. I've gotten some really good racing under the belt here and I think I'll be ready to go hard again after having shaken this cold in a few days," Goss said.

2010 Podium

Tom Boonen (31) Best place second. Will have more chance winning from a select group

Oscar Freire (36) Has won Milan-San Remo three times. The last time was in 2010 (above). Freire is now 36 and what he has lost in speed is made up with experience. Now riding for the Russian Katusha Team

Alessandro Petacchi (38) Won in 2005. Cannot be ruled out in a sprint but would become the oldest winner should he do so

Fabian Cancellara (30) The Swiss rider demonstrated four years ago that you do not have to be a sprinter to win Milan San Remo when he rode away in the closing stages. Last year only Goss was too fast for him. Cancellara is on form with recent wins in the Strade Bianche and Tirreno Adriatico time trial

Philippe Gilbert (29) Best place third - now with the BMC team. Is in a crisis at present leaving the Tirreno - Adriatico on Monday with a fever. Has travelled to the team hotel in Imola and has been out training on the course. Will definitely start on Saturday

Vincenzo Nibali (27) The Italian won the 2012 Tirreno - Adriatico on Tuesday so goes to Sanremo in confident mood. “My Liquigas - Cannondale team is very strong for Milan-Sanremo. Me and Sagan will be the team leaders. He’ll focus on the final sprint, while I’ll have to do something before that. There are always a lot of surprises at Milan-Sanremo. Of the Italian contenders, Oscar Gatto is going well. Cavendish is on form and so we’ll have make some allies and make it a hard race right from the start.” Best place at Sanremo is 8th


Peter Sagan (22) can beat anyone in the sprint and can pull away from everyone on the Poggio. He is the most versatile talents of the new generation. The Slovak rider was 17th last year

The great Eddy Merckx was asked his opinion

Merckx rode Milan-Sanremo ten times during his career and won it a record seven times. He picked several favourites for this year’s race.

“I think there are a lot of favourites for this year’s Milan-Sanremo. There are a lot of riders on form but if they don’t drop Cavendish on Poggio, he’ll be difficult to beat.”

“Cancellara looks good, so too do Sagan, Boonen and Van Avermaet. Nobody has talked about Oscar Freire but he’ll be there after 300km and could win his fourth Sanremo. Gilbert isn’t so on form but we’ll see what happens. Though if he was dropped in a team time trial at Tirreno-Adriatico, it’s not a good sign.”

“Nibali is going well, he’s a classy rider, I saw him win a stage in Oman. However he’s got to learn to use his head more and race more intelligently. He lost Oman because he made a mistake. If he’s going well, he could get away on the Poggio and so perhaps win Milan-Sanremo.”

Nibali & Sagan images © Ale Federico - www.albumciclismo.it

All other images © www.milansanremo.info

The Cipressa
Cipressa start

The Cipressa from start to top in pictures

The Cipressa from top to bottom in pictures

The Poggio
Poggio start

The Poggio from start to top in pictures

The Poggio from top to bottom in pictures



Panoramic image top of Poggio























































































































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