Julian Alaphilippe will make his sixth appearance in “La Primavera”.

The first Monument of the season is also the longest one-day race on the calendar, but the long procession to Sanremo is worth the wait, because once the peloton hits the small climbs on the Italian Riviera, we will be in for the most electrifying and unpredictable outcome in the sport.

A sprinters’ Monument until a few years ago, Milano-Sanremo has become the favourite playing ground of the attackers, who in recent seasons have made the difference either on the iconic Poggio or on the subsequent technical descent that ends with just two kilometers to go. But before that, it’s very likely to see a change of pace already on the first big climb of the last hour of racing, the Cipressa, which could prove out to be enough to shake off all the pure sprinters and leave a reduced peloton in contention by the time it will arrive at the foot of the last hill.

Julian Alaphilippe, the winner of the 2019 edition – when he emerged victorious on the Via Roma from a select group that he helped shape by accelerating on the Poggio – will lead the team Saturday, as he makes his 20th presence in a Monument. He will be joined at the start of the 294km-long race by 2021 De Ronde winner Kasper Asgreen, Davide Ballerini, Tim Declercq, Dries Devenyns, Yves Lampaert and French Champion Florian Sénéchal.

“We go to the start of Milano-Sanremo with a lot of grinta. Julian won this race a couple of years ago, he showed some nice things this season, and we know he will be one of the riders to watch, but given what we have seen in Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico, there will be a lot of favourites. The confidence is there, the guys are ready after a strong start to the season, now we just hope luck will be on our side, because we are very motivated to go for a good result”, said Soudal Quick-Step sports director Davide Bramati.


Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele / Getty Images

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