It’s that time of year again, the kiss-of-death predictions.
Of course the top favorite is Sagan, but me mentioning him here pretty much ruins his chances, as history has shown. So it should be a very open race!
Of course, if you exclude Sagan, it becomes almost impossible to predict the winner. Some mention Hushovd because of the predicted foul weather, but very long races aren’t always his strength and coming back from a year of inactivity, 300k looks even longer.
I really like Cancellara, and he can climb the Poggio better than most and descend it better than anybody, but will it be enough to shake off all the riders who can expertly sit on his wheel and outsprint him?
Gilbert with or without cortisones? Or Rodriguez, who can attack the Poggio in similar fashion? But what to do on the other end? Nibali, another one who can really fly up the Poggio (and also down it, although I don’t rate him as that good a descender since he regularly seems to kiss the pavement). Regardless, the only rider Nibali could outsprint would be Andy Schleck, and I’m not sure he’s spotted in any Milan hotel lately.
This shouldn’t be the race for Cavendish anymore, the way the last three climbs are ridden nowadays. But I actually think he has been targeting this race, and that we’ll see a better climbing Cav than ever. Enough to stay connected to the front? Possibly, though maybe not in this weather. He will be a very interesting guy to watch though, and there is no doubt he has his team’s support.
His old team may have a real ace in its hand. Boasson Hagen can climb much better than you would think (remember the Tour) and on a good day, he can outsprint anybody (remember his field sprint wins?) And when the weather turns bad, Boasson Hagen’s legs seem to turn well.
Greenedge has two irons in the fire with Gerrans and Goss, and if both make it over the Poggio (which they have numerous times), their combo may be a credible threat to Sagan. Even if Sagan has support from Moser, it may spell trouble for Sagan as he may have to control the race after a Moser + ?? attack rather than win himself.
Not mentioned as often but somebody who is ready for his biggest win so far is Degenkolb. He rides for a team I really like, and they deserve the boost. Plus Degenkolb’s performances last year in San Remo and Worlds show this type of course – and the race distance – suit him well. And Last year’s Vuelta showed his speed and nose for the victory is now at full strength.
So here we go, the kiss-of-death Milan-San Remo predictions:
And my sentimental favorite? Haussler of course.