Kiss-of-death Milan-San Remo predictions

March 17, 2013

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:

Boasson Hagen

And my sentimental favorite? Haussler of course.


6 Responses to “Kiss-of-death Milan-San Remo predictions”

  1. Matt Kreger Says:

    All eyes are are Sagan.

    I cut my teeth with pro cycling with the Beyond the Peleton series in 2009, Haussler has had a rough few years, Id love to see him and he new team turn in a new result.

    It’ll be interesting to see how the detour mixes things up.

  2. wisey17 Says:

    Wow, kiss of death rules once again. Do you worry that Cancellara might send a hit squad after you one day? You might want to steer clear of Sagan for the next few weeks too. ;-)
    A nice way for Ciolek & MTN Qhubeka to start the year.
    Sadly though, I have decided to remove your name from the list of potential proof readers for my PhD. Your clarity of thought and ability to cut right to the heart of the matter need to be balanced against that kiss-of-death…… yikes.

  3. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    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).
    Really? You must watch different races than I do – would you cite some examples where the “Shark of Messina” has fallen off while dropping his rivals on a fast descent? I consider him the heir to “Il Falco” Paolo Savoldelli when it comes to flying downhill.

    • Off the top of my head the 2010 Giro stage to Montalcino comes to mind. Went down and held up a bunch of contenders at the same time. Just the first page on Google for “Nibali crash” also renders the 2010 Giro di Lombardia, the 2012 Giro di Lombardia, the 2009 ENECO Tour (amazingly he crashed on a descent in the flattest stage race in the world). All these crashes were on descents.

  4. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    I’d discount the 2009 crash since it had nothing to do with a descent – “the flattest stage race in the world”? We certainly could go back and forth with this but I’ll contend for a guy who goes very fast down almost every descent, RAIN or shine, he doesn’t fall off very much – as his performance in winning T-A for the second time showed. I’ll agree with you about his MSR chances though – it’s a tough race to win for a guy without much of a final sprint.

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