How to watch Milan-San Remo 2023: times and favorites
The Classicissima, the first of the 5 monuments, the race of the highest speeds and a mileage unique in our days presents us with a tremendously exciting 2023 edition with a wide list of candidates to raise their arms on the Via Roma of San Remo in what is the easiest classic to race but the most complicated to finish.
Milan-San Remo, cycling with an old-fashioned flavor
If there is a race that maintains the essence of that black and white cycling, that captures the passion of a country where cycling unleashes emotions and that has crowned some of the greatest riders in history against all logic that can be assumed in view of its route, that is the Milan-San Remo.
A race that is difficult to understand for the casual fan and yet is one of the most anticipated moments of each season for the enthusiast. Hours of watching a peloton ride at very high speed without anything seemingly happening, to mature the legs over a slow fire, to reach one of the most brutal outcomes that can be experienced in cycling in a recipe that has remained unchanged for decades.
Heterogeneous selection: Favorites for Milan-San Remo 2023
If a race offers an uncertain finish and is open to a much larger number of riders than the usual list of favorites, it is the Milan-San Remo. A circumstance that is defined by the pace of true madness that is pedaled during the last hour of the race, as if the previous 5 had not been very high, and that only allows you to shoot a bullet. The one who hits the target is the one who ends up winning the race.
Despite the fact that the most usual profile of a winner in Milan-San Remo is that of a versatile sprinter capable of passing the climbs well and getting by in small groups, historically we have seen all kinds of winners in this race, from pure sprinters like Petacchi or Cipollini, to climbers like the show that Vincenzo Nibali gave us in 2018.
In fact, in this 2023 edition it is inevitable to include Tadej Pogacar as favorite after the huge start of the season that the Slovenian has marked, winning at pleasure in Clásica de Jaen Paraíso Interior, Vuelta a Andalucía and, above all, the power shown last week in Paris-Nice where in addition to winning, he destroyed the morale of his rivals, including the current winner of the Tour Jonas Vingegaard. He has the legs to play his cards in the Poggio de San Remo, the equipment to toughen the race in the previous section as well, not to mention the technique to play for everything in the final descent to San Remo.
Perhaps his biggest handicap to overcome is the lack of hardness of the climb to the Poggio, which reduces the effectiveness, as was seen in last year's edition, of his presumable movement on this climb against cyclists with raw power. Although we all know that it only takes a couple of seconds of advantage at the top to reach the Via Roma alone.
Speaking of the descent to San Remo, it is obvious that we must include what is probably the best downhill rider in the peloton at the moment as well as the current winner of the race, Matej Mohoric, who already used his bike with dropper post in Strade Bianche and who, no doubt, will try to stand out in another hair-raising descent like the one he gave us last year.
Speaking of downhill riders and in-form cyclists, INEOS Grenadiers will be without Tom Pidcock for this race after the crash he suffered in the last stage of Tirreno-Adriatico that forced him to abandon the race. This morning, the team published a note informing that Pidcock had shown symptoms of concussion so they ruled out his participation in Milan-San Remo as a precaution to avoid compromising his health. So the British team's chances will depend on the likes of Kiatkowsky, Ganna and Viviani having an inspired day.
The Jumbo-Visma squad is also strong, where Wout Van Aert, still far from his best form after only having raced in Tirreno-Adriatico, will be once again the team's asset. Let's not forget that the Belgian already knows what it's like to win in the streets of San Remo, a triumph he achieved in 2020.
As it happens with Van Aert, another one to always count on in the forecasts is Mathieu Van der Poel, who will try to improve last year's podium despite the fact that, according to his own statements and what he showed during Tirreno-Adriatico, he will arrive at this first monument quite short of form.
Another who already knows what it means to win this season and is capable of passing the Poggio with the best is Trek-Segafredo's Danish rider Mads Pedersen. In his case, the key is to resist as long as possible until the Via Roma itself, to try to impose his top speed in a reduced sprint, a situation that, on the other hand, is not uncommon in the outcomes of Milan-San Remo.
Finally, another rider who could use this same tactic and bet on a sprint outcome would be the Eritrean Biniam Girmay, although, except for his victory in the first stage of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, he did not manage to get close to victory in Tirreno-Adriatico where he was clearly surpassed in the sprints contested.
300 kilometers to mature at a slow pace: Milan-San Remo 2023
There will be novelties in 2023 in the route of a race that has kept its menu practically unchanged for decades. But don't panic, cyclists will still see the 300 kilometers on their computers at the end of the race and the course remains the tribute to speed that it has always been.
The modification introduced in this edition is the change of the starting point from the center of Milan to the peripheral town of Abbiategrasso, purely for logistical reasons to avoid the inconvenience of starting from the center of a city as big as Milan and that meant adding about twenty kilometers between streetcar rails and asphalt in poor condition to the already huge mileage that the cyclists had to face.
The rest of the menu, remains the same, an initial part that seeks the coast through the Passo del Turchino that after its long descent will leave the cyclists on the beautiful Ligurian coasts in a beautiful route, at least until, with 60 kilometers to go, the road overcomes the Capos Mele, Cervo and Berta, where the pace is definitely unleashed as a prelude to the ascent to Cipressa, place where, in its more than 5 kilometers, the race is selected.
From there, only the chosen ones will be able to stay ahead on the Poggio, a climb that even any touring cyclist will have to climb with the big chainring on, even if they have to be careful with the layout of its tight bends due to the speed at which it develops. Perfect positioning and knowing how to wait for the right moment is the only option for those who try to make their bet at this point.
After crowning, one of the most technical descents of all those faced in competition, it leads the cyclists in a fleeting way to the streets of San Remo in the last two kilometers in which a surprise attack that no one decides to close at the time has also been a way to win in this race that always offers a conclusion worthy of the best action movie.
How to watch Milan-San Remo 2023
Only for cycling geeks, the Eurosport channel will offer full coverage of the race from the start near Milan. Therefore, those of you who opt for this option, forget about riding your bike next Saturday as you will have to be in front of the TV from 9:45 in the morning until 17:45 when the broadcast is scheduled to end, including the first program in this 2023 of La Montonera, the post-race program in which the channel's commentators and experts will analyze in detail the outcome of the race.