Milan San-remo Preview: Why Cav Won’t Win
Why Cav won’t win Milan Sanremo:
March 7th 2013: Cavendish loses stage 2 at Tirreno-Adriatico and then immediately complains about his leadout train. It was at that very moment I had a mini-cycling epiphany: Despite having great early season form, and being a favorite, Mark Cavendish will not win Milan San-remo. Feeling good about my prediction, I begin to draft this article.
March 8th: After a long soggy day in the saddle, Peter Sagan beats Cav to the line to take Stage 2. YES! With my opinion now firmly cemented, I am ready to post my race picks.
Long known as the sprinters classic, Milano-Sanremo has been targeted by many a fastmen over the years. We all know that if the race comes down to a pure sprint, Cav will take it all day, every day (just ask Heinrich Haussler). However, targeting La Primavera this year, is a different breed altogether… I present my case below:
Cannondale – Peter Sagan/Moreno Moser. It’s pretty clear that it is Sagan’s world, and we are all just living in it. Sagan has unlimited potential and it’s really a question of how many classics he will win over the course of his career. We have seen he can win in pretty much any scenario, then add in the fact that a young Moreno Moser is in form and it only complicates things for Cav’s chances. Cannondale could easily try the 1-2 punch combo they pulled off at Strade Bianche.
Big Dogs – Fabian Cancellara/Phillipe Gilbert – Fab is a 2x winner, and Gil has stated that he would love to win while rocking the rainbow stripes. These two are far from sprinters, and their chances will come from a herculean solo move, or attacking from a smaller group. Both are plausible given this years competition.
Vincenzo Nibali – Nibs is Italian, Italians love their cycling. He animated the race last year and has stated he will be in the mix again this year. Much like Fab/Gilbert, his only move will be from far out. If he stirs the pot, then it most likely will ruin the party for the sprinters.
Matty Goss – The 2011 winner is a much better climber than Cav and is just a tad behind him as far as his sprint goes. Add in the fact that Goss is less dependent on the perfect lead out train that Cav demands, and this makes him a prime candidate to match any moves made by the fellows above, and win from a small bunch sprint (deja vu from 2011).
Andre Greipel – I would take the Gorilla’s sick watts vs the Poggio over Cav… This one is less likely, but if the pace is high, I like his chances of sticking with the group more than Cav..(that’s me saying the same thing twice in two different ways! (I did it again!!)).
Wildcards – Yoann Offredo/Greg Van Avermaet – These two will always animate every race they’re in. These two were my favorite part of MSR in 2011 and both have shown good form so far this year. You can bet they will launch some sort of doomed heroic attack from juuust a little too far out. At any rate, these two being active will totally rain on Cav’s parade.
Cav himself attempted to rain on my parade with this gem: but think about it, why wouldn’t he say that? It takes all the pressure off him if/when he gets dropped on the Poggio, and if by chance things just happen to work out his way, he can play the “underdog” card. But I believe there is another reason he made those comments – He believes them. Sure, Cavendish has won before, but history has shown us that if things don’t go his way he tends to give up. He is your classic front runner – When it comes down it, the pace will simply be too hard for him to hang on. (I really hate how easy he gives up in sprints where he doesn’t have an immediate advantage - Seth)
So.. Who does win? I’ll be trendy and pick Sagan (it’s not trendy when he’s dominating, it’s smart thinkin’ - Seth). I just think he’s too good not to win. The Big Dogs – Fab and Gilbert are targeting this race, but we all know they prioritize the cobbles and Ardennes (respectively) over MSR. I’m picturing a fast and furious pace, a couple attacks, ending up with a select group of Nibali, Cancellara and Sagan, with Sagan taking the sprint victory.
Others to keep an eye on:
John Degenkolb – This guy is made for the classics.
Heinrich Haussler – Blondie wants to revive his career. No wins yet this year, but he is close.
Gerald Ciolek – Another man searching to redeem himself on a new team. He has been more visible than in recent years and is gunning for a big win.
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