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7) Milano Sanremo | 21 March 2020

At 298 kilometres, the Milan-Sanremo is the world’s longest one-day cycle race. It is often decided by a group sprint along Via Roma, although in recent years the pure sprinters have found it difficult to judge the risk and seal victory. The most difficult tests are the Cipressa and the Poggio, climbs of about 200 meters’ elevation that, coming in the last 30 kilometres, can provide a springboard for the most explosive attacking riders.

The record for the most victories belongs to Eddy Merckx with a total of 7, but Costante Girardengo also deserves special mention: the rider from Piedmont made the podium in 10 consecutive races between 1917 and 1926, including 6 victories, 3 second places and 2 third places.

Why you should watch it

The Classicissima is the first of the five Monument Classics, and it’s also the simplest. Many riders fancy their chances, but it’s nearly always one of the established stars who emerges on top in Via Roma after an unpredictable and high-adrenalin race. The race seems tailor-made for Peter Sagan: quick, explosive and a good performer on short climbs, although this Slovak rider has always missed out on overall victory. This year Philippe Gilbert merits special attention: if he triumphs in Via Roma he will become the only cyclist in the modern era to seal victory in all 5 Monument Classics, an achievement pulled off by only 3 riders in cycling history (Eddy Merckx , Roger De Vlaeminck and Rik Van Looy).

Favourites for 2020

***Peter Sagan

**John Degenkolb – Alexander Kristoff

*Philippe Gilbert – Matej Mohoric – Fernando Gaviria


Tour of Flanders | 5 April 2020

260 kilometres, from Antwerp to Oudenaarde. The elevation difference is moderate, but the second half of the course is a killer. The altimeter readout has a jagged shape and the course is punctuated by a rapid succession of walls: short and very steep climbs, some with cobbled sections, mean that the race is arduous and spectacular.

As many as 6 riders in history have succeeded in winning “La Ronde” 3 times, including Fiorenzo Magni and Tom Boonen, and on 2 April Boonen himself  could ignite the million roadside spectators for the last time by becoming the only rider with 4 victories.

Why you should watch it

In Belgium this is the sports event of the year, and the Belgian riders are practically unbeatable: out of 100 editions 68 have seen a Belgian cross the line in first place. But for the last 4 years they have failed to do so, and this year too will be very tough.

Favourites for 2020

***Greg Van Avermaet

**Peter Sagan – Mathieu van der Poel

* Alexander Kristoff – Wout Van Aert – Mads Pedersen


Paris Roubaix | 12 April 2020

The Paris Roubaix isn’t a race, it’s a profession. To win it you need to know it by heart and judge the perfect moment to take a risk. Very few riders have won the Roubaix at their first attempt. The Roubaix is the inferno of the North – it poses no difficulties in terms of altitude, but 55 kilometres of pavé out of 257 kilometres overall break the muscles and the endurance of many participants.

The race reaches the finish in the spectacular Roubaix Velodrome, where the racers arrive in dribs and drabs. Only 2 riders have managed to win the race 4 times: Roger De Vlaeminck and Tom Boonen.

Why you should watch it

For the last 9 years the winner of the Roubaix has always been a different rider. Will we witness yet another new winner this year, or will one of the previous champions reassert themselves in this most prestigious of velodromes?

Favourites for 2020

***Wout Van Aert

**Peter Sagan – Mathieu van der Poel

*John Degenkolb – Sep Vanmarcke – Zdenek Stybar


Liège Bastogne Liège | 26 April 2020

The Liège is the oldest of the Classics, with the first race dating back to 1892, and for this reason it is also known as the Doyenne. This race is totally different to all the Classics that come before it in the racing calendar, since it has an elevation difference of over 4,000 meters. A characteristic feature of the race is its côtes – climbs of a maximum of 4 kilometres and with average gradients of 8%. So it is climbers with a fast sprint in their racing toolkit who emerge on top. As in the Milan-Sanremo Eddy Merckx holds the winner’s record, with 5 victories.

Why you should watch it

Because it takes class to win a race like this. The Liège can be won climbing, on the downhill or in the sprint, but each racer has only one shot to fire.

Favourites for 2020

***Julian Alaphilippe

**Jakob Fuglsang – Tim Wellens –

*Vincenzo Nibali, Michal Kwiatkowski, Simon Yates


Il Lombardia | 10 October 2020

It’s the tough climbs that make Il Lombardia a hard race. About 250 kilometres in length and 4,400 meters in altitude, this is a course for the thoroughbred climbers. Il Lombardia is the only Monument Classic to take place in autumn, hence its Classics name of Foglie Morte (the ‘Dead Leaves’). To win it you have to reach the end of the season still fresh and focused, because it’s impossible to come first by chance. This is demonstrated by the name of the rider won it the most times, Fausto Coppi – the ‘Campionissimo’ – who crossed the finishing line on as many as 5 occasions.

Why you should watch it

Il Lombardia is the Classic that Italian riders have won most, as many as 68 times. In 2015 Vincenzo Nibali crossed the finishing line with his arms aloft in the Italian Champion’s jersey, but that was the last Italian victory. For Valverde too the race seems cursed, having been undone once again in 2019 by a tricky tactical situation that handed a well-deserved victory to Bauke Mollema.

Favourites for 2020

*** Julian Alaphilippe

** Alejandro Valverde – Vincenzo Nibali

*Primoz Roglic, Thibaut Pinot, Egan Bernal

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