Attention turns to Milan-San Remo for British cyclists

By Kev Newton

After a successful start to the season for British riders, attention now turns to the first of cycling’s ‘Monuments’ of 2013, Saturday’s Milan-San Remo.

The spring classic, at 298km, is the longest one day race on the calendar and is traditionally the first chance for the sprinters to test their legs.

Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) will be looking for a repeat of the 2009 edition, which he won while riding for Team Columbia-High Road.

However, he will face tough competition from in-form Slovakian Peter Sagan (Cannondale).

Sagan, the Slovak national champion, is the overwhelming favourite after a strong showing at Tirreno-Adriatico and the usual doubts over Cavendish’s climbing abilities.

Indeed the Manxman was way off the pace in last year’s race and was distanced by the peloton with 100km remaining.

Team Sky‘s focus, meanwhile, will be on Norwegian national champion Edvald Boasson Hagen and London 2012 team pursuit gold-medallist Geraint Thomas.

Cardiff-born Thomas, 26, has started his season well by winning a stage and taking third place overall at the Tour Down Under.

He and Boasson Hagen are both decent climbers who can also sprint, and will hope to be part of a reduced peloton over the day’s final climb, the Poggio, 6km from the finish in San Remo.

The worry from a British perspective is that the impressive Sagan should be there too!