RCS Sport explains reasons for moving Milano-Sanremo and Lombardia to Sundays
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Thursday, November 29, 2012

RCS Sport explains reasons for moving Milano-Sanremo and Lombardia to Sundays

by Ben Atkins at 11:46 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Fall Classics, Giro di Lombardia, Milan-Sanremo
 
Safety, traffic disruption and TV coverage the main motivators, and fans events to follow

simon gerransThe International Cycling Union (UCI) confirmed yesterday that it had consented to the moving of Milano-Sanremo and Il Lombardia to Sundays in 2013. The two Classic Monuments, which are both owned by Giro d’Italia organiser RCS Sport, have traditionally been run on Saturdays since their inceptions in 1907 and 1905 respectively, but will be a day later than usual in future.

Since cycling is a sport that draws heavily on its heritage and history, the decision to change what was a more than 100-year tradition was not an easy one. Because of that, RCS Sport has sought to explain itself clearly.

RCS Sport notes that the other big one-day Classics of the sport are held on Sundays, including the Ronde van Vlaanderen, Paris-Roubaix, the Amstel Gold Race, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. This makes the transition from Saturday a logical one, but is not one of the primary reasons.

The Italian weekend traffic is one of the big justifications for the move, since it is far greater an inconvenience to close large parts of some of Italy’s biggest cities on Saturdays. Holding the races on Sundays will result in increased road safety, says the RCS Sport statement.

“There is less traffic on Italian roads on Sundays and so there will be a lower risk of problems and less disruption for local residents along the route,” it reads.

What is surely the biggest reason behind the changed day, however, is finance. Despite making large amounts of money out of its flagship event, the Giro d’Italia, RCS Sport has been losing money on some of its other events for a number of years. Holding the races on Sundays should open up far greater global television coverage, which should in turn result in greater profits.

“Sunday is traditionally a day of sport and Milano-Sanremo and Il Lombardia are watched on television all over the world,” reads the statement. “Some people have suggested there are a lot of other sporting events on Sundays. That's true but we believe cycling has a huge appeal and so we're not worried about competition from other sports.”

As part of RCS Sport’s efforts to reach out to its fans, it will also begin to organise a series of events around its two Monument races, which will be simpler to do on Sundays.

“Starting from 2014, we want to offer cycling fans a chance to ride events linked to the two races,” the statement reads. “The idea is to organise them in the cities that host the race finishes and we believe Sunday is the perfect day to hold these events.”

There has been some reaction from riders on the day change, with not all in favour. 2008 winner - and runner up in both 2011 and 2012 - Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) has expressed concern over the extra non-race day that will now be in between Tirreno-Adriatico - which will finish on March 12th - and Milano-Sanremo - which will now be held on March 17th.

“We had already considered the problem and [assistant race director] Mauro Vegni and his team is already working on a situation to find a solution so that there is a race on either Thursday or Friday.”

In another effort to involve its fans, RCS Sport invites feedback via Twitter, which should be directed at either @Milano_Sanremo or @Il_Lombardia.

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