Nokere Koerse organiser: “The new date of Milano-Sanremo is a Godsend.”
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Friday, November 30, 2012

Nokere Koerse organiser: “The new date of Milano-Sanremo is a Godsend.”

by Ben Atkins at 9:43 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Milan-Sanremo
 
Move to Sunday means the Belgian semi-Classic expects a more prestigious field

nokere koerseWhile it might not please everybody that race organiser RCS Sport has decided to move Milano-Sanremo to a Sunday, it has pleased those behind the Nokere Koerse, the Belgian semi-Classic that runs on the Wednesday before. The extra day now between the two races, the Belgian organiser hopes, could mean that a stronger field will be attracted.

The Nokere Koerse falls on March 13th, with Milano-Sanremo now due to fall on March 17th, with four days between the races, some of the hopefuls for the Italian Classic might make the journey north to put the finishing touches to their form.

"For us, the new date of Milan-San Remo a Godsend," said race organiser Marc Van Cauwenberghe. "The time span between Nokere and Primavera is now four days. Several riders will definitely want to come and prepare themselves for the first Classic of the year with us.

“I expect that the quality of the field will be a little stronger than in recent years.”

The race may not attract riders like 2008 Sanremo winner Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan), who traditionally favours Tirreno-Adriatico as his preparation race. With the Race of the Two Seas finishing on March 12th this year, few riders will want to rush to Belgium for the following day. Those racing in Paris-Nice, however, which finishes two days earlier than Tirreno-Adriatico on March 10th, might well make the journey.

The 1.1-ranked Nokere Koerse finishes at the top of the cobbled, 5% average Nokereberg, which is the main street through the village of Nokere. As a Belgian semi-Classic it generally attracts the strong Classics teams but, with Sanremo just three days later, it rarely attracted the very big names. Last year’s edition was won by Italian sprinter Francesco Chicchi (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) as the fourth of his five victories in the early months of last season.

With the fourth day coming with Sanremo’s move from Saturday to Sunday, Van Cauwenberghe and the rest of the race organisation clearly hopes that some of the spring’s big hitters will be on the start line in nearby Ronse this March.

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