Belgians take classics rivalry to the Italians in Sanremo
  December 22, 2014 Login  

Current Articles    |   Archives    |   RSS Feeds    |   Search

Monday, March 15, 2010

Belgians take classics rivalry to the Italians in Sanremo

by Ben Atkins at 1:05 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Milan-Sanremo
 

philippe gilbertQuick Step and OmegaPharma-Lotto are traditional rivals in the cobbled classics of the north. The hard men from each team pit themselves against one another for supremacy over their native cobbles, but this weekend will see Belgium's biggest teams do battle on the Italian Riviera in the Milano-Sanremo. As well as each other, they will also have to deal with the Italian locals, less than willing to watch as foreigners take one of their biggest prizes.

If the race goes the way of the Belgians though, we could be treated to this season’s first real battle between the two great off the bike friends, Philippe Gilbert (OmegaPharma) and Tom Boonen (Quick Step).

Both teams will hope to carry the first Belgian to victory in la Primavera since Andre Tchmil’s last kilometre attack in 1999. Before the naturalised former Russian’s victory, the previous Belgian born winner was Fons De Wolf way back in 1981. Where they usually try to outdo one another with much the same tactics, this weekend they will be working to make the race go in entirely opposite directions.

Gilbert has named Milano-Sanremo as the race he most wants to win. The 27-year-old, who won the incredible Italian triple of Coppa Sabatini, Giro del Piemonte and Giro di Lombardia, with his second successive Paris-Tours in the middle of an nine day purple patch, has been one of the main aggressors on the race’s final obstacles in the past. His 2008 attack on the Poggio in the company of Riccardo Riccò almost made it. He managed to take the sprint for third behind Fabian Cancellara, which is his best result in the race so far. Assuming he has the form, he will almost certainly try the same tactic again.

Quick Step, on the other hand, will be playing its usual spring card of Tom Boonen. The Belgian champion won his first ever Italian race with stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico last week, and will be hoping that the tough race of the two seas will give him the form he needs to get over final hills of Sanremo in good shape for the sprint.

tom boonenIf Boonen gets his wish and the bunch arrives at the finish together, he’ll likely come up against OmegaPharma’s other captain, Greg Van Avermaet.

The Belgians will by no means have things all their own way though; the peloton will be bristling with Italians, to whom a win in la Classicissima is right at the top of the wish list.

2005 winner Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) may not be on the top of his form after bruising his shin in a training crash last week, but before this, he was the sprinter to beat in Italy and will want to carry on that trend.

Liquigas’ Daniele Bennati proved that he is on good form by beating Petacchi in stage three of Tirreno-Adriatico. Whilst not a pure sprinter, Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) will be bidding to go one better than his second place of 2008 and repeat his 2006 victory; a result that the Italian champion has had trouble living up to.

Of course, the Belgians and Italians first have to beat last year’s winner Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia); last year’s ‘fastest man in the World’ is struggling through Tirreno-Adriatico but hoping to race himself into shape.

Quick Step team to Milano-Sanremo
Carlos Barredo (Spa), Tom Boonen (Bel), Sylvain Chavanel (Fra), Dries Devenyns (Bel), Jerome Pineau (Fra), Matteo Tosatto (Ita), Marco Velo (Ita), Maarten Wynants (Bel).

OmegaPharma-Lotto team to Milano-Sanremo
Mickael Delage (Fra), Michiel Elijzen (Ned), Philippe Gilbert (Bel), Olivier Kaisen (Bel), Sebastien Lang (Ger), Jurgen Roelandts (Bel), Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) and Greg Van Avermaet (Bel).

      comments




Subscribe via RSS or daily email

WHAT'S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW
  Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy  Copyright 2008-2013 by VeloNation LLC