Milan-San Remo cycling 2021 - Date, who is riding, when is it on TV, can Wout Van Aert win again?
The 2021 Milan-San Remo promises a feast of talent, with defending champion Wout Van Aert the bookies' favourites. The list of potential winners, however, is long and packed with plenty of tantalising prospects. Find out who is riding, and how you can watch this, the first monument of the 2021 cycling season.
Wout Van Aert celebrates his 2020 Milan-Sanremo victory
The monuments begin again for 2021 with Milan-San Remo in its 112th edition.
The longest of the one-day classics in the WorldTour, Milan-San Remo is known for being easy to finish, but difficult to win. Recent editions have tended to be decided with group sprints, sometimes from a reduced selection, with Vincenzo Nibali (Trek Segafredo) providing the most notable exception to that rule when he soloed off the front of the peloton on the Poggio climb and held on to take victory by mere metres in 2018.
‘Listen to the crowd!’ – Nibali stars on home soil
The year’s first monument will take place on Saturday 20 March. It’s a long-old affair at just a shade under 300 kilometres, which means the peloton will start rolling at around 10am local time, 9am UK.
How to watch Milan-San Remo
The race will be shown live on Eurosport and on the Eurosport Player. Download the Eurosport App today.
Only the three biggest names in one-day cycling! Defending champion Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) returns to try and do the double, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) will be looking to rip things apart on the Poggio with a trademark ‘attack over the hill and stay away for victory’ move, and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin - Fenix) has shown already this year that he is perfectly happy to attack from anywhere on the course, even 80km out. All three are going to be involved in this year’s Primavera.
Milan-San Remo highlights - Wout van Aert triumphs in pulsating finish
You might recall Arnaud Démare (Groupama FDJ) winning the race in 2016 in controversial circumstances, after it was alleged he held onto a team car to get him over one of the climbs late-on in the race route. The Frenchman is back to try and retake the San Remo title this year, ideally with a little less hullaballoo about his off-camera antics and a bit more focus on his raw sprinting power.
Sam Bennett, also Deceuninck-QuickStep, is on the startlist alongside Alaphilippe, providing the Belgian squad with an option if the race holds together all the way to the line for a full bunch sprint. Bennett has looked the fastest man in world cycling for over a year now, but the twin blows of the Cipressa and the Poggio might just take the wind from his sails.
Based on his current programme, Peter Sagan will return to the race he placed second at in 2017, as he looks to salvage something of his one-day racing campaign. The three-time world champion saw his season delayed by a coronavirus case (and subsequent 10-day quarantine) while training on Gran Canaria, which ruled him out of Opening Weekend and Strade Bianche. As such, Milan-San Remo represents his first one-dayer of the year.
Finally, his chances are remote, but Philippe Gilbert has set his sights on winning Milan-San Remo to complete his clean sweep of monuments. He has already gained victory in Paris-Roubaix, Flanders, Il Lombardia and Liege, but time is against him if he wishes to add ‘the sprinter’s classic’ to his palmarès.
‘He can’t stop winning!’ – Alaphilippe wins first Monument
What is the route?
Same as it ever was, same as it ever will be. A nice long amble along the Italian Riviera, with a couple of lumps at the end and a flat finish in San Remo. What could be simpler?
If the weather is good it’s a bucket list ride for any cyclists, but if the weather is bad – as it has been several times in recent memory – it can turn the race into an ordeal that is hard to finish, let alone win.
Who will win?
The heart says Gilbert, the head says Alaphilippe.