Spring promises

Alaphilippe, Van Aert and Van der Poel aspire today to conquer the first monument of 2021, San Remo. Cortina and Aranburu, Spanish assets.


The Tirreno-Adriatico usually measures well the moment of form of the cyclists who aspire to win the Milan-San Remo. And if this were a video game, the performance indicators for Wout van Aert, Julian Alaphilippe and Mathieu van der Poel would be red-hot rising arrows. The three (together with Tadej Pogacar, absent due to rest until the Basque Country) are the runners with the best performance in 2021. The Belgian scored two stages and finished second in the race of the two seas; the French took a partial; and the Dutch, two others. At the Strade, Van der Poel beat both with authority (second Alaphilippe and fourth Van Aert). But nothing guarantees that in La Classicissima, after 299 km and linking Cipressa and Poggio, he will command the strongest. Almost always the best and the cleverest prevail after a hard day of work that is around seven hours.

Peter Sagan knows well that it is not worth just the pedal stroke. The Slovakian has finished second twice and fourth four times when he was among the top favorites. In 2021 he will return for a career that he longs for, but that is elusive. Less in a massive sprint against the specialists, both Sagan and Van der Poel, Van Aert (the defending champion) and Alaphilippe (winner in 2019) have more options in their favor: break in the Cipressa, by far, or the Poggio , up close, figure underlined in his plans. Also in those of Kwiatkowski (the winner in 2017), Nibali (winner in 2018) or Gilbert, who yearns to complete the collection of five monuments with the only piece missing from his record.Meanwhile, sprinters such as Démare (2016 champion), Kristoff (2014), Matthews, Nizzolo, Bouhanni, Viviani, Ackermann or Ewan will be entrusted to control their teams so that the path to the Via Roma in San Remo is cleared. As for the Spanish, García Cortina will lead Movistar and Alex Aranburu, Astana. Anyone will have to sweat the victory, but for Van der Poel there is also a sentimental component: raising his arms in the same goal 60 years after his grandfather, Raymond Poulidor, achieved it. "I want to win. It doesn't matter how much rivalry I have with Van Aert since cyclocross. The battle will take place against all the most prominent classics, not just him." Spring promises.

Photos from as.com
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