Milan San-Remo 2016 preview: Who will grab victory in La Primavera?

The 107th edition of the Milan San-Remo takes place this Saturday, with a number of potential winners lining up

Milan San-Remo 2016 preview: Who will grab victory in La Primavera?
The scenic Milan-San Remo takes place this weekend (image via:

The 107th edition of the Milan-San Remo classic one-day race is coming up this Saturday, and is the first of this season's five 'monument classics'.  

'La Primavera' as it is otherwise known, is a one-day race, roughly 300km in length, and is amongst the most prestigious on the UCI calendar. The race has seen some memorable victories over the years, and it is set up to repeat the trick in 2016.

The route has favoured the sprinters over the past couple of years, with John Degenkolb of Giant-Alpecin claiming victory on the via Roma last year, and fellow sprinter Alexander Kristoff of Katusha in 2014.  

Degenkolb unable to defend title

2015's victor, John Degenkolb of Germany, will be unable to win the race in back-to-back years. The injuries Degenkolb suffered earlier this season has put paid to any opportunity of him joining the peloton on Saturday.

John Degenkolb celebrates winning the 2015 Milan-SanRemo (image via:

With Degenkolb out of the picture, the favourite to win a bunch sprint is 2014 winner Kristoff, who is now one of the bigger names in the sport following a couple of highly successful seasons.

If the race does end with a sprint as expected, then the likes of Nacer Bouhanni of Cofidis and Michael Matthews of Orica-GreenEdge should also be in contention. 

In another blow for Degenkolb's Giant-Alpecin team, Dutchman, Tom Dumoulin will miss the race through ilness, with the 25-year-old admitting that it was disappointing to be missing one of the biggest classics of the season. 

Nibali and Sagan could lead potential attacks

For the riders that don't wish for the race to favour the sprinters, they will no doubt put in attacks, hoping to form a breakway. Peaking around 5.5km from the race end, the climb up the Poggio gives potential for the sprinters to fall out of the peloton, owing to how close it is to the finish. 

Home favourite Vincenzo Nibali usually looks for an opportunity to attack, as may Switzerland's Fabian  Cancellara, who has enjoyed strong finishes here before. 

Tinkoff's Peter Sagan has enjoyed some excellent form this season, with a lot of podium finishes, showing signs that he can finally win into San Remo. His best finish in the race came in 2013, when he was edged into second place by Gerald Ciolek on a day of bad weather. Sagan commented that "It’s the longest and easiest classic. But very difficult to win."

When it comes to form though, it would be foolish to rule out Greg Van Avermaet of BMC. His sprinting has improved, which could make him a dangerous rider coming into the 'sprinters classic'. 

There is also the odd chance that another former winner may fancy himself to steal the win, in the form of 2009 champion Mark Cavendish. That famous victory seven years ago was potentially the most memorable of his illustrious career, and it would be quite a story if the Manx Missile was able to launch himself to the front of the pack this time around having only recently returned to the road after a stint inside the Velodrome