... to what makes this great race so great, was my original title for this story, written on the eve of my first trip to San Remo to view La Primavera live. Like viewing any of pro cycling's Monuments, this was a spiritual journey, and this report was my humble attempt to put that into pictures and words.
Our Italian roadside expert Alessandro has seen many Milan Sanremos but nothing could prepare him for the wild weather of the 2013 Primavera. Snow, ice and logistic changes en route - here's Ale's view from a very cold roadside at La Primavera.
Riding pro cycling’s roads of glory is something special, and can only be truly appreciated upon reflection of having turned your own pedals over the same tracks as our sports’ greatest heros. And as Nick O’Brien recounts a day on the slopes of the Poggio, it’s even sweeter when battling your own worthy adversary…
Preview: The Milan-San Remo podium contenders split their preparation into two camps, those participating in Paris-Nice and those opting for Tirreno-Adriatico. PEZ examines these two races to determine which one is the best indicator for success in the sprinters’ classic.
In 1946, in his first major race after spending most of World War 2 in a British prison camp, Fausto Coppi set out to win Milano-Sanremo. To do so, he took – for the time – three unconventional steps.
Best of PEZ: If you ever get the chance to chase one of the spring's Monuments - whether it be Italy's Milano-Sanremo, Flanders's Ronde van Vlaanderen, France’s, scratch that, Flanders's Paris-Roubaix, or Wallonia's Liege-Bastogne-Liege - do yourself a favor: find a person who lives for that race, a person that looks forward to the next edition of the race the minute it ends each year. The opportunity to be taken behind the scenes and shown the race from the eyes of a local will change how you look at that race forever.
When the television tells the name of the winner the silence comes into the Poggio. The tifosi are very upset. Another year without an Italian winner. And most of the people are asking who this Goss is. They cannot believe that such a great race was won by such a 'small' name. The Poggio turns to the quietness in a moment, and I feel so strange now that everything is finished. The first thought is how far this passion has led me from home. The second one is the time I will need to get back. But how did I arrive here?
This Saturday I have a meeting, a sort of rendez-vous coming back every year. It’s not just to chase a race, but something else. It’s a sort of life chasing through years, and people and facts and ghosts. With each year passing, the chase becomes more difficult. This Saturday it’s the Primavera day.
We know it's all over and we have another year to wait for the next Milano - San Remo, but when we got the chance to ask the 22 year-old neo pro who missed the Primavera podium by millimetres a few questions, we couldn't say; 'no.'
Roadside Sanremo: The last couple of days have been action-packed (no surprise there), and now that the things have returned to normal here in Sanremo, there’s time for a little reflection on an amazing day and my first viewing of La Primavera.
We just can't help it. La Primavera is such a magnificent race - she deserves some loving in the run-in to the big day. Here's one final look at the course.
We last saw our hero Nick on the lower slopes of the Poggio as he rode the final capi of Milan-San Remo. But as Nick blubbers and gasps his way over the climb, a worthy adversary awaits to pounce, and the plunge to San Remo becomes a duel to the death! (of egos at least...) Fasten your seatbelts and read on...
This is a tale of two differing fortunes - one of victory, one of second place. It's often like that in bike racing, but it's rarely so vivid in its harshness. Haussler made the perfect move in the final moments of the 2009 edition of Milano-Sanremo. He left nothing to chance, put in the perfect sprint, and he had it. He had it all the way until he reached the line, where Mark Cavendish gobbled up the win, spat out Haussler's remains, and continued on to one of the most successful sprinting seasons we've ever seen.
The Riviera: the mimosas smell at this time. A small boat lays on the beach just in front of the blue Ligurian sea. The fishermen just arrived and are now preparing their fish for the market. The climb if La Mani at Noli, was added in 2008 to shake up the race before the 'tre capi'... but has it made a difference? PEZ takes a closer look...
PEZ's Nick O’Brien was live and in-color at the 96th la Primavera in 2005. Now over 100 years old, the race has changed with modern times, but as Nick discovered while riding the final “capi” that make it famous, the corsa is as tough and exciting as ever. Here's a worthy look back as we prep for this weekend's Primavera...
The duck with plums and apples was probably one of the reasons I didn’t sleep on Friday night. But not the only one. Hours and hours moving from one side to the other in a hot, dry room of a hotel in the south part of Milano waiting for the first light of the day. It’s not a day like any other. It’s something I've waited on since the moment the last Sanremo finished...
Matt has chosen the site of the biggest street market in Milano for his hotel. Martin weaves the Fiat through the stall holders and there's our boy; it's 07.05, we're not too late. Bar Castello, cappuccino, pastries and Stefano Barzaghi of Barza Design, the man who does the trick paint jobs for the pros.
“When was your last participation in Milan – San Remo, and what are your memories of the race?” He turns to one of his entourage; “Was it 2002, yeah 2002, but I don’t remember anything about it, I’m not young anymore, I forget things!” Earlier today Lance Armstrong met the press ahead of his return to Euro-racing at tomorrow's Primavera. PEZ was front row...
No Sanremo coverage would be complete without a cockpit-view of riding the Capi, and especially the final charge off the Poggio to the finish. Nick O'Brien lived the dream in 2005, and we proudly submit for your Friday enjoyment, and replay of his thrilling ride.
Milano-Sanremo enjoys a hard-earned spot on the list of lists: the Monuments. It is one of the most beautiful of the Classics, and it just happens to be six or so hours down the Autostrada from me - so it had to be done. I took on the final section along the coast to Sanremo...and it was just as I had imagined.