2008 Milan-Sanremo

Mar 24 2008

In response to Velonews’ pre-race question “sprint or break”, the answer is “no”. Drawing obvious comparisons to last year’s staggering TdF stage win at Compeigne, Fabian Cancellara once again turned savvy, raw power and a confusing race situation into a glorious breakaway win.

While TT riders can be notoriously poor performers in tense, tactical race situations (see Zulle, Alex), Fabian Cancellara has shown he can outfox classics riders on the cobbles and sprinters on the tarmac, making him one of the most versatile riders in the peloton. He can’t really be discounted from any races less hilly than Lombardia. Let’s not forget, Cance challenged Boonen all the way to the line in a 4-up sprint at last year’s E3.

And to those who may wonder why no one was marking the obviously dangerous CSC rider in the closing kilometers of Saturday’s event, after 300km and the sharp climbs/hair raising descents of the Cipressa and Poggio, there’s simply no way to combat the San Remo entropy. As when Petacchi went from too far out, or Zabel celebrated too early, the Via Roma has a way of keeping things unpredictable.

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5 Responses to “2008 Milan-Sanremo”

  1. sebastian 25 March 2008 at 2:06 pm #

    the way this guy keeps expanding his range is amazing. that tour stage last year was astounding: the pack, the break, everyone was playing chicken with everyone else, except cancellara, who looked straight ahead and plowed right through them all. now he’s won every important race this month, with the exception of paris-nice. do you think he could win at flanders?

  2. sebastian 25 March 2008 at 2:12 pm #

    he’s now being compared to moser, and that seems apt. perhaps he could bring some street cred back to the hour record? and perhaps, with the help of a dubious mountain-stage cancellation and some pushes from a tv helicopter he could win a giro. (talk to one laurent fignon if you want further details.)

  3. cosmo 25 March 2008 at 2:46 pm #

    Ha…can’t forget the critical helicopter headwind given to his closest competitor, can we? Of course, Fignon’s ponytail likely amplified the effect…

    I honestly don’t see how you can count him out of any race until June, and even then only because he can’t keep up this form forever. I guess Liege might be a bit climby for Cancellara, but a larger group (like 2006) on that 300m flat finishing stretch could play right into his hands.

    Anyone who counts him out of Flanders is a fool, but I think he’ll have to win with a clear gap like he did at Roubaix two years back. The course is too hilly, twisty and bumpy to supply the sort of late-race fidgeting that lets Cancellara steamroll away from everyone else.

  4. sebastian 25 March 2008 at 3:04 pm #

    fignon didn’t have a ponytail in 1984! (he had a hulk hogan blonde fringe, which i guess isn’t very streamlined; but then neither was moser’s rocky balboa ‘fro.)

    climby is a good word. and you’re right that cancellara still effectively time-trials to all his road-race wins. he needs a long flat stretch that’s too early to sprint on and that therefore will give the others a second’s pause before responding.

  5. davide 25 March 2008 at 8:03 pm #

    Good wrap up Cosmo. Agreed, i think Liege is a bit too climby for ‘Canch’.

    Re Flanders; he’ll be sprinting up against Leif Hoste anyway so he’ll be sure to win.

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