Ailing Ganna and 'debutant' Pidcock hope to astonish in La Primavera: "Actually, Milan-San Remo is simple" Cycling

Ailing Ganna and 'debutant' Pidcock hope to astonish in La Primavera: "Actually, Milan-San Remo is simple"

Ailing Ganna and 'debutant' Pidcock hope to astonish in La Primavera: "Actually, Milan-San Remo is simple"

Filippo Ganna aims to reach the top step of the podium this year in Milan-San Remo. The multiple world time trial champion finished second last year behind Mathieu van der Poel but managed to win the sprint against Wout van Aert.

The 27-year-old Italian prepared for La Primavera in his homeland. Ganna participated in the Tirreno-Adriatico but did not show his best form. In the flat time trial around Lido di Camaiore, where he would usually dominate, he even had to cede the first blue jersey to Juan Ayuso. Also, in previous stage races, the Tour of Algarve and the Tour Down Under, he did not make a significant impact, although his coach says that Ganna's form is improving.

Ganna's form "is definitely on the up", although he has now caught the flu

"His form is definitely on the up, as we didn't start with the best Ganna," Dario Cioni tells the Italian cycling website Bici.Pro. "He had a day where he was affected by the cold, but afterwards, we saw the usual Filippo, who performed a series of excellent tests. He was in the breakaway, was at the front on Saturday, and helped his teammates to take the final climb with the lead group, showing that he is in good shape."

Ganna has already proven to be fast in the sprint, as evidenced by his second place last year against Van Aert and his victory in the Tour of Wallonia against pure sprinters. The INEOS Italian might not necessarily have to attack. "You have to consider who you would attack, but I would say it's much harder for him to climb the Poggio alone than to be in the wheel of the first guy. If he had been able to follow Van der Poel's slipstream last year, things might have been different."

Ganna himself looked ahead to his seventh consecutive participation in Milan-San Remo. "The feeling is the same as every year after the Tirreno-Adriatico: you're tired and rest for a few days, then you need three to four days to get your good legs back. Nevertheless, I'm unfortunately a bit fluish and have a runny nose, but hopefully, I can still ride a good race. Milan-San Remo is the first monument and therefore one of the most important races of the year."

Ganna has no answer to Van der Poel's attack at the top of the Poggio

"Lighter riders have an advantage on the Poggio," said Ganna's trainer

The Poggio, a truly legendary climb is upon us. The climb may not be extremely steep, but after a race of more than 250 kilometers, it is immensely painful for many. Usually just enough to make a difference, although some use the descent for that. "The Poggio is one of the critical points in Milan-San Remo for all riders, unless Tadej Pogacar decides to already attack on the Cipressa this year."

"Moreover, the aerodynamic component is quite important there. That means lighter riders have an advantage at the moment of attack. But once you're launched and in the wheel, you compensate for the difference due to the disadvantage of weight and aerodynamics. You're definitely giving a maximum effort, but then you still have to sprint afterwards, where you won't be pushing the same values as in a sprint after a calm stage. Even in the best conditions, you need a lot of power for about an hour and a half. You start to push it around the Capi, then you need it in the run-up to the Poggio and then three to four minutes on the Poggio plus the sprint."

The legendary Poggio di Sanremo

Pidcock will "race for the first time" at Milan-Sanremo

Ganna will thus have to wait and hope, while his teammate Tom Pidcock will likely choose to attack. The Brit has already shown in the descent of the Poggio that such a scenario wouldn't be too outrageous. "Milan-San Remo is a goal, for both Filippo and Tom," confirms team director Steve Cummings at GCN. "Tom wants to play his cards, in the best possible way. It'll be interesting to see how he tackles the Cipressa and Poggio, both up and down." A clear hint towards the technical descents, where Pidcock has so often made a difference.

"To be honest, I've never really raced in Milan-San Remo. In my first year, I had to learn some things (Pidcock finished 15th in 2021; ed.) and in my second year, I was ill. We have scouted the race now, but actually, Milan-San Remo is simple: whoever is fastest on the Poggio, has a good team, and can descend well, wins. So, I don't think there will be any surprise attacks on the Cipressa. The team knows what it's doing, and I fully trust that my teammates will position me so that I have a chance to win.

Ganna and Pidcock will be supported in Milan-San Remo by Kim Heiduk, Jhonatan Narváez, Ben Swift, Michal Kwiatkowski and Luke Rowe.

Selection INEOS-Grenadiers Milan-Sanremo 2024

Filippo Ganna
Kim Heiduk
Michal Kwiatkowski
Jhonathan Narvaez
Tom Pidcock
Luke Rowe
Ben Swift

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