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“For us the best is to avoid any sprint since we don’t have our fastest guy here with Giacomo [Nizzolo] absent after a collarbone fracture in February. We will try to find a solution to avoid a massive sprint," Guercilena says

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BOB JUNGELS

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EUGENIO ALAFACI

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FABIAN CANCELLARA

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FABIO FELLINE

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GREGORY RAST

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HAYDEN ROULSTON

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LAURENT DIDIER

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MILANO - SANREMO

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TREK - SEGAFREDO

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YAROSLAV POPOVYCH

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20.03.2014 @ 16:15 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After finishing on the podium twice in row, Fabian Cancellara will be back in Milan-Sanremo to chase more success. The Swiss spearheads a Trek roster that combine a mixture of youth and experience.

 

The 105th edition of Milano-Sanremo takes place this Sunday, March 23rd, and after all the back and forth banter whether adding the Pompeiana climb was good or bad, or when the rains wreaked havoc, whether it was in or out, the race has officially returned to an easier, pre-2008 version.

 

When the ascent of Pompeiana was added last fall, inserted smack dab between Cipressa and Poggio, it changed the game completely: the groans were loud from the sprinters, while the climbers silently rubbed their hands in anticipation. However, the rains poured down this winter and reshaped everything, causing mudslides that made the road on the backside of Pompeiana unsafe. With little choice race officials yanked the five-kilometer long Pompeiana three weeks ago, and Le Mànie (4.7kms and 6.7%) was not added back, also softening the course for the non-climbers.

 

Ironically, the race is now easier than the past five editions with more chance for a bunch sprint, something the race officials tried their best to avoid by making a more challenging parcours with Pompeiana, hoping to eliminate a sprint ending altogether.

 

In 2012, Fabian Cancellara, Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEdge) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) succeeded in escaping the decimated pack on the Poggio, and Cancellara - forced to lead the final kilometers to hold off a hard chasing group - finished second to the Australian. Last year the weather played the biggest obstacle as snow fell on a frozen peloton resulting in an epic, unforgettable race. Six riders raced into the final homestretch, including Cancellara, who sprinted to third behind victor Gerald Ciolek (Team MTN) and Peter Sagan (Cannondale).

 

This year Fabian Cancellara is gunning for the podium again, and with the good form he gained racing the trio of Middle-East races and the week-long Tirreno-Adriatico, plus a great result on the white gravel roads of the semi-Classic Strade-Bianche (he finished 6th), he is primed for la Classicissima.

 

Besides Cancellara, Trek Factory Racing brings Eugenio Alafaci, Laurent Didier, Fabio Felline, Bob Jungels and classic men ‘hors catégorie’ Yaroslav Popovych, Grégory Rast and Hayden Roulston to the start in Milan.

 

“It’s always good to include young guys to begin to teach them what it means to ride a big Classic, and on top of this the young guys are always super motivated for a race like this," Trek manager Luca Guercilena says. "So in case we need early work, or to make any action, they are normally the best because they are so motivated and have fresh energy. It is a long race and we won’t mind if they don’t make the end, but we hope that after they do their job that they are still going on, to try and finish.

 

“For us the best is to avoid any sprint since we don’t have our fastest guy here with Giacomo [Nizzolo] absent after a collarbone fracture in February. We will try to find a solution to avoid a massive sprint.

 

“Fabio Felline raced well at Paris-Nice, he is still improving and for sure he is motivated to be good here. The parcours suits him, and of course we would like to see him in the final, but realistically he is still young, and it will be the positioning that will be difficult for him. We have a lot of confidence that he can make a really good race.

 

“For us a more selective parcours is better, so the Pompeiana would have favored us more. We respect that the organizers were forced to change and we will try and adapt to the new parcours and make the best we can with that.

 

“The forecast is for light rain in Milan and then going to the sea will be a bit more wind, but with less rain; just cloudy. We hope it’s like this. For sure in a race of almost 300 kilometers rain will affect the power of the riders, so we watch carefully the forecast everyday, and make the strategy accordingly.”

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