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“If you wanna watch a classic, or a monument, that’s [for] climbers, watch Amstel Gold. Watch Liège. But you don’t need to turn Milan-San Remo into Liège,” Taylor Phinney told VeloNews.

Photo: Sirotti




20.03.2014 @ 15:55 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

The concerns about this year’s Milano-Sanremo route didn’t stop following the final decision to remove the new Pompeiana climb from the parcours since it turned out on Tuesday that very likely further alterations would be required due to expected heavy rainfalls and possible flooding. Interviewed by VeloNews, Taylor Phinney of BMC strongly opted for the return to La Primavera original course, excited the opportunity to race on exactly the same roads that his father and other respected authorities of the discipline did in the past.


Phinney did not hide that the recent changes to Milano-Sanremo route are working in his favour and underlined with a huge determination his criticism to more general trend followed by race organizers to transform sprinters and time trialists-friendly event into a mountainous affairs preferring riders of very particular characteristics.


The 23-year old American confessed he keeps a special sentiment towards the first of spring’s monuments and was very eager to try his legs on its original route, very likely to be negotiated by the peloton on Sunday given the extremely bad weather forecasts for northern Italy next weekend.


Finishing seventh in last year’s edition of Milano-Sanremo following his relentless chase of the leading group on a tough wintery day and showing off his exceptional power while holding off the furious peloton in the arguably most dramatic stage finish of 2013 Tour the Pologne, Phinney believes he has what it takes to excel on the La Primavera’s original parcours.


“I’m super exited to do the original course. I think it’s gonna be probably the only time in my career that — based on how much they’ve been trying to change it over the past couple years — I think it’ll be the only time in my career that I’ve had the opportunity to do the original parcours,” Phinney told VeloNews.


“I’m really excited about that. That’s special. That’s what my dad raced on. That’s what my team directors have raced on. That’s the Milano-Sanremo that I grew up knowing and loving. So it’s exciting for me.”


“It also plays to one of my strengths, with the climbing that isn’t focused right at the end. We have a super-strong team. It’s definitely quite the motivator this year. And I love Milan-San Remo. I put it second on my list of favorite races, to Paris-Roubaix. There’s something special about it. I was really excited when they announced they couldn’t go on that Pompeiana climb. I thought it was a bit like the cycling gods righting some injustices,” Phinney said.


Terms like justice and injustice seem to be extremely relative when it comes to bike races’ courses, as apparently sprinters, classics specialists and climbers are playing to different gods. However, Phinneys more general observation about the tendency to break up the formula of a big sprint in favour of more diverse and animated parcours creating less predictable scenarios was certainly right. And openly criticized by the 23-year old time trialist.


“If you wanna watch a classic, or a monument, that’s [for] climbers, watch Amstel Gold. Watch Liège. But you don’t need to turn Milan-San Remo into Liège,” Phinney said.


“How far can you go past Pompeiana? Maybe in 10 years we’re  riding to Sestriere and back. I understand from the entertainment side of things,  you put those in the race and they are going to add to the excitement, but a race like Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne this year, the last climb was like 90k from the finish, and you still had like 10 dudes and an exciting race.”


“It’s the riders that make the races. It’s not necessarily the climbs. Especially if you make it too hard; you could even see the opposite of what the organizers would want.”


Phinney’s observation was confirmed by Heinrich Haussler of IAM Cycling questioned by VeloNews about Milano-Sanremo route before la Pompeiana climb has been removed.


“I don’t know, to be honest I don’t know what they’re doing. They’re trying to make every race harder and more spectacular and all this crap. I’m still going to ride San Remo, but…they just want to make it hard,” Haussler said before the route swap.


Sunday is going to be hard no matter what. It’s now just going to be whose definition of hard it is.



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