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"A few times I have thought about attacking there, but I have never managed to do so. In recent years, it has been difficult to really get away. You have to be very strong."

Photo: ANSA / DAL ZENNARO - PERI

GREG VAN AVERMAET

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS

MILANO - SANREMO

RACE PROFILE
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NEWS

PHILIPPE GILBERT

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS
21.03.2015 @ 15:00 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Greg Van Avermaet and Philippe Gilbert will lead BMC at Milan-Sanremo. Yesterday the BMC duo talked about their form, their tactics and the finish on Via Roma. The conclusion: "Everything can be decided in a split second."

 

"I think my shape for Milan-Sanremo has never been better," Greg Van Avermaet told Sporza. "I have had a very good preparation and I'm very pleased. My stage victory in Tirreno-Adriatico done me well. That was important."

 

Van Avermaet describes Milan-Sanremo as a "hard race". "I have been at the start with good legs and confidence a few times but so much can go wrong. Only one rider can win and everything can be decided in a split second."

 

"The strongest rider does not always win here", Van Avermaet said. "Many factors play a role, like the wind. The condition is good, but the race must go well if I want to win."

 

Will we see an attack from Van Avermaet on the Poggio? "A few times I have thought about attacking there, but I have never managed to do so. In recent years, it has been difficult to really get away. You have to be very strong."

 

"It is very important to start in a good position for the descent. Whether I dare to go to the finish with Peter Sagan? I think so. After all, I've beaten him in Tirreno," Van Avermaet added. "After 300 kilometers I must rely on my own strength and courage to gamble on a sprint. My top favorite? Gerald Ciolek."

 

 

Philippe Gilbert is the other Belgian hope in Sanremo. "My condition is not bad," he told at Sporza. "Paris-Nice was beautiful. I worked well. Not everyone has noticed me but that might be ideal."

 

 

Will he attack on the Poggio? "At the moment, I can't answer that question. You may plan to do so but in the race it's something else. You have to see, depending on the wind direction and the situation."

 

Is the race hard enough for Gilbert? "I find this course good. In cycling, it is a trend to choose the steepest ascent or the longest pve. But an easy course can also be a difficult race, especially if you ride fast."

 

And what about a sprint tomorrow? "I can go with many riders to the finish. But if I am empty, I can be beaten by a rider who is usually not as fast as me. But the reverse can also happen."

 

Gilbert does not want to point to a single favourite. "I think Sagan, Cavendish, Cancellara, Stybar and Kwiatkowski. These are the first names that come to mind. Van Avermaet? The list is very long. I can give you 20 names."

 

 

And then there's one key element: for the first time since 2007, the finish is back on the Via Roma. 

 

"I've never ridden it," said Van Avermaet. "I did my first Sanremo in 2008. For me, this finish is better, because it is one kilometre closer to the top of the Poggio. It is better for the attackers and the sprinters may recover less. What I think about the history? I have watched the Via Roma on TV. Milan-Sanremo was the first race of the season for which I stayed home."

 

Philippe Gilbert is also excited about Via Roma. "It's a historic finale as in the period of Eddy Merckx. For a rider, it's special to ride on the same roads as your idols. Whether that finish is an advantage for me? I've never won, apparently it is not perfect. But I think I have more chances."

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