This year’s Milan-San Remo will again start outside of central Milan and will become Pavia to San Remo after race organiser RCS Sport opted to begin La Classicissima some 45 kilometres south of the city.
The first monument Classic of the 2024 season will still officially be known as Milan-San Remo for its 115th edition, just as Paris-Roubaix retains its original name despite starting from Compiègne and not the French capital. However, the start will lack some of this history and lustre with a move from Milan.
The race route includes the Passo del Turchino climb, the coastal Capi climbs, the Cipressa and the Poggio before the finish in the Via Roma in San Remo, making it a finely-balanced race that can suit attackers like 2023 winner Mathieu van der Poel and the sprinters.
The start in Pavia means the total race distance has been reduced slightly from 294km to 288km.
Milan-San Remo has traditionally started in central Milan, often in the shadow of the stunning Duomo, and then outside the Milan castle. However, when RCS Sport struck a deal for the Giro d’Italia to end in Rome, relations with the Milan authorities broke down, with difficulty in securing race permits and traffic police for the ride out of central Milan.
In 2023 RCS Sport moved the start of Milan-San Remo to the suburbs and Abbiategrasso. This year the start is even further south in the city of Pavia.
To ensure the race distance remains close to 300km, the new route will include a ride east towards Piacenza and then along the Ticino river, before turning south and joining the usual race route near Tortona, then heading to Ovada and the gradual climb of the Passo del Turchino.
There are again no extra climbs along the shoreline road from Genoa, with the second half of the race sticking to the Mediterranean coast.
The coastal Capi climbs (Capo Mele, Capo Cervo and Capo Berta) begin after 236km of racing. They are followed by the 5.6km Cipressa into the olive groves, that often sparks early attacks and high-speed chases on the descent and along the coast.
The iconic Poggio climb, that overlooks San Remo and so often inspires the late attacks to decide the race, starts with just 9.3km to race. The descent to the finish dives through the greenhouses full of San Remo flowers, before the final 2.3km on flat roads and the slightly rising finish in the Via Roma.
In 2023 Van der Poel, Wout van Aert, Tadej Pogačar and…