Julian Alaphilippe and Wout van Aert on the attack on the Poggio at the 2021 Milan-San Remo (Image credit: Sprint Cycling Agency)
A recent survey conducted by L’Équipe suggested that Milan-San Remo was the least popular Monument among professional riders. The question was posed in the context of the debate over Strade Bianche ‘s place in the hierarchy of one-day races, but the relative ambivalence towards Milan-San Remo was a striking outcome of the straw poll.
It’s true that if professional cycling were starting from scratch today, nobody would think to make an interminably long and largely flat race from Milan to the Riviera one of the cornerstones of the calendar, but therein lies a large part of its mystique.
There are no cobbles. There is no gravel. There are no gimmicks. There is nothing else quite like it. Milan-San Remo is cycling’s best anachronism.
Despite growing up in San Remo, Italo Calvino never showed much interest in cycling. He never joined the queue of Italian novelists who frequented the press room of the Giro d’Italia in the middle of the last century, tackling Coppi and Bartali as a subject in the same way that American writers would take on DiMaggio or Ali.
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Even so, elements of […]