Snow and rain make for epic edition of the La Classicissima
2013 saw one of the most dramatic editions of Milan-San Remo in the history of the race, with the riders competing in the snow and rain and suffering all the way from Lombardy to the finish on the San Remo sea front.
Race organisers eventually neutralised the race and cut out the snow covered Passo Turchino, reducing the race distance to less than 200km. However the riders still faced more than five and a half hours in terrible conditions.
Incredibly half of the field managed to make it to the finish, with Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka) out sprinting Peter Sagan and Fabian Cancellara after a group of six riders got away over the top of the Poggio climb.
In this special image gallery, photographers Tim de Waele and Luca and Roberto Bettini –who were on motorbikes in the terrible conditions - share some of their best images from the terrible day.
The pain on Manuel Belletti's face tells the story of the suffering in the snow before the Turchino. He lost feeling in his toes and recently told Italian television that he still has some problems. Many of the riders suffered in the cold and snow but had warm showers and pulled on clean clothes to ride the second half of the race. Ian Stannard (Team Sky) and Philippe Gilbert (BMC) went on the attack on the Cipressa and before the Poggio but once again the final climb caused the damage when Cancellara tried to go clear alone.
Sagan and Ciolek were able to follow him. Sagan made the mistake of leading out the sprint and Ciolek punished his over-confidence by snatching victory.
Rain and cold have been forecast for Sunday but fortunately conditions are not expected to see a repeat of the terribly dramatic scenes of the 2013 race.