Milan-San Remo: Clarke to lead Cannondale

Van Baarle and Slagter add depth for Italian Classic

Cyclingnews will have live coverage of Milan-San Remo from 8am GMT on Saturday, March 19.

Cannondale Pro Cycling will go into Saturday's Milan-San Remo with a small group of riders the team hopes can pull off something special to overcome the favourites.

Simon Clarke, who posted the team's most recent win at the GP Industria & Artigianato, will benefit from protected status during the nearly 300km race, along with several other teammates who could figure in the finale.

"We do not have a dedicated leader for Milan San-Remo but many good options for different scenarios," said head sport director Charly Wegelius. "Tom-Jelte Slagter and Dylan van Baarle have both been in great form of late while, Ramunas Navardauskas is also very well suited to the race."

Clarke, a 29-year-old Australian in his first year with Cannondale after four years at Orica-Greenedge, cut his teeth as a neo-pro racing in Italy, is highly motivated and in good form, according to his team.

"I feel like I've got a fresh start and a new opportunity," Clarke said. "I'm just trying to make the most of it."

Slagter brought home one of the team's three wins this year during the opening stage at Tour du Haut Var in February.  

Cannondale's previous Classics win came from Dan Martin in 2013 at Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Martin is riding with Etixx-QuickStep this year, but the course the finish is not necessarily one that would suit the Irishman.

Although Milan-San Remo often favours the sprinters, the tricky final kilometres and the length of the route at 300km usually mean the finish is anything but straightforward. Savvy and luck and legs have to line up at the perfect moment after nearly seven hours on the bike.

"I think the most difficult part is that it's almost 300km," Van Baarle said. "Not so many guys can manage the distance. We've got a few good riders like Ramunas, Matti, Langeveld, Slagter. The race itself, if you split it into sections, is not the hardest race. Because of the distance it's super hard."

Cyclingnews will have live coverage of the 291km race, which starts in Milan's Piazza del Duomo and finishes on the Via Roma, along with a full race report, results, photos and news.

Cannondale Pro Cycling Team for 2016 Milan-San Remo: Matti Breschel, Simon Clarke, Kristijan Koren, Sebastian Langeveld, Moreno Moser, Ramunas Navardauskas, Tom-Jelte Slagter, Dylan van Baarle

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