Milan-San Remo to remain a race for the sprinters says Vegni

Race director has change of heart after return to the Via Roma

Mauro Vegni, the race director of Milan-San Remo, has confirmed to Cyclingnews that the race route for the Italian Classic will remain the same for the foreseeable future, with the no further climbs added or changes made to the route to make a more selective race.

In recent years race organiser RCS Sport has tried to insert the Pompeiana climb near Imperia in the final 40km of the race. However bad weather during the winter sparked landslides and closed the road, forcing the 2014 and 2015 editions to follow the classic route over the Cipressa and Poggio.

Vegni had been keen to make Milan-San Remo a harder race in the hope of attracting Grand Tour riders such as Chris Froome and Alberto Contador. However the proposed changes were not welcomed by most riders and fans around the world, who believe Milan-San Remo should remain a finely balanced race for the sprinters and the Classics contenders.

The return to Via Roma has convinced Vegni to leave the race route as it is, with only the Cipressa and Poggio in the final kilometres before the finish in the centre of San Remo. John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) won this year’s race with a powerful sprint in the Via Roma. It was the first time the iconic finish had been used since 2007.

“We’re definitely going to keep the route as it is,” Vegni told Cyclingnews.

“The idea of adding the Pompeiana climb was a possibility until about three months ago, then the chance of finish in the Via Roma and so taking Milan-San Remo back to the classic finish, made me reflect on things and realise it is probably better to leave the route as it is now. There’s no intention to add the La Manie or the Pompeiana climbs, we’ll stick with the classic route and the finish on the Via Roma.”

Vegni has realised that the Milan-San Remo route makes it a unique race.

“I think that each monument Classic is unique. Look at the Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix. We think that Milan-San Remo is unique because of the way it is so finally balanced. The fact that it’s virtually impossible to guess what will happen and who will win, makes Milan-San Remo unique,” he said.

Saturday or Sunday?

Vegni also revealed that he is considering moving Milan-San Remo back to Saturday.

The race was moved to Sunday in recent years by RCS Sport in an attempt to garner better TV rights income. However Vegni knows that Sunday is a busy day for international sport and thinks moving back to Saturday would help raise the profile of the race.

“If you have Milan-San Remo on Sunday, you clash with a lot of other events,” he said.

“Sunday is the big day for football, especially in Italy. The Formula One GP is also held on Sundays, as is the MotoGP motorbike races. In Italy there’s also a lot of important family entertainment programmes on television. We’ve still got to decide on which is the best day for the race but we want to make Milan-San Remo the Classicissima it once was, with the classic route, the finish on the Via Roma and perhaps even holding it a Saturday. We’ll reflect on it and study things before making a decision.”

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