Varese welcomes La Classicissima
By Gregorivich 'Tinkoff' Marronevic
The Milano-Sanremo will be lengthened for 2008 to celebrate the race's 99th edition and the running of the 2008 World Championships. Instead of its usual starting city, Milan, the race will start in Varese, home of the 2008 Worlds and many professional cyclists.
The distance is expected to be no less than 360 kilometres, 60 kilometres longer than the current distance (294km in 2007), and it will require use of a major tollway.
"We expect if the riders start at 8.30 [on a Saturday] they should not encounter much traffic," said a source.
As there are problems in completely closing a major Italian tollway, the riders will have a dedicated lane and will not be forced to stop and pay tolls; this will be left to the second team car to handle.
The ongoing row between the Grand Tour organizers and the ProTour may be heightened by the new route proposal, which is well beyond the distance allowed for a one-day race in modern cycling. UCI President "Pat McQuaid feels that RCS and [its events director Angelo] Zomegnan are currently not following the agreed upon rules," a UCI source told Cyclingnews Saturday morning. "He noted that RCS and ASO 'do what they want anyway.'"
"We are open to other cities hosting the race start as long as it continues through Milan," continued our source. "We hope to further expand the race to 400 kilometres by 2009 to celebrate the 100th edition. We have already received letters of intent from Verona and Trieste."