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Former winner says shorter finale will help attackers
Italy's Alessandro Petacchi rode the proposed finale of the 2010 Milano-Sanremo twice on Saturday and has reported that the revised route could play into the hands of late attackers. The final kilometre cuts straight into the centre of town, avoiding the waterfront used in the last two years and the Via Roma where Petacchi won in 2005.
"It's shorter than the traditional route. My impression is that it will be a complicated finish," Petacchi told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Petacchi was in Sanremo, Italy, on Saturday for an awards ceremony and scouted the finale beforehand. In street clothes, he rode it two times.
The route travels straight passed the Garibadli roundabout instead of a taking a left and then quick right to reach the waterfront or Via Roma. After the roundabout, the finish in Piazza Colombo is another 500 metres further on the Corso Garibaldi.
The Piazza Colombo is 1.8 kilometres after the descent of the final climb, the Poggio. The proposed course will give sprinters about one kilometre less to position themselves and hold off attacks before the finish.
"It favours the attackers, because with only a small advantage you can arrive [for the win]," continued Petacchi. "But if a sprinter climbs well on the Poggio he can take advantage of his rivals. It will be important to be at the front, after the roundabout the race will be stretched into a single line."
Brit Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC) held off the attackers to win the 2009 Milano-Sanremo. Last year, Swiss Fabian Cancellara (CSC) attacked solo with two kilometres remaining and held off the chasing sprinters' teams.
Petacchi won the 2005 edition with a sprint on the traditional finish down Via Roma. Next season, he will be riding for team Lampre and has already asked team manager Giuseppe Saronni to include Lorenzo Bernucci and Danilo Hondo in the eight-man Sanremo team.
The 2010 Milano-Sanremo is scheduled for March 20.
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