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The Milan-San Remo peloton stretched out as it rolls through towns along the Ligurian Sea coastline
Vegni expects six hours of racing in the rain
A year on from the rain and snow of the 2013 edition of Milan-San Remo, the riders in this year's La Classicissima also face a long day in the rain with forecasts predicting only a slight chance dry roads for the final part of the 294km race.
Light rain and temperatures of nine degrees Celsius are forecast for the start in Milan, with a risk of thunderstorms at Genoa mid-way through the race. The thunderstorms should mark the tail end of the rain, with the sun expected to emerge for the final hour or racing.
The wind is always a factor in Milan-San Remo and forecasts suggest that the riders will face a headwind on the coast and on the final climb. This will make it hard for any breakaway attempts to stay away and so favour the sprinters.
The head of cycling at race organiser RCS Sport Mauro Vegni was hoping that this year's race would be held in dry, sunny conditions after battling through the rain and snow in 2013. He predicted the rain will mean the riders race on wet roads for six of the expected seven hours of racing.
"We were hoping that after all that we faced last year, with the rain and snow, we'd be paid back with some sun. Unfortunately that won't be the case," he told Cyclingnews.
"The forecast is for rain right from the start, with a good chance of things clearing up from four o'clock onwards. That means it could be dry for the finish but of the seven hours of racing, we're expecting six of hours or racing will be in the rain."
Vegni predicted that the rain will mean a more controlled race early on but with a traditional crescendo finale, attacks on the Capi climbs and then a thrilling finish.
"I think the rain will affect the race. I'm sure there will be an early break but I bet the leading teams won't let the move gain a lot of time. They will ride to ensure a more controlled race because there isn't the Manie this year and the riders will be concerned about the risk of crashes in the rain.
The final climbs will decide things, with perhaps the final three kilometres (after the descent of the Poggio) deciding if the race is decided by a big sprint or between a small group that gets away on the Poggio."
"I don’t want to predict a winner but I'm sure it'll be a thrilling race."