Milano-Torino is not just a warm-up for Il Lombardia, it's one of the last chances for glory of the season, and with the dual ascents of the climb to the Basilica of Superga in the finale, it's one of the few one-day races that favours the pure climbers.
At 186km, the late-season race is a merciful distance, especially considering the largely flat run from San Guiliano Milanese to Torino.
Once the riders get inside the final 25km, however, the road tilts sharply uphill for the 4.3km climb of Superga.
It's a vicious shake-out, kicking up to 14 per cent gradients and averaging over 9.1 per cent, followed by a tricky, technical descent that leads the peloton back around to the base of the climb again.
This time, the riders go all the way to the summit, an extra 600 metres that still averages 8.7 per cent. It's no surprise that the race has been won by punchy climbers like last year's winner Miguel Ángel López (Astana), Alberto Contador in 2012, Diego Ulissi in 2013, Giampaolo Caruso in 2014 and Diego Rosa in 2015.
Lopez has called an end to his season, heading back to Colombia instead of defending his title, but Fabio Aru will take his place carrying the number 1 dossard.
The in-form winner of Tre Valli Varesine, Alexandre Geniez (AG2R La Mondiale), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), last year's third place finisher Rigoberto Urán (Cannondale-Drapac), Jack Haig (Orica-Scott), Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) and Mikel Landa (Sky) have all shown prowess in these kinds of finishes, and will be riders to watch on Thursday.
2016 Milano-Torino Brief Results
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team||4:13:36|
|2||Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac||0:00:09|
|3||Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac||0:00:14|
|4||Daniel Moreno (Spa) Movistar Team||0:00:19|
|5||Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - Merida||0:00:21|
|6||Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team||0:00:23|
|7||Pello Bilbao (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA||0:00:27|
|8||Rodolfo Andres Torres (Col) Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec||0:00:32|
|9||Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||0:00:36|
|10||Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin||0:00:40|