'Maniac' enters Milano-Sanremo

It is now official that there will be one additional climb in this year's Milano-Sanremo, le Mànie (mania). As Cyclingnews already reported Tuesday, the change was made necessary by a landslide and a temporary road closure, near Noli. The climb is about 100km from the finish, preceding the hilly finale with all the Capi, the leg breaker of the Cipressa and the final decision maker of the Poggio. This change will make the race four kilometres longer. Already being the longest classic with 294 kilometres, it may hardly matter that the racers will now have to tackle 298 kilometres.

In addition, the final sprint of the 99th edition is no longer in the Via Roma. Instead, it will be at the Lungomare Italo Calvino, near the Piazzale Dapporto. This is bad news for any breakaway hopefuls, as it adds one kilometre from the end of the Poggio descent to the finish line.

Not everybody thinks it's a bad idea. Italian sprint star Alessandro Petacchi told La Gazzetta dello Sport that "the new finish is certainly different and has some pros and cons, compared to the old finish. The pro is that there is an additional kilometre after the descent, to catch potential breakaways; the disadvantage is that the finish is flat and subsequently easier than the one at the Via Roma, where the street went uphill and surely the strongest wins."

Petacchi couldn't find much pros about the climb, le Mànie, which is used in Milano-Sanremo for the first time. "I rode the last 100 kilometres of Milano-Sanremo. Especially, I wanted to see the climb that they added and the new finish."

Some of the other Italians who hope to do well include Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval-Scott), who put in a strong attack on the Poggio last year, together with Belgian Philippe Gilbert (Française des Jeux), the recent winner of Het Volk. Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) is also already in good shape, having conquered the Tour du Haut Var and finishing second at the GP Lugano in Switzerland.

Some riders will use the upcoming Paris-Nice race to get ready for La Classicissima.

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