Canvassing northern Italy with 199 kilometres of mostly flat terrain, a revamped Milano-Torino returns on Wednesday for a match-up of top sprinters, led by Mark Cavendish (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl).
He is expected to line up against strong riders looking for their first victories of the season, including Peter Sagan (Team TotalEnergies), Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroën), and 2013 winner Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates).
Cavendish scored a pair of wins in 2022 at Tour of Oman and UAE Tour to increase his career take to 158 total, and he comes off a full week of racing at Tirreno-Adriatico in support of Remco Evenepoel.
It will be his first appearance at the Italian classic, which has been held in the fall for the past 35 years, and which has recently been run as a climber's race.
"Mark Cavendish will be our card for this Wednesday and he will count on a strong squad to protect and help him fight for a good result," said Davide Bramati, sports director for QuickStep-AlphaVinyl.
Returning to the squad for his first race of the season will be Rémi Cavagna, the reigning French road race champion who suffered a fractured L1 vertebra when he was hit by a driver during a ride at a training camp in Spain last December.
He had successful surgery five days after the incident, which also involved teammate Mauri Vansevenant, who suffered a broken thumb.
"We are very happy that Rémi is back after his unfortunate crash during the training camp, we missed him. It will be for the first time that he pins on a number this year and having him again with us it’s a big morale-boost," added Bramati.
Completing the seven-rider roster for Milano-Torino will be Mattia Cattaneo, Dries Devenyns, Michael Mørkøv, Pieter Serry and Louis Vervaeke.
Both Cavendish and Mørkøv crashed on stage 4 of the UAE Tour last month when they were traveling at high speed in the peloton passing through a roundabout and crossing over a concrete speed bump, designed to slow vehicles. Cavendish hit the deck hardest on his right shoulder and also banged his head, but passed concussion protocol after the stage. He and Mørkøv completed the seven-day race.
Milano-Torino is now considered preparation for the season’s opening Monument, Milan-San Remo, which will be held on Saturday. First held in 1876 and laying claim to the world’s oldest bicycle race, Milano-Torino returns to a spring time slot for the first time since 1987, where it was positioned days after the UCI Road World Championships.
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Jackie has been involved in professional sports for more than 30 years in news reporting, sports marketing and public relations. She founded Peloton Sports in 1998, a sports marketing and public relations agency, which managed projects for Tour de Georgia, Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah and USA Cycling. She also founded Bike Alpharetta Inc, a Georgia non-profit to promote safe cycling. She is proud to have worked in professional baseball for six years - from selling advertising to pulling the tarp. She has climbed l'Alpe d'Huez three times (not fast). Her favorite road rides are around horse farms in north Georgia (USA) and around lavender fields in Provence (France), and some mtb rides in Park City, Utah (USA).