The organisers of Milan-San Remo finalised a new route for the Italian Classic after the mayors of a string of coastal towns near Savona refused permission for the race to pass on their roads.
Milan-San Remo is scheduled for Saturday, August 8 in the new UCI WorldTour calendar but that is at the peak of the Italian holiday season, when hundreds of thousands of people will descend on the coast to escape the summer heat, all during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The hilly Ligurian coastline means there is only one main road along the coast and despite a series of meeting and assurances from race organisers RCS Sport, several towns believe it is impossible to safely close down the roads to allow Milan-San Remo through. They have refused to issue the legal permit needed to close the roads.
RCS Sport confirmed the route late Tuesday with the race taking a completely different route out of central Milan and heading inland, avoiding the mid-race Passo Turchino climb and descent to Genoa and avoid even the Capi climbs on the coast.
Instead, the race will head southwest into Piemonte via Alessandria, climbing to Niella Belbo and traversing the four-kilometre Colle di Nava climb before descending 20km to the coast.
Just the last 40km of the original Milan-San Remo route and the Cipressa and Poggio climbs will be covered in the revised route, creating a different and more demanding race. The final race distance will be around 299km after a long neutralised section from the centre of Milan, meaning the riders will face close to seven hours in the saddle.
"We've tried to find a solution to the problems but the local mayors have explained there's no way to resolve them. Because of the critical problems we will have to sign off a refusal due to the position of the mayors," the president of the Savona Prince told local media.
"Milan-San Remo never dies. It was created in 1907 and was held in 1946 after the war on rock-filled roads, with Fausto Coppi giving hope to millions of Italians," La Gazzetta dello Sport wrote defiantly.
"The race will be held on Saturday, August 8 with an new route that cancels almost all the original route on the Ligurian roads."
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