Milan-San Remo news: UAE Team Emirates back Swift

UAE Team Emirates are backing last year's Milan-San Remo runner-up Ben Swift to go one better in 2017 and end an almost two-year gap between victories.

The 29-year-old has also finished third at La Classicissima, and Swift is aiming to continue his good run of results in the race with the biggest win of his career yet.

"I'm in good form, and this year's Milan-San Remo features similar spirits and looks like it should match the excitement of last year," Swift said. "I feel generally quite fit and obviously hope that I'll do well in the climb. At this point, having done all the training, you have to just stick to your plan and hope for the best as it is hard to say which way the race will go and how it will unfold on the road.

Following seven seasons with Team Sky, Swift made his debut with the new team at the Tour Down Under before heading to Abu Dhabi Tour and Paris-Nice last week. Having seen several of his rivals in action this season, Swift anticipates a possible change in how the Italian monument is raced.

"For the past three or four years the breakaway has been a sprint. However, that could change this year. A lot of riders may not want to wait for the sprint, so as a team we need to be prepared for a myriad of scenarios," he explained. "Also, this year I am coming back to Milan-San Remo under a new team banner, with great teammates. I think we are all ready, and I believe I have a strong team supporting me."

Along with his own knowledge of the course and how to arrive fresh for the sprint, Swift can call upon general manager and 1983 Milan-San Remo winner Giuseppe Saronni for words of wisdom

"Milan-San Remo is the dream of every young Italian kid when they start cycling," Saronni explained. "My advice to Ben is that if you want to win Milan-San Remo, everything must be perfect: from your training the day before, to your dinner choice. You need to be on your best game and be focused to avoid common mistakes that can throw you off. The nature of the Milan-San Remo route means that a lot of riders can tackle it, which makes for such an exciting race as all riders need to put their best performance forward."

Andersen replaces Barguil in Team Sunweb line-up

Team Sunweb's Warren Barguil will not line up for Milan-San Remo this weekend. The Frenchman injured his ankle during Paris-Nice, and will be replaced for the Italian Monument by Søren Kragh Andersen.

"Warren has developed an ankle injury, possibly tendinitis of the peroneus muscle, during Paris-Nice," said team physician Anko Boelens. "We are taking him out of Milano-San Remo to undertake further testing and to make sure that the injury does not get worse. A couple of days off the bike will give the injury the necessary time to recover, and Warren should be able to resume training after that."

It would have been Barguil's first time racing Milan-San Remo, riding in support of Michael Matthews.

"It's a huge disappointment for me to have to pull out of Milano-Sanremo and that I won't be able to contribute to the team goal and help Michael in the finale," Barguil said. "It's the most wise thing to do to ensure that my injury doesn't get worse and I wish the guys the best of luck on Saturday."

Andersen, who won a stage in the Tour of Oman last month, is a good replacement according to coach Aike Visbeek, "considering his ability to survive hills and the way he can position his teammates. He gave us a good demonstration of his capability in Tirreno and he adds extra max-speed to the team meaning that our plans don't change much."

Nippo-Vini Fantini back Grosu, Canola

Nippo-Vini Fantini are dreaming big for Milan-San Remo and putting their weight behind sprinters Eduard Grosu and Marco Canola.

"The level of this race is incredibly high, but I expect a full concentration and determination from the eight selected riders," said Directeur sportif Mario Manzoni. "For us will be one of the most important races of the season. It won't be easy, but we have to dream about it. In race I want to see eight #OrangeBlue lions."

The team has experienced riders Ivan Santaromita, the former Italian champion, and Alan Marangoni, but will focus on the younger riders as part of their philosophy of developing new talent.

"I believe that the line-up of this Milano-Sanremo is the reflection of our project," manager Francesco Pelosi said. "Young talents such as Eduard Grosu and Iuri Filosi, launched by our team, were already winners in the Under 23 category and Grosu also among pros, and are expected to be in their final development year in 2017.

"Our young talents will be supported by experienced riders as Ivan Santaromita, Pierpaolo De Negri, Alan Marangoni that will have the role to drive them to a good performance in Milano-San Remo."

Nippo-Vini Fantini for Milan-San Remo: Eduard Grosu, Marco Canola, Iuri Filosi, Hideto Nakane, Pierpaolo De Negri, Kohei Uchima, Ivan Santaromita, Pierpaolo De Negri, Alan Marangoni.

Astana for Milan-San Remo: Astana: Luis León Sánchez, Matti Breschel, Oscar Gatto, Andriy Grivko, Alexey Lutsenko, Truls Korsaeth, Luis León Sanchez, Ruslan Tleubayev and Michael Valgren.

Gazprom-RusVelo for Milan-San Remo: Pavel Brutt, Ivan Savitskiy, Roman Maikin, Ivan Rovny, Artur Ershov, Alexander Porsev, Nikolay Trusov, Alexey Tsatevich.

LottoNL-Jumbo for Milan-San Remo: Enrico Battaglin, Twan Castelijns, Jos van Emden, Tom Leezer, Juan José Lobato, Paul Martens, Primoz Roglic, Bram Tankink

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