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Milan-San Remo rolls out under pouring rain - Gallery

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The World and European champions

The World and European champions (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Team Sunweb are presented to the crowds

Team Sunweb are presented to the crowds (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tracksuits on the podium for the Israel Cycling Academy

Tracksuits on the podium for the Israel Cycling Academy (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Marcel Kittel is making his Milan-San Remo debut

Marcel Kittel is making his Milan-San Remo debut (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Italian Pro Conti team Bardiani CSF

Italian Pro Conti team Bardiani CSF (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The LottoNL-Jumbo riders sign on

The LottoNL-Jumbo riders sign on (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Omloop Het Nieuwsblad winner Michael Valgren heads to the podium

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad winner Michael Valgren heads to the podium (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Kittel's Katusha-Alpecin team on the stage

Kittel's Katusha-Alpecin team on the stage (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Photo opportunity with the world champion

Photo opportunity with the world champion (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Mark Cavendish played down his chances after breaking his rib in Tirreno-Adriatico

Mark Cavendish played down his chances after breaking his rib in Tirreno-Adriatico (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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World champion Peter Sagan

World champion Peter Sagan (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Vincenzo Nibali at the start

Vincenzo Nibali at the start (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Peter Sagan greets Dayer Quintana

Peter Sagan greets Dayer Quintana (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The world champion on the stage

The world champion on the stage (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Signing on in the rain

Signing on in the rain (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Some unimpressed faces among the Bahrain-Merida team

Some unimpressed faces among the Bahrain-Merida team (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The Astana riders try to keep warm

The Astana riders try to keep warm (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Former winner Filippo Pozzatto signs his name

Former winner Filippo Pozzatto signs his name (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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EF-Drapac have Sacha Modolo as an outsider for the victory

EF-Drapac have Sacha Modolo as an outsider for the victory (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Peter Sagan and his Bora-Hansgrohe team

Peter Sagan and his Bora-Hansgrohe team (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The Nippo-Vini Fantini team, another Italian outfit

The Nippo-Vini Fantini team, another Italian outfit (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Nibali signs on

Nibali signs on (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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UCI president David Lappartient with Renato di Rocco and Urbano Cairo

UCI president David Lappartient with Renato di Rocco and Urbano Cairo (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)

The 2018 edition of Milan-San Remo rolled out from the start in the shadows of the Castello Sforzesco under pouring rain, with the 174 riders wrapped up and hoping that the weather forecasts will prove accurate and that the sun will emerge before San Remo and the roads will be dry for the finale of the 294km race.

The only non-starter was Loic Chetout (Cofidis), leaving the French team with just six riders. With Nacer Bouhanni not selected due to bronchitis, Christophe Laporte is the Cofidis team leader.

Some riders signed on early and then quickly returned to the warmth of their team bus. Most emerged from their buses in the final minutes before the 9:50 rollout. That sparked chaos at the sign-on, with riders hiding under the television interview tent before climbing on stage.

Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) was of few words as he prepared to ride with a cracked rib and little chance of victory, but ready to help his teammates.

For Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) the Milan start was something new as he prepared for his debut at La Primavera.

"My first Milan-San Remo and in the rain, too. It's going to be a challenge for sure," Kittel said.

"The weather predictions say it will get better on the coast and so not stay like this all day. I'm looking forward to it. I'm relaxed. I've prepared as well as possible by speaking to lots of guys. Now I can only give my best and see what happens. It's a ride into the unknown for me. When we get to the Cipressa and the Poggio, you just need to have the legs, that's the most important thing in this race.”

Peter Sagan was one of the last riders to sign-on, with UCI President David Lappartient, vice president Renato di Rocco, and RCS Media Group owner Urbano Cairo stopping him for a photo opportunity. Sagan is the favourite and under pressure to win Milan-San Remo after finishing second to Michal Kwiatkowski in 2017.

Sagan was as enigmatic as ever when asked about his chances and tactics for the day.

"Let's hope the weather improves once we go over the Turchino and get to Genoa. I just hope to make it to the finish in one piece, so that we can enjoy a nice dinner tonight," he joked.

"We’ll see what happens. The race lasts seven hours and a lot can happen. It all depends if I’ve got the legs."

Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) was back in central Milan for the first time since winning the Giro d’Italia. He will try to help Michael Matthews by using his power to control the attacks on the Cipressa as he did in 2017.

"It's cool to be back in Milan, it's just a pity about the weather, it's very different to last year's Giro," he said. "I’ve had some back luck in the last two weeks and so I’ll be supporting the team."

The riders gathered next to the fountain in front of the Castello. With a neutralised section of 7.6km and a race distance of 294km, they face 301.6km in the saddle before the finish in Via Roma.

Cyclingnews has has full live coverage of the race. Follow it here