The organisers of this year's Milan-San Remo have announced the route of the rescheduled Monument, which will be held on the same route as in the past several years, despite concerns from local towns that the new August 8 date would cause traffic headaches during the tourist season.
Mauro Vegni, RCS Sport Cycling Director, acknowledged that changing the race from March to the late-summer date decided by the UCI as part of its revised 2020 road calendar has presented more problems.
"August 8 is a date dictated by the difficult times we have been experiencing and the consequent revolution in this year's cycling calendar," Vegni said on Wednesday. "Together we face more challenges than the traditional March date but we are confident that the territory's response can be a strong signal for the country's restart through sport."
RCS Sport also named tyre-maker Vittoria as a new presenting sponsor, with Vittoria Group's President and CEO Stijn Vriends highlighting the symbolic importance of the race for a region that was hit so hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
"Milan-San Remo 2020 is the race of the Italian cycling renaissance. After all the suffering that we went through, especially here in Bergamo, it is now time for a new start, and we want to actively contribute to it," Vriends said. "I am proud to say that Vittoria, the number-1 producer of bicycle tires with graphene, is the presenting sponsor of the 111th Milano San Remo – the race of the Italian cycling restart."
With the reorganised calendar, Milan-San Remo, which normally has its March date to itself, now overlaps with the WorldTour's Tour de Pologne and the Tour de l'Ain, which many riders targeting the Tour de France are due to race.
Vegni announced a quality field of riders, nonetheless, with defending champion Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and 2018 winner Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) set to be on the start line.
"We will have many of the great cycling champions at the start," Vegni said, naming sprinters such as Elia Viviani (Cofidis), Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates), in addition to young stars Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma).
Caleb Ewan, who won the field sprint to take second behind Nibali in 2018, looked back fondly on the result.
"Some of my best memories of Milan-San Remo are from my second-place finish [in 2018]. I have only done the race three times and remember that edition very well – because of the second place, and also because the weather was very cold and wet at the start in Milan but when we arrived at the coast it was nice, and I managed to finish with a good result. Hopefully this year I can go one better!"
Fernando Gaviria, who arrived in Europe on a special flight for Colombian sportspeople on Monday, said he very much wants to win Milan-San Remo. His best placing was fifth in 2017.
"There are many different riders who can win it because the situations in the race change very quickly," Gaviria said of the race.
"I have just returned from Colombia, and now I am training in Europe to be ready on August 8. In addition to Milan-San Remo, my big goal of the season will be the Giro d’Italia," he said.
Gaviria has five stage wins in the Giro on his palmares, and the points classification victory in 2017.
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