After a novel midsummer edition in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Milan-San Remo returns to its traditional March date and a more familiar route for 2021.
Although the Turchino is absent as the road is still impassable due to repairs following a landslide, the Capo Mele, Capo Cerva and Capo Berta return to the route after a one-year hiatus.
Last year’s Milan-San Remo took place in August and organiser RCS Sport was compelled to devise a radical new route after the mayors of a dozen coastal towns along the Italian Riviera near Savona refused to close their roads during the tourist season.
The race instead charted a largely inland course through Piedmont, before hitting the coast for the last 40km and the longstanding finale over the Cipressa and Poggio. Wout van Aert claimed victory after edging out Julian Alaphilippe in a two-up sprint on the Via Roma.
In October, director Mauro Vegni indicated that the alternative route might be maintained for 2021, but RCS Sport has ultimately opted for a return to a more traditional Milan-San Remo, albeit without the Passo del Turchino.
The road over the Turchino was damaged by a landslide in October 2019. Repair works to restore full access began in earnest last December but the road is not due to reopen until April.
The Turchino will thus be replaced in 2021 by the Colle di Giovo, from which the race will descend towards the Riviera, re-joining the traditional coastal route along the Via Aurelia at Albisola with 112km still to race.
Milan-San Remo takes on a familiar guise from that point onwards, with the restored capi climbs arriving with a shade over 51km to race. The summit of the Cipressa comes with 21.5km to go, while 5.5km separate the top of the Poggio from the finish line on the Via Roma.
RCS Sport CEO Paolo Bellino described last year’s novel route as "very positive for the sport, for the media and from the audience’s point of view", but he welcomed the race’s return to a more familiar route along the Ligurian coast in 2021.
"Most of the route will remain as it has traditionally been, with the Aurelia, the Tre Capi, Cipressa and Poggio before the arrival on Via Roma, but we will not be able to visit the Turchino for technical reasons," Bellino said in a statement from RCS Sport.
"What is certain is that this edition will witness the greatest riders in international cycling putting on a show on roads that have become legendary thanks to La Classicissima."
The mayors of Ligurian towns near Savona forced the rerouting of last year’s race, but the region succeeded in persuading RCS Sport to return for 2021. "Milan-San Remo belongs to Liguria and is an event that shows the whole world our wonderful region," the region’s councillor for sport Simona Ferro said.
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