On the start line in Milan-San Remo - Gallery

The sun was shining in Milan for the start of Milan-San Remo, the 108th edition of La Classicissima di Primavera - as the Italian call the first monument Classic of the season.

There was excitement and tension in the air as the teams prepared for the longest and least predictable race of the season. The tifosi packed the start area and the team buses, with the Bora-hansgrohe riders and especially Peter Sagan attracting the biggest crowd.

As per UCI rules, the team rode to the sign-on podium in a specific time order, with the wild card teams called first to the podium in front of the central entrance to the Castello Sforzesco.

Filippo Pozzato (Wilier-Selle Italia) was one of the first to sign on and seemed relaxed as he prepared for what is perhaps the final Milan-San Remo if his career. He is the last Italian to win the race, back in 2006.

The riders were generally relaxed and smiling as they signed on, signed autographs and lined up for the start. Sagan was one of the last to arrive and showed off his new look after shaving his beard and leaving just a small moustache that left him looking like a swashbuckling D'Artagnan.

Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) was also at the centre of attention after it emerged he had crashed hard in training on Thursday. He hurt his right wrist and it was strapped, while he had a cut on his lip and had what looked like bruising on his face.

Gaviria signed on with teammate Tom Boonen, who is riding Milan-San Remo for the last time in his long career.

The 200 riders rolled out of San Remo at 9:45 to cover the 7.6km transfer to the real start outside the city and then the 291km race distance. They faced over seven hours and over 300km in the saddle.

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