Traditionally a sprinter's race, the route of Milan-San Remo has been changed significantly twice since its inception in 1907. First, in 1960, organisers added the Poggio climb to the event, and in 1982, the Cipressa. The reason for both changes was the same: make the race more selective in order to ensure possible attackers a chance of victory.
Now, it seems the time has come again. After this weekend's victory of Simon Gerrans (GreenEdge) over Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan), observers in Italy have pleaded for the finish to be set up at the very foot of the Poggio, so that the strongest man will be rewarded instead of the one with the fastest finishing speed. Even though a three-man escape group prevailed over the bunch, Cancellara was widely seen as having been the strongest, deserving the win instead of seeing it taken by Gerrans, who held onto the Swiss' wheel for the final ten kilometres before coming round him in the last 150 metres.
Moreover, the race being Italian, organisers would like to see an Italian rider take the honours. "It's true that we have experienced an attractive finale, but once again the Poggio has not allowed Vincenzo Nibali [third-placed - ed.] to make the selection," organiser Mauro Vegni told L'Equipe. "But a race that doesn't give an attacker the chance to finish it off alone is not a race anymore. We'll have to modify it, to make it a bit harder."
According to L'Equipe, organisers are currently thinking of two measures: First, on the Cipressa, the race will be deviated mid-way up on another road, which features steeper gradients. Secondly, the finish line will be located at the bottom of the Poggio in San Remo to favour attackers and limit the possibilities of the fast men.
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