March 20th can only mean one thing, it’s the first day of spring! And that means the 110th edition of Milan-San Remo will be raced this Saturday. The course for the first ‘Monument’ race of the cycling season is a carbon copy of the 2018 contest so it is 291 kilometres making it the longest one-day race on the calendar.
The race was won by Vincenzo Nibali in 2018 and, while he stole the contest by attacking from a long way out and holding off the sprinters close to home, he is surely over-priced at a standout 66/1 with Betway simply on the theory he’d love to become a back-to-back winner. He finished third in this contest in 2012 and was a respectable 15th in last week’s Tirreno-Adriatico despite failing to finish in the top-10 of any of the seven stages.
Michal Kwiatkowski was the 2017 winner and while he is not one of the best known names within Team Sky (officially sold this week), his race record in ‘Classics’ and ‘Monuments’ is amazing. The Pole has also won the Strade Bianche twice, the E3 Harelbeke, Amstel Gold Race and Clásica de San Sebastián. In 2018 Kwiatkowski landed the seven-stage Tirreno–Adriatico (noteworthy as it was staged in March) and, vitally, he has displayed his recent well-being with a third place, behind team-mate Egan Bernal, in last week’s Paris-Nice. This makes him nap material at 16/1.
Some may consider Peter Sagan or veteran Alejandro Valverde to offer some value. And they may be right. But in terms of a ‘next best’ for me, Arnaud Démare fits the bill at 18/1. Given the Frenchman has won two Tour de France stages and eight single-day races and classics, it’s hard to believe he is only 27. Even more outrageously, he won this race in 2016 and finished third 12 months ago.