Landslide may force fresh Milan-San Remo route change with Le Manie climb reinstated
Reports from Italy could herald bad news for Cavendish and other sprinters
The route of this year’s Milan-San Remo may have to be altered again due to a landslide – and with reports from Italy suggesting that the climb to Le Manie may be reinstated, that could be bad news for Mark Cavendish and other sprinters targeting the race.
At the end of February, organisers RCS Sport confirmed that the proposed new Pompeiana climb, between the ascents of the Cipressa and the Poggio in the final 30km of the race, had been excluded on safety grounds. The road had been damaged by heavy rain and landslides.
The current revised route is the one used in the race between 1982 and 2007, and favours the sprinters, leading Cavendish to confirm last week that he would ride the race.
With RCS Sport hoping the Pompeiana can be included from next year, this year’s edition could be the Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider’s final chance to win Milan-San Remo for the second time.
But a landslide yesterday on the Via Aurelia, the road along the Ligurian coast that forms the final third of the route, has led to the prospect that the parcours may have to be changed again.
In particular, there are fears that a house located above the road between Spotorno and Noli may be at risk of collapse, with the website IVG.it reporting that the route may now have to be changed again and head up Le Manie.
The website adds that no official decision has yet been made on whether to amend the route again.
The ascent, tackled with a little under 100km to ride to the finish, was first used in 2008, after a landslide rendered the Via Aurelia impassable. Organisers decided to keep it in the route for subsequent years.
Cavendish won the race the following year, but since then his quest for a repeat victory has twice faltered on Le Manie.
In 2011, he found himself on the wrong side of a split in the field following crashes on the climb, and the following year was dropped after Liquigas-Cannondale forced the pace on the ascent.
If the route is changed once again to include Le Manie, it will make the prospect of a bunch sprint less likely – Matt Goss’s 2011 victory, for example, came after he was left as the one pure sprinter in a select front group.
Last year, heavy snowfall on the day of the race meant the climb was missed out altogether, with organisers deciding to cut out the section of the course from before the Passo del Turchino until after Le Manie.