Vincenzo Nibali, whose 2018 Milan-San Remo victory was one of the more memorable finishes to the Italian Spring Monument in recent years, led more than 4,000 cyclists on a virtual ride taking in the final 57 kilometres of the race on Saturday, the day the 111th edition was due to have been held before the coronavirus pandemic forced its cancellation.
The Trek-Segafredo rider was among 4,221 people who took part in the Milano-Sanremo Virtual Experience, organised by RCS Sport in partnership with Garmin Edge, and which took them from Alassio on the Ligurian coast to the finish line on via Roma.
On the way, they took on the climbs that help propel the race to an often thrilling climax – the Tre Capi [three headlands – Mele, Cervo and Berta] – followed by the Cipressa and the often decisive climb of the Poggio, which Nibali used a springboard for his victory two years ago.
Besides triple Grand Tour winner Nibali, other past and present pros who took part included reigning Tour of Flanders champion Alberto Bettiol, two time Giro d’Italia champion Ivan Basso, former world champion Alessandro Ballan, the current Italian national coach Davide Cassini and the 1993 Milan-San Remo winner, Maurizio Fondriest.
Nibali said afterwards: “Milano-Sanremo is a race that has a special place in my heart and one of my most beautiful victories.
“Today I had the opportunity to ride it in a new and very fun way. A nice initiative to pedal on the race route virtually while staying at home,” added Nibali, who ask you can see from the picture above rode with some of cycling’s most prestigious trophies as his backdrop.
“I was able to cycle, albeit virtually, with my fans. And I want to ask them to be patient in this difficult moment, keep on staying home and ride indoors – we'll see them again on the roads at races soon!"
RCS Sport said that all those who took part in the Milano-Sanremo Virtual Experience will receive a discount of €10 for registration to the Gran Fondo Il Lombardia 2020.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.