As I’m sure a few of you did yesterday as well, I designed my entire day around the first Monument of the year: Milan – San Remo. In the morning I went for a ride, followed by a trip to the U-Express ostensibly to ‘shop’, but in reality to get a 750 ml beer to go with my equally-big Classic.
I have to admit, La Classicissma is not the most edge-of-your-seat cycling race to watch, but it amazes me every year that I can easily sit through the last 3 hours of it, knowing all too well that nothing will really happen till at least the penultimate capo. This year was even worse because other than some jostling for position, the first attacks came on the Poggio, less than 10 km from the finish.
And there’s the thing about Milan-San Remo: it is a race of immense length (just about 300 km) where, in modern times at least, it is nearly always decided in a sprint finish or, more rarely, in a solo attack on the Poggio. It’s just a big brute of a bike race.
And so it went.
A huge peloton entered the narrow climb of the Poggio, with race favorites and former winners watching each other and staying put. Vincenzo Nibali, however, positioned himself immediately at the pointy end of affairs and, when the moment presented itself, attacked with another rider. He then attacked again near the top, dropped like a stone down to the Mediterranean, and somehow held off a raging peloton in the last 2 km.
I love cycling and I love watching smart, calculating riders. But what I love the most is seeing someone hang it all out, like Nibali does so often, and once in a while get what they deserve.