Milan-Sanremo 2024: Everything you need to know

Key information on the first Monument of the 2024 season

Date: Saturday March 16, 2024
Start: Pavia
Finish: Sanremo 
Total distance: 288km  
Defending champion: Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck)

Milan-Sanremo is the first Monument of the cycling season and this year will see the 115th edition of the race start in Pavia, a city just south of Milan, before travelling 288km to Sanremo in north west Italy. The race is commonly known as ‘La Classicissima’ or ‘La Primavera’ and is the longest one-day race in the professional racing calendar. It’s long, but mainly flat parcours breeds an intense build-up for six hours, before a massive crescendo in the final few kilometres. 

Cycling’s Monuments are five prestigious and historic one-day races with Milan-Sanremo being the first, followed by the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Il Lombardia.

The defending champion Mathieu van der Poel won last year's edition 15 seconds ahead of second place Filippo Ganna and third place Wout van Aert, after attacking with 5.6km to go on the descent of the famous Poggio climb. He’s returning to the illustrious race, looking to defend his title for a second year – a feat no rider has achieved since Erik Zabel in 2001. 

The all-time leader for wins at La Primavera is Eddy Merckx (1966, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1975 and 1976). Despite the Belgian's obvious dominance, Milan-Sanremo has often been described as the easiest Monument to finish, but the hardest to win. The last six wins have all gone to different riders in either solo attacks or small group sprints.

Teams list for Milan-Sanremo 2024:

  • Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale 
  • Alpecin-Deceuninck
  • Aréa-B&B Hotels
  • Astana Qazaqstan 
  • Bahrain-Victorious
  • Cofidis
  • EF Education-EasyPost 
  • Groupama-FDJ
  • Ineos Grenadiers 
  • Intermarché-Wanty
  • Visma-Lease a Bike
  • Lidl-Trek
  • Soudal–Quick-Step
  • DSM-Firmenich PostNL
  • Jayco Alula
  • UAE Team Emirates 
  • Lotto Dstny 
  • Uno-X Mobility
  • Team Polti Kometa 
  • Tudor Pro Cycling Team
  • Israel-Premier Tech
  • Team Corratec-Vini Fantini
  • VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè

Milan-Sanremo route 2024: 

 This year’s edition of the race will begin in the city Pavia, just south of Milan, but will merge back on to the classic route once the peloton have reached 45km of racing in Casteggio. The majority of the race’s route is flat, minus the Passo del Turchino climb, as it heads south towards the coastline, where it then heads west following the Statale Aurelia through Varazze, Savona, Albenga and Imperia. Once they’ve reached 260km, that is when the fight for victory begins. 

The Cipressa is the penultimate climb and is 5.6km in length with a 4.1% average gradient. This is the first point where riders will be put into real trouble with the sprinters often spat out the back of the peloton on the harshest inclines. 

After the tension has built, the riders reach the foot of the Poggio – a climb described as ‘the most important six minutes in cycling’. The Poggio has been the arena for decisive moves in the previous six editions with the strongest riders able to pull away on the steepest sections which max out at 8% in gradient. This is where Van der Poel made his move in last year’s edition, as did Mohorič the year before, both expertly handling the technical descent into Sanremo with precision and ease. 

The final few flat kilometres in Via Roma are chaotic with riders fully on their limit after completing almost 300km, and if the peloton arrives into Sanremo together, the wide roads give an opportunity for those without a great sprint to make their launch for glory, as Jasper Stuyven did in 2021.

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