Friday, September 24, 2021
HomeDiariesMilan - Sanremo 2008 - Day 1

Milan – Sanremo 2008 – Day 1


The 99th edition of Milan – SanRemo 2008 is the first of the five “monuments” of the professional year, and it’s true to say that the Italian race is one of the the highlights of every sprinter’s season. The race is one of the legends in cycling, not really because of it’s terrain, but rather for it’s incredible history, and for the fact that it is the longest classic on the modern day calendar.

VeloVeritas are there! We’ve managed to grab a place in the Saunier Duval team car – the team of Riccardo Ricco, who made a tremendous attack on the Poggio climb last year with around 6km to go – so here’s our Diary of the race – enjoy!

I missed the plane yesterday, but like the kids say; “let’s not go there!” Today, I was embedded at Turnhouse, once bitten…

Milan - SanRemo 2008
Milan Central Station saw Ed arrive – eventually!

Usually, on Good Friday evening I’d be getting organised for Girvan, but the way it has all worked out this year it was The Clyde or The Ligurian. If God spares me, I’ll be down in Ayrshire on Monday though.

The flight arrived on time, but we stood – waiting on the customs boys turning up – for 20 minutes; “welcome to Italia!”

Milan - SanRemo 2008
Castello Milano.

I’m on the airport bus just now, it’s around 50 minutes from Malpensa Airport to Central Station, where I’ll grab a cab to the Permanence to get my credentials for tomorrow. Usually you can do this in the morning, but with the Primavera roll out being at 09.15, there’s not a lot of time.

I spoke to Slipstream DS Matt White in the week and he reckons that only three guys can win – Oscar Freire, Pippo Pozatto or Ale Petacchi. Viktor and I have a notion of Thor Hushovd, but Matt reckons; “Maybe a podium.”

Cancellara seems in such towering form that anything is possible, but again Matt disagrees: “He can’t win, impossible!”

He has a point – there’s around another kilometre been added from the bottom of the legendary Poggio to the new finish closer to the sea.

Milan - SanRemo 2008
The view from the Poggio – it’s a fair height.

This added distance gives the sprinter’s “trains” more time to get the wagons coupled in the correct order and find launch velocity.

Milram, for Petacchi, QuickStep for Boonen (or maybe Steegmans), LPR for Pietropolli and Lampre for Napolitano (if he makes it over the Poggio) will all be there.

Milan - SanRemo 2008
Alessandro Pettachi wasn’t in great form last year – has anything changed this year?

Last year, the most disgusted man in San Remo must have been Erik Zabel, he lead “Ale Jet” out and still managed to finish ahead of him; nobody was going to beat Freire, but the German veteran must have been worth a podium place.

Milan - SanRemo 2008
“I mean it Rolf, if that so-called Jet doesn’t come past me this year….”

Milan - SanRemo 2008
“Teenager” Paolo Salvoldeli has switched to Team LPR Brakes with Di Luca this year.

The Via Roma is unavailable due to Easter celebrations and roadworks.

I was surprised last year, when I walked the hallowed tarmac – it’s by no means flat, it drags to the line, and it’s much narrower than it looks on TV.

I won’t get a chance to see the finish until it’s all over tomorrow. The game paln is to hook up with my chums at Saunier Duval and hitch a ride all the way to San Remo – 298 kilometres looking at the back of Pietro Algeri’s heid!

I’m looking forward to it, I’ve never been in a pro team car on a race before. I’ve been in one at British races and at continental training camps, but never in a race – never mind the most glamorous classic of them all.

My taxi found the press room no problem, at around 8.00 pm, despite the website saying it was open until 9.00 pm, it was shut.

Never mind, sort it in the morning – another taxi to the digs. The hotel wasn’t flash, but it was clean, however the room was five stories up, with no lift.

I soon found a good wee pizzeria place and as I was tucking in to my calzone when I received a text (SMS as the Euroguys say) telling me that there had been a mistake and my place in the team car was gone!

Sleep well, Ed.

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

Flavio Zappi – “I don’t want my team to settle for average!”

‘You need to talk that Flavio Zappi boy, his lads are racing all over Europe and getting good results!’ As often happens with VeloVeritas it’s our spiritual guide and fiercest critic, Viktor who gives us inspiration on who we should be speaking to. But there’s also the aspect that QuickStep new recruit James Knox, who we interviewed earlier in the year was a ‘Zappi Man’ so yes, times we had a word with Sen. Zappi.

Flavio Zappi – Helping His Riders Cope with Covid and Brexit

Flavio Zappi plays down his own career on the bike but in a time and place where it was hard to get a pro contract and then sometimes even harder to achieve contract renewal after one season, if the results weren’t there or your face didn’t fit, he rode numerous seasons at the highest levels of Italian cycle sport.

Paul Double – from the Zappolino to Dartmoor

Paul Double raced with his Italian Colpack team, one of Italy’s strongest continental teams, and yet here he was on Dartmoor securing the silver medal in the British Hill Climb Championship. We heard the story...

Ethan Hayter – “I’d love to ride Paris-Roubaix this year”

This season saw Ethan Hayter sign with Ineos and the podium came early with second in the non-too-flat Memorial Pantani and that was despite a crash in the 1.Pro Milano-Torino his second race, the first being the Gran Trittico Lombardo. Then came ‘lockdown’ and his first race back was the European Championships in Plouay, won by Giacomo Nizzolo; Hayter finished a crash-blighted 98th but next up was the Pantani and the podium...

Hamish Strachan – “I thought Italy would play much better to my strengths”

You may have read our recent interview with Senor Flavio Zappi here on VeloVeritas? This season the Zappi Racing Team will have strong Scottish representation with Messrs. Hamish Strachan and Matthias Barnett quitting Bonnie but chilly Scotland and the brooding, icy waters of the North Sea for La Bella Italia and the more benign waters of the Adriatico.

Micheal Wilson – Aussie Giro Stage Winner in the 80’s

‘Lockdown’ does have benefits. The big advantage for me is that I have time to catch up with riders who it’s long overdue I should speak to. One such rider is Australia’s Micheal Wilson, a winner of Grand Tour stages and Italian races of quality. Micheal was at home in Tasmania with a glass of his own Pinot Grigio to hand – Micheal is still involved in wine production – when I called and asked him to stroll down memory lane with me...

At Random

Iain Grant & Silas Goldsworthy – Top Two in the Scottish ’50’ TT Championship 2013

Last Sunday’s Scottish 50 mile time trial championship at Irvine saw Dooley’s Iain Grant make it the ‘double’ – adding a second gold to his 25 mile title won earlier in June at Stonehaven, with Silas Goldsworthy (Sandy Wallace Cycles) taking the silver-medal spot.

Tour de Yorkshire 2018 – Stage 1 Wrap Up; Harry Tanfield’s Seated Acceleration!

Yorkshire has a new cycling hero – and Harry Tanfield can’t quite believe it. Never before had a local won a Tour de Yorkshire stage but with one superb breakaway and one big push to the line, this 23-year-old from Great Ayton had the Doncaster crowd rocking, to take stage 1 of the Tour de Yorkshire 2018.

Nigel Dean – An Enjoyable Pro Career in the ’70s and ’80s

In April 1978 my pal Dave and I stopped off in the north of England to watch the English pros in action at the Lancaster Grand Prix. Sitting in rare north of England spring sunshine to watch the race we were surprised and excited when Falcon pro, Nigel Dean chose our patch of grass to call it a day and sit and happily chat away to us for an age. It’s taken us a while to catch up with him again...

Giro d’Italia 2015 – Stage 18, Melide – Verbania; Gilbert Takes His Second

Monte Ologno, high above Lago Maggiore, Thursday 15:00 hours; we had to get up here early to beat the road closures; we got a slapped wrist from Vancouver for 'missing the cut' on the Mortirolo so no slip ups, today. The stage describes a big curve from Melide near Lugano to Verbania on Lago Maggiore; but there's a late surprise - which we're sitting at the top of. It's a nasty one; 10.4 K @ 9.0% average with a max of 13% makes it Category 1 and very tough. Where we are - 450 metres to go - it's scenic with wonderful vistas across the lago but lower down it's not unlike the Mortirolo in that much of it is a tunnel through the trees.

Katie Archibald – “The best time to be ‘ready for Rio’ is 11th August”

She may have missed out on the 2016 London Worlds but Katie Archibald certainly IS going to Rio for the 2016 Olympic Games in the team pursuit for Great Britain. Injured in ‘that’ motorbike crash prior to the Worlds she’s fought her way back to fitness and it’s confirmed that she’ll be in the GB line up for the 4,000 metre team pursuit. We first interviewed Ms. Archibald back in 2013 and have kept abreast of her results since – but Olympic selection is special so we thought we best ‘have a word.’

Dan Fleeman – Moving from Racing to Coaching

'There's a time to come and a time to go,' the words of Danny Stam when he announced that he would retire at the end of this winter season, the Dutchman is 39 years-old. But whilst the former British under 23 road race champion, twice British hill climb champion and Tour of the Pyrenees winner, Dan Fleeman is 10 years younger than the six day man, he's arrived at the same conclusion.