Sunday, December 5, 2021
HomeDiariesMilan - Sanremo 2008 - Day 2

Milan – Sanremo 2008 – Day 2


A hard race? When the World and Olympic road race champion is blown out the back, his eyes wide, shoulders rocking, sweat dripping from him, struggling up a climb on the inside ring, when only minutes ago he was blasting it on the 53 – that’s a hard race. Milan – Sanremo has to be seen to be believed seven hours, with all the major obstacles in the second half.  The new climb at La Manie is brutal and might just have contributed to the “pure” sprinters failure in Sanremo.

However, if you read the signs with Cancellara in Tirreno, his win was no big surprise.

On the the crazy stage three climb, riders walked, but he forced that macho frame of his over the top with the lightweights.

Then in the time trial, as the other ‘chrono men’ heaved the big gears at low revs up the climbs, he ‘spun’ like that American boy – what was his name, good haircut but his racing clothes never fitted him properly?

Milan - San Remo
Pietro. “If the boys don’t behave, I eat their lunch!”

My full rantings from seven hours sitting beside Pietro Algeri are available elsewhere, but I left you on Friday night with no seat in a team car, or way to get to Sanremo – read on.

It was midnight when the calls and emails between Milan and Vancouver ended, we decided that I should make my own way to San Remo by train and cover the finish, live.

Taxi to the station, 07.00 am “There is a train to Sanremo at 09.10 but it is fully booked!”

Another taxi, to the start, have a coffee, riders start arriving, the sun’s oot anyway.

There’s Mauro, the Saunier boss, let’s see if I can at least scrounge a lift to the Med in the bus; “Ah, Ed! We thought you meant the Grand Prix Primavera in Spain in a few weeks’ time, but I have made a space in the car for you.”

I wanted to cuddle him!

Milan - San Remo
Vladimir Karpets checks his bike over before the rollout. We reckoned at the Tour last year that these guys definitely had the coolest kit and bikes in the peloton.

I had a wander round, it’s easy because the start is early and there aren’t loads of fans about.

Milan - San Remo
Erik Zabel was pretty wound up before the start.

Zabel and Petacchi looked tense, Gilbert relaxed and happy, Oscar as if he was going for the papers, Millar is fit, Magnus is heavy, Savoldelli still looks 14, Fabian Wegmann looks daft and most of the ‘unknown’ Italians look like male models, except the tiny ones of course – Viktor says the UCI should exclude anyone less that 5′ 6″ from holding a race licence.

Milan - San Remo
Is Jacky Durand advising an in-form Philippe Gilbert to “go for a long one”?
Milan - San Remo
Argylers Backstedt and Millar. Magnus was looking like the flatlander he really is, whilst Dave appeared to be fully recovered from his recent bout of illness.

The race came in ‘spurts,’ if you read my Pez piece, you’ll see what I mean. There would be a purge, then an easing off, but if you were chasing you didn’t benefit from the let-up because as soon as you were back, it was time for more pressure.

Milan - San Remo
Francesco Tizza. it’s over for him on La Manie.
Milan - San Remo
Up close.
Milan - San Remo
Danilo Di Luca was quiet in this race – we wonder how much more we’ll see of him this year with CONI not giving up on their request for a 2 year ban …

Ever since the Saunier training camp at Estepona last year, I’ve been a Raivis Belohvociks fan, the big Latvian looks more like a boxer than a cyclist, tall, square shouldered and solid.

His face when we passed him on the Cipressa was a mask of pain.

Raivis made it a good Primavera for Saunier, they took a young team for experience and without much expectation and came back with a huge amount of exposure; thanks’s to the Latvian’s long shift off the front.

EMilan - San Remo
Eros Cappechi asks Pietro for the rugby scores – Ed once said this guy is “so good looking it makes you sick”!
Milan - San Remo
Team LPR Brakes manager Eddy Seigneur is interviewed by Rai Uno TV at 40 mph!
Milan - San Remo
Manuele Mori heading for 28th place.
Milan - San Remo
Diving down off the Poggio!
Milan - San Remo
Arriving into San Remo – beautiful.

At the finish I said my “cheerios” and “thanks” to Pietro, Andrea and Mauro, then it was time for the salle de presse.

On a job like that I input it straight to the BlackBerry, meaning at the finish all you have to do is a tidy-up and send.

However, despite having had an excellent GPRS signal (the one you need to support email on the BlackBerry) all day, there wasn’t one in San Remo.

Milan - San Remo
Muchas gracias Andrea y Pietro. ¡Véale pronto!

I had to transcribe the whole report into the laptop, if I was a fast typist, it wouldn’t be so bad, but I’m not. I use the BlackBerry so much that I’m quicker with it than I am typing. I got it done, eventually.

Next it was time to edit and send my pictures; I got 15 away before it was chucking out time at the salle de presse. I’m going to see if I can get a wi-fi connection from Nice Airport, where I am now, and get the rest away.

When I woke up this morning, the BlackBerry was flashing red – 12 emails awaited me, San Remo’s GPRS had made a miraculous recovery over night.

My flight to Dublin is at 10.10, then I change for Edinburgh – it was the only way I could get a reasonably priced flight home.

Still, “Girvan, the morn!” Talk to you from there.

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

Milan – Sanremo, 10 Years Ago…

Hard to believe but it's 10 years ago that we popped over to Italy to cover Milan - Sanremo. The day before the race we visited Ciclismo Masi in his workshop under the famous Vorelli Velodrome banking, we spoke to Lance Armstrong at his press conference, ate amazing pizza. Then on race day-morning we watched with interest as Dave Brailsford met Ernesto Colnago for a coffee and a chat about supplying equipment to his fledgling new team, Sky Pro Cycling and chatted to riders including eventual winner Mark Cavendish at the buses...

Paul Double – 2nd in the Giro di Romagna

With so many tales of broken promises, teams folding and disillusioned young men heading home to Blighty from Europe, it’s good to tell a story where it all comes together and there’s a podium involved. Paul Double has been on our radar for a while, first as a ‘Zappi Man,’ a CTT Hill Climb medallist, riding for one of Italy’s top u23 teams – the mighty Colpack Ballan – then last year back as a ‘Zappi Man.’

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...

Callum Johnston – Looking forward to a second season in Italy with Zappi

If you’re a VeloVeritas regular then you’ll have seen our interview with Flavio Zappi, the man who transforms promising U23 riders into World Tour performers. Will Scot, Callum Johnston be pulling on a QuickStep jersey in a year or three?

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.

Tim James

Over the weekend we were shocked and saddened to hear that young English rider Tim James had passed, aged just 23 years.

At Random

Bradley Wiggins wins the British Road Championships 2011

On a balmy Sunday afternoon in quaint Stamfordham, Sky and Bradley Wiggins did 'what England expected' and grabbed the first four places in the British elite road race championship over 197 hard Northumbrian kilometres; and the skeletal Bradley Wiggins will start the Tour in the white British champion's jersey after jumping his team mates on the run in; defending champion Geraint Thomas took silver, Peter Kennaugh was third and Ian Stannard fourth.

Jorg Malcherek – Continental Tyres Director

If there is one thing that can transform the way bicycle rides and handles, it's the tyres. We were fortunate enough recently to catch-up with Continental's Head of Marketing and Sales, Jorg Malcherek, together with the man who handles the brand in the UK, Shelley Childs.

The VV View: The Bergen World Championships – a Success? Mostly…

As VeloVeritas pundit and critic, Viktor said after the Bergen World Championships; ‘where would we be without him?’ Peter Sagan. Cipo had it, Boonen had it, Peter has it – but Vik and I are both worried about who can pick up the ‘cycling’s showman and charismatic star’ baton when he finally hands his in.

La Vuelta a España 2014 – Stage 16; San Martin del Rey Aurelio – La Farrapona, 158.8 km. Alberto Contador From Froome

My son reckons he’s on something and will, ‘get caught; there’s no way he could break his leg in the Tour and then be as strong as he is... Let’s hope (and pray) not; but my perspective is different – I think Alberto Contador is one of the greatest stage racers the world has ever seen and as such you can’t compare him to lesser mortals. People forget that Contador has been as close to death as a man can get and still survive.

Scottish Road Race Championship 2013 – Gary Hand at Last!

On a gloriously sunny Sunday afternoon in North East Scotland, Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes' Gary Hand finally took the Scottish Road Race Championship after a blistering attack on the main climb of the day took him clear of 2012 champion, James McCallum (Rapha Condor JLT) and Davie Lines (MG-Maxifuel Pro Cycling) over the top of the hill.

Tour de Trossachs 2014 – Golds for Chris Smart and Lynsey Curran

Paisley Velo's Chris Smart joined the likes of Ian Steel, Billy Bilsland, Graeme Obree and Jason MacIntyre on the Tour de Trossachs roll of honour with a fine 1:08:10 winning ride on a cool, grey morning which favoured the strong men. Last year's winner, Silas Goldsworthy (Sandy Wallace Cycles) was second with 1:09:29 and fast pedalling David Griffiths (Glasgow Wheelers) third in 1:09:47. VeloVeritas drove the whole course and snapped about every rider...