We are back to the common finish of Milano – Torino again in 2021. Last year was an edition, which due to the pandemic, that suited the sprinters. On Wednesday, we have a double ascent of the Superga to find the next winner of Milano – Torino.
It is not an easy climb, but it is worth remembering it is a bit irregular. It has three spots around 1000m at 10%+.
They do the climb twice. The first time, they do not turn left at the very end but keep moving east before doing the descend. Afterwards, they come back around and do the climb once more.
The weather will be much nicer in Milano – Torino compared to the recent Italian one-day races. Temperatures around 20 degrees, almost no wind, and no rain. Below is the forecast for Torino.
How will the race pan out?
Normally, it is a bit dull until Superga. The first time up is used for early attacks, which rarely make it to the line. It is used to thin out the group and send satellite riders up the road. The second time is where the race, at least in 2018 + 2019, is decided.
Furthermore, it is often riders who have excelled in La Vuelta a Espana or Giro dell’Emilia who do well in this race. In my opinion, it suits the climbers more than the puncheurs.
Primoz Roglic must start at the favorite tomorrow. As mentioned, if you do well at La Vuelta and Giro dell’Emilia, you are likely to do well here. He won both of them. Sepp Kuss will be the main domestique as George Bennett is not having the best of seasons, I think due to a weird race calender. He did this race once in 2017 and ended 66th. Four years later, he is another cyclist. He will be a very hard man to drop.
Tadej Pogacar does not have the best results as of late. He was good at the Euro Champs, did not finish Giro dell’Emilia but was third today at Tre Valli Varesine where he also punctured at a crucial point. It is clear he is in form is good, and he is one of the few riders that can beat Roglic. If is hard to say anything about him as Giro dell’Emilia would have been the race to really see where he is. Instead, he was doing wheelies on San Luca. To be honest, I think he is in very good shape.
Adam Yates ended 4th in both La Vuelta and Giro dell’Emilia. He has been on the podium in Torino twice before in his career. He is enjoying his best season yet (according to PCS) and I think it will get even better. This year, he has not beaten Pogacar or Roglic in a decisive race or stage. I think it will be difficult tomorrow too, but he is a strong podium contender.
Quick-Step brings a good duo. We are talking about Alaphilippe and Almeida. Alaphilippe won Worlds after a strong ride in Tour of Britain. This year, he has not been that impressive on longer climbs. Bare in mind, they come very fresh to the bottom of Superga and it is only a 15 minute effort. Given his current form, I think he will challenge for the win. Almeida looked good in Giro dell’Emilia and before that he dominated Tour of Luxembourg. If he has the same legs as in the third week of the Giro d’Italia 2021, he is a hard man to shake.
ISUN brings a duo too. Dan Martin and Mike Woods. Dan Martin will end his career in Il Lombardia on Saturday which I think is a shame. In Giro dell’Emilia, he was not in the front group which won, but he attacked from the pack and ended 6th. He is a fighter and he will never throw in the towel. I think Woods has a better chance. He won here back in 2019 and recently did better than Martin in Giro dell’Emilia, finishing 3rd. I expect both of them to be up there amongst the very best.
FDJ brings a French duo. Gaudu and Pinot was the recipe for a win in 2018 but Pinot has not had the same good run of form before the race this time. As we all know, the Frenchman has suffered from a back injury most season and has not looked dominant since his return. He was in the front group in Coppa Bernocchi before Evenepoel launched a big solo. He is looking better, but I would be surprised if he won. A win for Gaudu would not be as surprising but still seems difficult. I expect both of them up there but I doubt they will win.
Trek – Segafredo is the last team to bring a deadly duo. Nibali was strong in Giro di Sicilia and was 17th today in Tre Valli Varesine. Mollema ended 7th in Giro dell’Emilia and he looks to get better and better with each race. Today, he did not finish, I can only expect to save himself for Milano – Torino. None of them looks to be in peak form which makes it almost impossible to beat the field here.
Who will win?
I think we will see another win for Roglic on Italian ground. He seems to be the rider here in the best shape and that is needed in a race with this startlist.