Article submitted by Twitter user @cyclingbolar

Elia Viviani Victory/ © Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team – © Tim De Waele / Getty Images

We have our first big classic of the year, the famous Milan-San Remo. Last year a small group got away on the Poggio and Michael Kwiatkowski out-sprinted Peter Sagan and Julian Alaphilippe. The sprinters came in 6 seconds down led home by Alexander Kristoff.

So how will this years race play out? Your guess is as good as mine. Either we’ll see the same as last year or come down to a sprint with a reduced group of about 10-20 riders. We’ll cover both scenarios with riders to watch out for.

You can check the odds with the following link. Odds will be displayed as win first then top 3. Crownbet Markets

Apparently Crown will be having a top 10 market up for the race. Keep an eye out for that. 

Team Sky

Team Sky’s only chance to win is by a late attack like last year. Michael Kwiatkowski $8/$2.40 and Gianni Moscon $51/$13 are their only hopes to deliver a win in this race. They are certainly both strong enough and Moscon is more than ready to win at this distance but the only way he wins is by a solo attack. It will be hard to pull off.

 

Astana

Team Astana have a strong team here and they will be one of the main protagonists. They will probably send Omar Fraile in the early break, but there’s two riders that can go with Kwiatkowski and the other attackers and they are Alexey Lutsenko $101/$26 & Luis Leon Sanchez $201/$51. Magnus Cort ($34/$9) will be their man for the sprint and will wait in the peloton, but he too has the power to attack.

BMC Racing Team

They will be all in for Greg Van Avermaet ($26/$6). Van Avermaet can wait for the sprint or attack. He’ll most likely go with the attack because he will be hard pressed beating some of the faster sprinters. It’s win or nothing for Van Avermaet and I think he will give a great sight.

Bora Hansgrohe 

Peter Sagan $3/$1.40. Need I say anymore. One thing for certain, whether it’s a sprint from a group of less than 5 riders or a bigger group sprint, Sagan will be there at the business end of the race. Only a puncture will stop him from contesting the finish unless there’s a rider good enough to solo away which is unlikely!

Groupama-FDJ

They will be all in for Arnaud Demare $13/$3.40. He won this race 2 years ago and I was on him that day at like $81 as he is one of my favourite riders. He’s a legitimate chance to win this for a second time with the form he is in!

Mitchelton-Scott

Caleb Ewan $34/$9 was in the bunch 6 seconds down last year. They will be supporting him this weekend. Ewan, however, hasn’t looked as sharp this year as in previous years and he pulled out of Tirreno-Adriatico last week. So who knows where he is at. Matteo Trentin $26/$6 could be one to win from a select group, but personally, a rider I’m already on, who I think is a genuine contender at long odds is Daryl Impey $101/$26. The South African has started the season strong with the overall win at the Tour Down Under and a stage victory. If he is there at Ewan isn’t, they will go all in for him.

Quick-Step Floors

We go now to the strongest team in the race. The outcome of this race depends on what this team does. They have numerous options. Elia Viviani $10/$2.80 has been on fire this year. You could have gotten odds of over $41 for him earlier in the year. If this does come down to a sprint, Elia Viviani is probably the favourite.

We then look at their attackers. Philippe Gilbert $23/$5.40 and Julian Alaphilippe $16/$4. Gilbert is focusing more on other races later in the Spring and so Alaphilippe ‘should’ be there like last year. His form this year hasn’t been as good, so there is some sort of question mark there. Personally, I think they should be all in for Viviani here. Use Gilbert and Alaphillipe to bring the group back on the descent and final kilometres and set Viviani up for the sprint. That’s the only way they win this race as I don’t think either can go solo which is what they need to do to win.

If Gaviria was racing (broke his hand last week), then they would be in the box position as they could have Gaviria go with the attackers to outsprint them all whilst having Viviani sit back for the sprint. Unfortunately for them, that can’t happen. IMO, that only leaves one option. Viviani or nothing.

Movistar

Alejandro Valverde $34/$9 definitely won’t be dropped and can win from a select small group. He is in brilliant form this year. He will be a main protagonist, but can’t see him winning this race.

Ag2r La Mondiale 

Like Sky, Ag2r’s chance is with the late attack with two riders standing out. Alexis Vuillermoz $81/$21 and Tony Gallopin $201/$51. Both are in good form with solid showings at Paris-Nice last week.

UAE Team Emirates 

Diego Ulissi $201/$51 will definitely try to attack. They will be hoping that it comes back for a sprint so Alexander Kristoff $10/$2.80 can win. Kristoff did win the sprint from the group last year 6 seconds down so we know he will be there. His form this year, however, hasn’t been that crash hot. But he should be there if it comes to a sprint and anything can happen after 291km.

Bahrain-Merida 

They will be all in for Sonny Colbrelli $26/$6. Heinrich Haussler $201/$51 has been second here but he is nowhere near that form. Colbrelli can either go with the late attacks or he can wait for the sprint. His best option would be going with the late attack because he won’t have the speed to beat the sprinters that will soon be mentioned that will definitely be there if it comes to a sprint.

Dimension Data

All in for Edvald Boasson-Hagen $101/$26. He has looked strong the last year or so and he can attack late or wait for the sprint. His best option is from a very select group, even then, Sagan will probably be there and I can’t see him out-sprinting Sagan. Mark Cavendish crashed in Tirreno-Adriatico so I can’t see him winning as classy as he is. But stranger things have happened.

Katusha Alpecin

Marcel Kittel $34/$9 should be more like $501/$126. He won’t win. Their best and only option here is Nathan Haas $251/$67. Haas has been in good form recently and can go with the attackers and does have a kick on him, so he is a great chance to podium. Can’t see him winning though, unfortunately.

Team Sunweb

Michael Matthews ($34/$9) will win this race in the future, but not this year. He won’t be contesting this race. He is just coming back from a broken shoulder and doesn’t have the race miles in his legs. It would be a shock if he does contest this. They have two guys to turn to. Tom Dumoulin $201/$51 could attack and could get away with a small group if he is okay after his fall in Tirreno-Adriatico last week and if he’s recovered from his cold. Nikias Arndt $201/$51 will wait for the sprint but won’t be good enough to win.

Trek Segafredo

Fabio Felline $151/$41 and Jasper Stuyven $151/$41 will be their attackers here. Both could go with the move and Felline is fast enough to be able to pull something off from a very small group or riders.

Lotto-Soudal

They really don’t have anyone to trouble with a late attack so they will be hoping Andre Greipel $26/$6 will survive. If he does, he will be hard to beat, but I can’t see Greipel winning this.

Lotto NL Jumbo

Danny Van Poppel $67/$17 is their best shot at victory here. He has won a race already this year and has been up there in a couple of others. Can’t see him pulling it off, however.

Novo Nordisk

They won’t win this race, but I do need to mention them. What they are doing, and the message they are spreading about Diabetes is commendable. This is a team that needs to be in more major races due to the message they are spreading about this horrible illness. Their best finisher will either be Andrea Peron or Brian Kamstra. Hopefully they do break through for victories this year in bigger races, but unfortunately, it won’t be this race.

I didn’t mention these teams but will mention them briefly and their best place finisher. Bardiani – CSF (Enrico Barbin), Cofidis (Christophe Laporte), Gazprom Rusvelo (Sergey Fursinov), Israel Cycling Academy (Kristian Sbaragli), Nippo – Vini Fantini – Europa Ovini (Juan Jose Lobato), Team EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale (Sacha Modolo), Wilier Triestina – Selle Italia (Jakub Mareczko).

As for my bets. I’m going to spread a couple around for different scenarios because who knows what will happen.

Daryl Impey $101/$26
Alexey Lutsenko $101/$26
Greg Van Avermaet $26/$6

Elia Viviani over Arnaud Demare @ $1.80
Greg Van Avermaet over Philippe Gilbert @ $1.80

The latter can be multied into:

Greg Van Avermaet over Philippe Gilbert x Elia Viviani over Sonny Colbrelli @ $2.88

Predictions

Not game to predict, but I will give it a go because what’s the fun in not? I predict that Van Avermaet wins and this is how.

I think a late attack will make it to the line, but only just. I see Viviani winning the sprint from the bunch. This race will mirror last years with the attackers in form, but a different result.

1. Greg Van Avermaet
2. Peter Sagan
3. Michal Kwiatkowski
4. Alexey Lutsenko

5 seconds down

5. Elia Viviani
6. Alexander Kristoff
7. Arnaud Demare
8. Sonny Colbrelli
9. Edvald Boasson-Hagen
10. Magnus Cort Nielsen

Check the odds here: Crownbet Markets

Always remember to gamble responsibly. When the fun stops. Stop!