Ride Like the Pros: Recreate the Classic 185-Mile Milan-San Remo Route

When talk turns to the classic road races of professional cycling, it’s inevitably the Tour de France and the Giro D’Italia that are prominent in the conversation.
But there’s plenty more to road biking than the Grand Tours, with the five ‘monument’ races offering cyclists of all abilities a fun, albeit punishing, long weekend of action – even if the pros manage to squeeze in the huge 185-mile long circuit within a single day!

Of them, the classic route from Milan to San Remo is perhaps the one that appeals the most, given its relatively flat routing and diverse landscapes – from the architectural highlights of the capital down to the stunning Italian Riviera.
If that sounds good, here’s how you can recreate the Milan-San Remo race… maybe just schedule more than a day for it.

Italian Stallions

The 2024 edition of Milan-San Remo will take place in March as normal, with the ‘Flying Dutchman’ Mathieu van der Poel the favourite to defend his title in the sports betting online at odds of 7/2. A bet calculator confirms that this will return £1 for every £3.50 wagered if he can prevail.

The likes of Wout van Aert (6/1), Tadej Pogacar (10/1) and home favourite Filippo Ganna (10/1) are considered the most likely to challenge the speedster from the Netherlands, although it may come as a surprise that Pogacar – one of the most explosive talents in world cycling – is nothing more than a dangerous outsider as per the bookmakers.

That is down to the unique routing and landscapes of this Milan-San Remo track. It’s very much one for the sprinters, with plenty of flat and downhill sections enabling breakneck speeds or, for more relaxed amateurs, a chance to recharge the batteries.

That said, fans of climbs also have plenty to enjoy about the route, with the Poggio hill near San Remo delivering a punishing 2.5-mile long ascent at an elevation gain of around 500ft at a gradient of 3.7%.

The top of the hill offers fantastic views across the Italian Riviera, before culminating in a fast, curvy run downhill to the centre of San Remo, where the professional race takes its chequered flag.

At that point, you can dismount and put your feet up – or cool them off in the Ligurian Sea. There’s plenty to enjoy in the local(ish) vicinity, with Nice and Cannes a hop and a skip away over the border in France and Corsica about three hours away by boat.

Winter Warmer

Generally speaking, the mercury can hit 10°C in northwest Italy in March, so conditions are typically pretty good for road cycling in the spring.

But that’s not to say that there aren’t curveballs thrown, with early editions of the Milan-San Remo race beset by the most challenging weather. In fact, in 1910 the snowstorms were so severe that the cyclists took refuge in houses along the route – just four of the 63 entrants completed the race. In 2013, the race was shortened by some 32 miles with two climbs removed from the route, such was the treacherous nature of the snow and ice.


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    With summer temperatures regularly surpassing 30°C, you’ll want to plan your journey at a time of year that suits your weather-related preferences, but no matter when you head to the region, you will be met with fantastic landscapes as you plow through Piedmont and Lombardy, take in the sublime city streets of Novi Ligure and tackle the hamstring-stiffening ‘Capo’ climbs as you head towards that Poggio di San Remo conclusion.

    So, if you’re looking for a speed test in glorious surroundings, look no further than the Milan-San Remo route for your next cycling sojourn.

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    Ride Like the Pros: Recreate the Classic 185-Mile Milan-San Remo Route — Bike Hacks