As always there are two scenarios; mass sprint or break away on Poggio. Therefore I have divided my favorites into two categories. Here they are:
|Nibali attacking with |
2 km to go in 2010.
|Cancellara's solo win in 2008.|
|Cavendish' photo-finish win in 2009.|
|Freire made it look easy with his third|
Milano-San Remo victory in 2010.
No fun without a couple of jokers, so here we go. First up is Marco Marcato. A lot of people may have forgotten this, but Marcato actually had a real chance of winning Milano - San Remo last year. Being the only other fast guy in the front group after Poggio, Marcato crashed on the descent and never managed to get back to the front. This year Marco Marcato seems to be stronger than ever before and after having worked hard on his sprint in the winter season, I think Marcato could be right up there among the best riders on Saturday.
Being as close as only Zabel has been to winning Milano - San Remo, Heinrich Haussler was denied the win by Mark Cavendish in 2009. Ever since Haussler has only been “close” to winning big races. Nevertheless he is always in the mix when the winner has to be found. To me it seems like Haussler is in good enough shape right now to pull off a top performance again this time and if it comes down to a sprint, he is definitely a rider to watch.
Other names for a mass sprint is Andre Greipel and Tom Boonen while Alessandro Ballan and Matti Breschel are good picks in a break away group.
Update: A lot of people is already asking why Peter Sagan isn't on the list. Well, of course Sagan has a real chance of winning Milano-San Remo but so many things need to go his way. If it comes down to a sprint, Sagan most likely needs to beat Cavendish, Greipel, Freire etc - can he do that? If not, he has to get away on Poggio and as I said, I think that is Nibali's only chance. Of course if something happens to Nibali, Sagan can play his cards on Poggio, but a lot of things really need to Sagan's way in order to win this race.