17/03/13 - 8:10 PM
Road race - Men
Milano - Sanremo • Stage1

Road race - Men
Milano - Sanremo - 17 March 2013

Milano - Sanremo – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 20:10 on 17 March 2013. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Result: 1. Gerald Ciolek, 2. Peter Sagan, 3. Fabian Cancellara, 4. Sylvain Chavanel, 5. Luca Paolini, 6. Ian Stannard, 7. Taylor Phinney, 8. Alexander Kristoff +14, 9. Mark Cavendish +14, 10. Bernard Eisel +14.


Sagan just didn't have the legs and Gerald Ciolek kept on going to the line and just stole the win. Fantastic result for the German and his team MTN-Qhubeka.


Sagan looks to have it wrapped up - BUT CIOLEK TAKES THE WIN WITH A FINAL SURGE OF PACE!


Stannard leads the leaders with Sagan and Ciolek in his wheel. There's a BMC rider closing in from behind...


Stannard is closed down - a brave effort from the British powerhouse. Six riders together go under the final kilometre banner.


Neither Sagan nor Cancellara want to lead the chase and Stannard opens up a small gap.


Sagan attacks from distance! Cancellara has it covers. Paolini and Ciolek follow, as do Stannard and Chavanel. Now Stannard powers clear fromn behind.


Paolini has joined the leaders so we have six in front: Chavanel, Stannard, Sagan, Cancellara, Ciolek and Paolini.


Further back, another Sky rider comes off his bike.


Sagan, Cancellara and Ciolek have almost caught Chavanel and Stannard. Sagan is taking on loads of liquids in preparation of this finish.


Chavanel and Stannard are looking over their shoulders - they know that they only have a matter of seconds. It has really strung out on the descent - but the leaders are about to be caught.


The main pack is over the summit of the Poggio - and now there's a frantic 6km descent down to San Remo.


Luca Paolini of Katusha attacks from the pack as Iglinski is caught. Sagan, Pozzato, Ciolek, Cancellara and Paolini are on the front of the chasers as the leading duo cross the summit.


Stannard attacks again but Chavanal has it covered. Vorganov has been caught by the pack, with Iglinski fading fast.


Cannondale are on the front. Sagan has one rider pacing him up. Iglinski, winner of Liege-Bastogne-Liege, has dropped Vorganov.


Chavanel ups the pace and Stannard digs deep to hold on. Iglinski catches Vorganov. The two leaders still have 32 seconds on the main pack.


Stannard with a huge dig. Vorganov is dropped but Chavanel is there. Back with the chasers, Gilbert has moved back to the front. Maxim Iglinsky of Astana has put in an attack from the main pack. He has Vorganov in his sights!


The three leaders hold a 27-second lead going onto the Poggio. It's a 3.7km climb with an average gradient of 3.7% and maximum gradient of 8km.


Vorganov is the Russian national champion. He's doing the least amount of work, it seems. Back in the pack, Vini Fantini have moved to the front. Cancellara is there, but Gilbert is dropping back a little.


Chavanel has now taken off his black cape so he is more recognisable in his blue Omega Pharma top. Cannondale are leading the chase. The gap is 20 seconds. Stannard also has shed his black rain cover to reveal his British natonal champion jersey.


Gilbert and Roelandts have called it a day and have sat up for the main pack. So we have three out ahead as we approach the Poggio - Chavanel, Vorganov and Stannard. The gap is 27 seconds.


Gilbert and Roelandts are riding together in pursuit of the three leaders. On the front, Stannard tucks into a power bar ahead of the Poggio. No one expected to see him in the reckoning at this stage of the race.


Eduard Vorganov (Katusha), Ian Stannard (Sky) and Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) have forced a gap on the front. But they're not combining too well, with Stannard angry at having to set the pace.


Chavanel leads the chase on the descent. Gilbert, wearing a full white outfit with the rainbow stripes, is one of the easiest riders to recognise - so man of the others are decked out in black. It's coming back together, with a cluster of riders returning to Gilbert's wheel, including Cancellara, Stannard, Sagan...


ATTACK: Gibert has attacked on the descent of the Cipressa. The world champion has opened up a little bit of air between him and the chasers.


Gerrans is one of the many riders to be dropped, but Cancellara is there. As is Arthur Vichot, who is seen as a dark horse by many.


Now Cannondale have come to the front to take up the slack. The world champion Gilbert is there too. For Sky, there's Stannard.


Lampre's Adriano Malori leads the peloton, with Petacchi, Chavanel and Gilbert looking strong. Andre Greipel has been dropped.


Edvald Boasson Hagan has been dropped on the Cipressa. It's all going wrong for Sky, who lost Thomas in that crash moments ago and now see their trump card fall back.


The Cipressa lasts 5.65km at an average gradient of 4.1% and a maximum gradient of 9%. The five leaders look to have been reeled in, forcing a counter attack from Maxim Bouet, which is covered by Chavanel. It's coming back together again though.


Five riders - Bouet, Lovkvist, Chavanel, Moser, and Roelandts - have taken advantage of the disruption in the peloton following that crash. They have opened up a little gap at the start of the Cipressa. Sylvain Chavanel is one of the five leaders.


CRASH: Sky and Garmin go down. It's Tyler Farrar and Geraint Thomas. Looks like a touch of wheels beside a zebra crossing.


Ian Stannard, with his British national champion helmet, is tucked in behind Kiryienka on the front of the pack. Vacansoleil have three riders leading the chase in the second group off the back of the peloton.


The race is back together after Bak, Belkov and Rosa are all reeled in by the main pack, which is about 80-strong.


Mirko Selvaggi of Vacansoleil needs a bike change and it's taking an age. He'll have a big fight to get back on with the leaders.


Bak has 31 seconds over Belkov and Rosa, with the Sky-led peloton rolling along at one minute.


Bak attacks going over the top of the Barta. Rosa is following on the descent. It's very wet and slippery - the peloton will not like this.


Vincenzo Nibali has abandoned the race. The Italian, winner last week in Tirreno-Adriatico, just couldn't get warm enough.


Belkov is setting the pace up the Barta, with Bak and Rosa in tow. The carrots are cooked for Lastras and Motaguti. The peloton is 2:15 down on the leaders now.


Franco Pellizotti of Androni Giocattoli calls it a day with a grimace.


Sky have now come to the front with Vasil Kiryienka taking a large pull. Edvald Boasson Hagen is three men back, just ahead of Bernie Eisel. Looks like they mean business. Meanwhile, the five leaders are onto the Capo Barta. Bak sheds his rain jacket and picks up a water bottle just as Diego Rosa puts in an attack. Belkov and Bak can follow, but Lastras and Montaguti clearly have too heavy legs and they've been dropped.


Nibali has stopped on the side of the road - but it's not to abandon. It seems like he needs to be stationary to change his jersey.


According to Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Sylvain Chavanel has not withdrawn from the race. With around half the peloton wearing black jackets, it's quite difficult to see who's who, so such a piece of news is not wholly surprising. Off the back of the peloton, Nibali is getting some dry clothes from his Astana team car. He's realy been suffering in the cold today. The leaders are over the Cervo now. They have 2:18 over the pack.


The pace has dropped a little as Astana bring a man to the front to slow things down because of Nibali's discomfort. Europcar have moved forward, with Thomas Voeckler tucked alongside Bernie Eisel of Sky. The five leaders have 2:37. Montaguti is still grimacing.


Cannondale are really upping the tempo on the Capo Melo. They're on the descent now. Sacha Modolo of Bardiani Valvole needs a front wheel change. The five leaders are onto the Capo Cervo.


Astana, Sky and Cannondale lead the chase on the front of the pack. Nibali is stil struggling on the back of the peloton, but he's trying to move up with a team-mate now.


The leaders are onto the first of the 'tre capo' climbs, the Mele. They have three minutes over the peloton. Lars Bak is clapping his hands in a bid to return a bit of circulation to his arms. Quite a few riders in the pack are shedding their water proofs now - probably because they cannot exactly get much wetter.


The leaders are approaching the Mele, Cervo and Berta climbs. Back with the peloton and things are stretching out. Many riders appear to be tailing off. Reminder of the five leaders: Belkov, Bal, Montaguti, Rosa and Lastras. They have 2:40 over the pack.


First sighting of Fabian Cancellara, who looks comfortable, albeit very wet. The five leaders have just over four minutes over the pack now.


Things are not going well for Omega Pharma-QuickStep, who lose Sylvain Chavanel and Michal Kwiatkowski. Cavendish now just has two team-mates left: Martin Velits and Zdenek Stybar.


Lars Bak is trying to blow hot air into his gloves - meanwhile, Lastras has resorted to picking up a fresh pair from his team car. The leaders ave 4:25 over the chasing pack.


A first sighting of Mark Cavendish - and it appears that the Manxman is the only rider in the peloton not wearing leg warmers. The sprinter, entirely in black, is off the back of the peloton after dropping back to his team car - perhaps to shed those leg warmers.


Filippo Fortin has been dropped by the leading group so we have just five in the break now. The gap is down to 4:35 so it's tumbling fairly quickly now.


The gap has dropped under the five-minute mark. Meanwhile, Roberto Ferrari is the latest rider to drop back to his team car in seach of better gloveware. The Lampre sprinter could be a factor in today's finish - especially in this dangerous conditions.


Astana's Vincenzo Nibali looks fed up too. He's currently at the back of the peloton and thumping his fists in a bid to get some water out of his gloves. The Italian knows that his chances of winning this race are pretty small now that the race has been shortened and deprived of its two major climbs.


To be fair, the six leaders look thoroughly miserable. They're all sodden and the rain drops running down their faces look unmistakably like tears - especially on the face of Matteo Montaguti.


Of course, there's still a big chance that this break stays out. The six leaders have 5:12 over the pack with 84km remaining. Of the six, Lars Bak probably has the best sprint - although an experienced rider like Pablo Lastras could spring a surprise on the Cipressa.


Some other names we have not mentioned yet: Tyler Farrar of Garmin-Sharp will fancy his chances if it comes to a bunch sprint, as will Gerald Ciolek of MTN-Qhubeka. Sky have Boasson Hagen and Thomas - although the latter will struggle now the race has been shortened. Alessandro Petacchi could be in the mix - but does the old boy have enough speed in his legs when it comes to a big bunch gallop?


Tom Boonen, who earlier withdrew from the race, is not happy with the race organisers: "I think my decision says enough. This is partly a precaution, but also a statement to the organisation. They knew long enough that there was so much snow on the road. What happens now is the fault of the organisation. Have you ever wanted to bicycle through the snow? There are nicer things than this. I'm completely frozen."


The sea looks fairly choppy as it crashes against the cliffs of the Ligurian coast. MTN-Qhubeka are having a bit of a shocker, with two riders needing wheel changes in rapid succession. Meanwhile, one of the Europcar boys is calling it a day.


Garmin, Astana, Argos and Sky are all near the front at the moment, marshalling matters. The gap is down to 5'35" now.


Following Goss's withdrawal, Orica-GreenEdge will put all their eggs in the basket marked Gerrans now - which is a worry, for the Australian is not in the best of form. That said, Jens Keukeleire is a dark horse - although perhaps not in this new shortened redux of the race.


Lars Bak, one of the six escapees, has a mini mudguard attached to the back of his saddle to keep his bum from getting overly wet. The gap is down to 6:15.


Australia's Matt Goss, the 2011 winner, has withdrawn from Milan-San Remo. Apparently the GreenEdge sprinter was involved in that early crash and has been in a bit of pain.


The six escapees hold a lead of 6'55" over the peloton so the advantage has only come down some 15 seconds since the restart.


The consensus is that this race has now very much become one for the sprinters, what with the cancellation of the Manie climb, which is traditionally where a selection is made. The likes of Vincenzo Nibali and Fabian Cancellara will have to alter their tactics - because they don't stand too much of a chance against the pure sprinters.


Astana, Lampre, Argos Shimano and Cannonale leading the chase in the peloton now. The rain is pouring down now and it's very windy too. Live pictures from San Remo show that there's no rain at the finish, though - at the moment.


Tom Boonen is not the only Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider to pull out: Niki Terpstra and Stijn Vandenbergh also called it a day during that enforced break.


The chase is on from the outset - the big favourites will want those leaders reeled in sooner rather than later. Le Manie may be skipped, but we still have the 'tre capi' of the Mele, Cervo and Berta climbs ahead of the decisive Cipressa and Poggio. Don't you worry - there's still a lot of racing to go today.


The peloton is looking rather anxious as they await the restart. The Cannondale team-mates of Peter Sagan are on the front with their trademark green jerseys. There's a lot of water on the road.


STAGE TWO UNDER WAY: The second part of today's shortened Milan-San Remo is now under way, with the six-man break on the road. Once 7'10" is up, the peloton will be allowed to leave - and we'll finally have some racing (albeit minus the famous climb of Le Manie).


News has come through that Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) will not take to the restart.


One thing is certain: the six escapees will hold their 7'10" advantage over the peloton going into the restart, wherever it may be. A reminder of their names: Matteo Montaguti (Ag2R), Lars Bak (Lotto Belisol), Pablo Lastras (Movistar), Filippo Fortin (Bardiani Valvole), Maxim Belkov (Katusha) and Diego Rosa (Androni Giocatto). And click on this link to see what they looked like during the snow...


UPDATE: The latest rumour is that the race will now restart in the coastal town of Cogoleto with 131km remaining - but with the usually pivotal climb of Le Manie still taken out.


10 minutes to go until the second scheduled restart. With both the Passo del Turchino and La Manie cut from the 94th edition of Milan-San Remo, the race will now be 202km long and not the original 298km.


One rider who won't restart after the break is Dutch Tour Down Under winner Tom Jelle Slagter of Team Blanco.


We've mentioned all the big favourites today, but here are some other contenders: Daniele Bennati (Saxo Bank), Andre Greipel (Lotto), John Degenkolb (Argos), Arnaud Demare (FDJ), Filippo Pozzato (Lampre), Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini), Andrey Amador (Movistar), Davide Appollonio (Ag2R). But of course, this shortened route will change everything...


So, the initial scenario was that the race would restart with 132km remaining at Arenzano. But now, with La Manie climb removed, the race will restart at the 213km-mark at Finale Ligure at 2pm UK time (3pm local time) - that's to say, with just 85km remaining. The six leaders - Belkov, Bak, Montaguti, Rosa, Fortin and Lastras - will still have 7'10" over the peloton, which changes the outlook immensely. There is a good chance that the break could now stay out all the way.


UPDATE: The restart has been put off to 2pm UK time, 3pm local time. Also - and this is of vital importance - the climb of La Manie has been taken out of the race. Quite what that means with the break's advantage is anyone's guess - well keep you updated.


10 minutes away from the restart in Arenzano. It will be interesting to see how many riders call it a day. Remember, the break will start with a 7'10" advantage over the peloton.


The rumours coming from the team buses en route to the restart is that many riders will not get back in the saddle at Arenzano. Be prepared for many withdrawals - and can you blame them?


If Sagan wins today, the Slovakian will become the youngest rider in 46 years to win Milan-San Remo, since Eddy Merckx won the race in 1967 aged 21 years and 275 days. Sagan is 23 years and 50 days old.


One more hour until the restart. Many riders have been posting pictures from inside the team buses on Twitter. The images tell the story of the day: ice encrusted helmets, snotty noses and tears. The 104th edition of Milan-San Remo has been brutal - and the actual race has yet to begin.


This picture from the RadioShack Twitter feed shows just what the riders are having to cope with today as they enter the neutralised section at Ovada and head to the haven of the team buses.


RACE NEUTRALISED AT OVADA: The six leaders take a 7'10" advantage into the enforced neutralised section of the race, which will be carried out in team buses. Milan-San Remo will resume near the 160km mark at 2.30pm local time (1.30pm UK time). A reminder of the leaders: Belkov, Bak, Montaguti, Rosa, Fortin and Lastras.


The leaders have almost reached Ovada for the enforced neutralised section. The next climb, La Manie, is apparently overcast but dry and clear, so we should get a good race following the restart.


Official statement from the race organisers: Due to the unfavourable weather, the Race Management – by agreement with the Commissaires Panel – has decided to neutralize the race in the stretch of route between Ovada and Arenzano (subject to further assessment of the weather conditions in Arenzano). The race time of the breakaways and their lead over the chasing group will be "frozen" in Ovada and the status quo will then be resumed in Arenzano, where the race will start again around 2:30pm.


Three withdrawals to report: Robert Vrecer (Euskaltel), Lars Peter Nordhaug (Blanco) and Martin Reimer (MTN-Qhubeka).


The break is around 15km from the start of the neutralised section at Ovada. They will take buses for 45km and then restart at Arenzano at around 2:30pm local time.


We're about 30km from the neutralised section and the gap is down to 8'30" for the six escapees. The peloton clearly worried about giving the leaders too much leeway ahead of the enforced break - which will be carried out in buses over the Passo del Turchino.


If you joined our coverage late, here's the big news: the race will be neutralised between 117km and 163km because of heavy snow fall on the Turchino Pass. Apparently the weather is fine on the other side and there should be a dry run in down to the coast. There's even talk of dry tyres for the riders after the restart. As it is, a break of six have around nine minutes as they plough on.


The lead has dropped below the 10-minute mark for the six escapees as the peloton gets its act together. They will be eager to keep a check on the advantage now that 50-odd kilometres of the race have been chopped out.


Not much has been said about Orica-GreenEdge's chances today but the Australian team boasts the two previous winners of Milan-San Remo in Simon Gerrans and Matt Goss.


BMC have a wealth of options today: as well as Gibert, they have another former world champion in Thor Hushovd, plus possible cards to play with Greg van Avermaet and Daniel Oss. Omega Pharma-Quick Step are another team with many options: Mark Cavendish, Sylvain Chavanel and Tom Boonen are a formidable trio - but will they get over the Poggio in touch with the leaders?


If Philippe Gilbert wins today, the Belgian will join the small exclusive group of reigning world champions who have won Milan-San Remo. The others are: Alfredo Binda (1931), Eddy Merckx (1972 and 1975), Felice Gimondi (1974) and, most recently, Giuseppe Saronni (19 March 1983).


Knowing that the neutralisation of this large segment of the race will clearly work to their advantage, the break is now going full throttle. They have 12'30" over the pack - which would be a pretty tidy gap once the race restarts after 167km.


Crash in the peloton: Michael Schar (BMC), Angel Vicioso (Katusha) and MTN - Qhubeka duo Sergio Pardilla and Jim Songezo all taking a spill.


It's a false alarm: the Team Sky bus has been spotted so Geraint Thomas, Edvald Boasson Hagen et al won't have to hitch hike their way to the restart.


Just to confirm, you did read that correctly: the riders will take team buses between 117km and 163km because of the snow on the Passo del Turchino. The time gaps will be maintained from the start of the climb. A chance to warm up and talk tactics. It's a problem for Team Sky though - they don't have a bus here apparently...


The neutralisation will mean a bus ride from 117km to 163km the time gap of the breakaway will be kept at the foot of the climb. This will affect the chase, for sure, because the likes of Astana and Cannondale would have probably set a hard tempo up the Turchino pass for their men Nibali and Sagan. The upshot is that we may see the break's advantage come down a bit earlier for fear that they could have too much of an advantage going into the second phase of the race.


It's official: heavy snowfall has forced organisers into neutralising the ascent and descent of the Passo del Turchino (between the 117km and 137km mark). To see why, click on the picture link below...


Six previous winners of Milan-San Remo took to the start today: Alessandro Petacchi (2005), Fiippo Pozzato (2006), Fabian Cancellara (2008), Mark Cavendish (2009), Matt Goss (2011) and Simon Gerrans (2012). Cancellara, one of the pre-race favourites today, has finished runner-up for two years running - pipped both times by Australians.


Known as "La Classica di Primavera", Milan-San Remo is the first of the five 'Monuments' of European cycling and, at almost 300km in length, the longest one-day classic of the season. Eddy Merckx holds the record number of wins after claiming seven victories in the 60s and 70s.


A reminder of the six leaders, who now have a gap of 10'55" over the peloton: Matteo Montaguti (Ag2R), Lars Bak (Lotto Belisol), Pablo Lastras (Movistar), Filippo Fortin (Bardiani Valvole), Maxim Belkov (Katusha) and Diego Rosa (Androni Giocatto).


The descent of the Turchino is very likely to be neutralised - either that or they will take a different route. The snow is getting very heavy. After that, the big climb of La Manie is usually the point where a first selection is made. Given the conditions, you'd expect many people to retire from the race should they not be in touch with the peloton at this point - about 205km into the race.


The six-man leading group has 6'30" over the peloton now at this early phase of the race.


Confirmation that there is indeed snow on the course today. This picture is taken from the motorway leading to the Passo del Turchino, the first of today's climbs. It looks pretty ominous...


Should the race be together after the Poggio, then Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) will take some beating. The Belgian team also have Tom Boonen and Sylvain Chavanel to play with. World champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) cannot be discounted, although defending champion Simon Gerrans (GreenEdge) seems to be short of form. Perhaps the race will be won on the downhill? In which case, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) will be one to watch after his Tirreno-Adriatico win.


So, who are the big favourites for today's win? Well, for many it's hard to look past the in-form Peter Sagan (Cannondale) who is the indisputed favourite. Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack) will look to go one better than his two successive second-place finishes. The likes of Thor Hushovd (BMC) and Heinrich Haussler (IAM) will like these conditions.


Reports coming in that there is snow falling on the Passo del Turchino, the first big climb of the day after around 140km. The two decisive climbs of the race come towards the end - the Cipressa and the Poggio. It is usually here that the race is won or lost.


BREAK: Six riders have pinged off the front. They are Matteo Montaguti (Ag2R), Lars Bak (Lotto Belisol), Pablo Lastras (Movistar), Filippo Fortin (Bardiani Valvole), Maxim Belkov (Katusha) and Diego Rosa (Androni Giocatto).


Adriano Malori of Lampre has taken a spill before the race has even left Milan. There are going to be lots of those today in these adverse conditions.


The race is under way! Gloves, leg warmers and rain jackets are the order of the day for the peloton in this foul weather.


As expected, it's wet, foul and rather miserable today at the start in Milan. The clouds are grey and the temperature is currently 4 degrees celsius. It's going to be a grim epic, that's for sure.


Good morning and welcome to live coverage of Milan-San Remo - "la classica di Primavera" and the first of the five Monuments of European cycling.