Milan - Sanremo 2006
From the 1994 Paris-Nice, Cipollini, Baldato and Abdujaparov, all of them with 2 victories already in their pockets, sent clear messages of great fitness in view of the incoming Milan-San Remo, together with Baffi, capable of 10 victories in just over 40 days.
Meanwhile, at Tirreno-Adriatico, Giorgo Furlan won 2 stages in Montemonaco and Monte Urano, as well as the final classification of the “Race of the 2 Seas”, showing an extraordinary climbing shape, supported by the emerging talent of Evgueni Berzin.
Three days later, in the Classica di Primavera, already on the Turchino climb Argentin, Bontempi and Bobrike kept a very high pace in order to “kill” the legs of the sprinters and keep the race together.
Furlan was pedaling in the belly of the pelont, protected by his teammate Volpi, trying not to waste any precious energy.
Giorgio in fact had courageously decided to play his only card: the one of the Poggio, under the sharp and perfect direction of Argentin.
On the Cipressa, a violent attack of Chiappucci, Cassani, Alcala, Musseuw and Zanini, promptly stopped by Berzin.
On the Poggio, again the phenomenal Berzin closed up the gap on a good progression by Cassani and was able to keep a very high speed, stretching the group of all the favourite riders. No one was able to get ahead of the wheels of the young Russian.
Just a few hundred meters and in the short 7% gradient distance, before the false flat, Furlan took flight: almost ramming into the always present motorbikes, he annihilated the adversaries with a fatal progression (pushing a 53x14…).
Getting on top with a 15 seconds advantage on the chasing group, he snatched the victory on the arrival in Via Roma; Cipollini took second place, dominating the bunch sprint.
Milan-San Remo 2006:
The sprinters, Petacchi and Boonen above all the others, monopolized the forecasts at the eve of the Spring Classic; their teams trying to keep the peloton sewn together and trying to “sedate” the race whenever climbing: but the speed is high indeed, both on Cipressa (done in 9’50”) and Poggio (in 6’01”) and while the group was wide stretched, Alessandro Ballano proposed a powerful acceleration exactly in the same point where Furlan took flight 12 years before.
Pozzato alone could respond to him and stick to his wheels, after all the support work he had done for his teammate Boonen.
The deciding move of the race: 4 other riders caught up with the leadin duo, Astarloa among them. At the end of the winding Poggio descent, Petacchi didn’t have any other teammate to close up the gap, even though of only 7-8 seconds.
Pozzato controlled all the accelerations of his breakaway companions almost with too much boldness:“In order to win La San Remo, you must risk to lose it” , as the suiveurs usually said.
Petacchi, propelled by Zabel, put the afterburners, even though with Boonen on his wheel, but Filippo had energy and legs to spurt out, conquering his first great Classic.