The Milano-Sanremo presented by Crédit Agricole starts in Abbiategrasso and, after covering around 30 km of flat roads on the edge of the Ticino River, it returns to the classic route in Pavia. From there the race will head to Ovada, then to the Passo del Turchino climb that leads into Genova Voltri. From there, it rolls westwards through Varazze, Savona, Albenga to Imperia and San Lorenzo al Mare where, after the classic sequence of the Capi (Mele, Cervo and Berta), the atheltes will deal with the two climbs added in recent decades: the Cipressa (1982) and the Poggio di Sanremo (1961). The Cipressa is just over 5.6 km long with a gradient of 4.1%. The highly testing descent leads back down to SS 1 Aurelia.
The ascent of Poggio di Sanremo begins with 9 km remaining to the finish (3.7 km, average gradient less than 4%, maximum 8% in the segment before getting to the top of the climb). The road is slightly narrower, with 4 hairpin turns in the first 2 km. The descent is testing, on asphalt switchback roads, narrow at points and with twists and turns as far as the junction with SS 1 Aurelia. The final part of the descent enters urban Sanremo. The last 2 km are on long, straight urban roads. There is a left-hand bend on a roundabout 850 m from the finish line. The last bend, leading into the home straight in Via Roma, is 750 m from the finish line.
start / finish
Abbiategrasso (32 592 inhabitants – 120 m a.s.l.) is located 22km south-west of Milan, in the Ticino Park. The first settlements date back to the 1st century BC, according to archaeological findings. The name of Habiate remains until the 10th century when the epithet “Grasso” (fat), common to other places, is added to it, probably referring to the fertility of the soil.
The fortune of Habiate coincided with the possibility of making the Naviglio Grande (a canal that leads to Milan) navigable after 1270, since once the Naviglio fed the external protection moat of the village, reaching the Visconteo Castle. The heart of the city is the ancient market square, Piazza Marconi with its unique elongated triangular shape, where nowadays we can find the offices of the city hall.
The towpaths used to drag the ships have now become unique cycle paths that lead from Milan to the Maggiore Lake and to beautiful paths in the Ticino Park and towards Pavia.
On the table: Gorgonzola (a cheese with a strong flavor) Cassoela (a typical winter dish including mainly pork meat and vegetables) with polenta, Braised meat, Cold cuts from the Ticino Park, Risotto with ossobuco (Yellow salted rice with marrowbone) and many rice-based dishes.
Abbiategrasso is located in the Ticino Park and the “Parco Marchio” producers have been distinguished for years by the quality and variety of their products.
The city is part of the international circuit of the Cittaslow “the cities of good living”.
Lying along the sun-drenched Riviera dei Fiori, Sanremo has a mild and pleasant micro‑climate, as compared to other cities of the region, which makes it the perfect tourist destination.
It is renowned for flower farming (hence its nickname, ‘the city of flowers’) and for a traditional parade of flower-covered floats held every year in the spring, called ‘Sanremo in fiore’. Other famous events taking place in Sanremo every year include the Italian Song Festival, aired by the national broadcaster Rai, and the Rassegna della canzone d’autore, organised by the Club Tenco.
The old town centre (nicknamed La Pigna, ‘the pine cone’, after the shape of its ancient defensive walls) reflects the glorious past of the city. Main sights include the Basilica Collegiata Cattedrale di San Siro, the sanctuary of Madonna della Costa, the hermitage of San Michele, and the Church of Cristo Salvatore, built in the late 19th century by the Russian nobility, nowadays one of the symbols of the town, together with the Casino, nearby, one of the three remaining in Italy.
Notable sights also include many private mansions built along the promenade: Palazzo Bellevue (which has been a luxury hotel for many years, and became the city hall in 1963); Palazzo Borea d’Olmo (one of the major Baroque buildings of western Liguria, a few metres away from Teatro Ariston); Villa Ormond (renowned for its park, with many exotic plants); Villa Nobel (built in Moorish style, the last place where Alfred Nobel lived, currently a museum and a venue for cultural meetings), Villa King, nearby (Art Deco), and Castello Devachan (the venue of the meeting of the victorious Allies after the end of World War I in 1920).
Speaking of sports, the city is renowned as finish location of Milano-Sanremo (one of the major springtime classics on the international cycling calendar), and it has been the venue of an iconic automobile rally since 1928.