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”.
Piazza Marconi the city centre still has the original fourteenth-century arcades, alongside those of the sixteenth century. The town hall dates back to 1623.
Strategically located close to the Naviglio, the current castle was built at the end of the 13th century on the ruins of the previous one destroyed by Barbarossa in 1167. Over the centuries it was enlarged and renovated and many Dukes of Milan stayed in the castle of Abbiategrasso. Giovanni Maria, Gian Galeazzo Visconti’s first heir, was born here and his date of birth (7 September 1388) was commemorated with the dedication of the Church of “Santa Maria Nascente”, now known as the Basilica of S. Maria Nuova, which is located not far from Piazza Marconi.
Dating back to 1365, the curch is characterized by an imposing pronaos that closes the porch and covers a large part of the façade. It was built between 1595 and 1601 by the architect Tolomeo Rinaldi in order to protect the fresco of the Zavattari School depicting the “Virgin and Child”.
The strong presence of the Milanese Dukes is also attested by the former “Convent of the Annunciata” that we can find not far from the center. It is a large complex that has been built in 1469 by Duke Galeazzo Maria Sforza to fulfill a vow to the Virgin and entrusted to the Order of the Franciscan Minor Friars. The church preserves a magnificent cycle of frescoes with the stories of Mary dated “October 1519” and signed by Nicola Mangone from Caravaggio, known as il Moietta. The cloister has been entirely recovered in its original appearance and has decorations from different eras.
In the city center we also find the Golgi – Redaelli Institute, once the “Pious House of the Incurable People”, where Camillo Golgi carried out his first experiments on the cells of the nervous system that lead him to the creation of the “Golgi method” which granted him the Nobel prize in 1906
The church of San Pietro, which probably already existed in the period of the Longobardi (ancient German people who lived in North Italy) , was entirely rebuilt in Baroque style by the architect Francesco Croce. On the high altar by Luigi Cagnola, there is a canvas dedicated to the “Madonna della Neve” from 1645, signed by Giambattista Discepoli.
Where the Naviglio Grande curves towards Milan and where the Naviglio di Bereguardo begins, we find Castelletto, a part of the municipality of Abbiategrasso. Once it was a real harbor, a place animated by boats, merchants and workers. Along the the Naviglio banks we can find Palazzo Cittadini Stampa a magnificent noble building owned by the municipality, which has been recently restored All the rooms are decorated with beautiful frescoes dating back to the seventeenth century.In the church of Sant’Antonio Abate, built between 1610 and 1616, we find the fourteenth-century statue of the “Virgin with Child” and the canvas of the” Assumption” by Camillo Procaccini.
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.
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